LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — On the 101 North in downtown L.A., artist William F. Herron III is uncovering history.
Herron is digging up artist John Wehrle’s 1984 mural, “Galileo, Jupiter, Apollo”.
“It’s like archaeology. When you excavate you basically try to pull out in as pristine condition as possible what you’re digging up,” he told CBS2’s Melanie Woodrow.
Wehrle was one of 10 artists commissioned to create civic pride around the 1984 Summer Olympics held in L.A.
Caltrans covered the murals with grey paint after graffiti artists tagged the artwork and for years they were in hibernation – until now when the Mural Conservancy of Los Angeles raised enough money to bring them out. Herron’s work marks the mural’s second restoration in 30 years.
“It’s not much if you consider you paint your house every five years,” Mural Conservatory of L.A. spokesperson Isabel Rojas Williams said.
Sympathetic to L.A.’s taggers, Williams and Herron have invited them to help restore the mural’s background.
It’s a delicate process, and one Herron has become known for as he balances on a shaky platform raised above the roadway.
“Once I get to the point where I see color and it’s indicative of the artist’s original palette I stop right there,” he said.
“It’s become part of my new identity. It’s, ‘Oh yeah, he’s the artist on the freeway!'”
The restoration, which began in August, is expected to be completed by the end of the year.