New SAP Mural by The Draculas written by Sal Pizzaro of the SJ Mercury News

It’s hard to depict every major sports event and music legend that’s been part of the 25-year history of SAP Center, even in a mural that’s 270 feet wide like the one just completed on San Fernando Street in downtown San Jose.

“We work really hard to make sure we bring a wide variety of shows to SAP Center — and we live in an extremely diverse community so we need to have a diverse array of events,” said Doug Bentz, SAP Center’s vice president of marketing and digital. “So this mural really needed to represent that wide array of events.”

There are, of course, San Jose Sharks, with a trio of hockey players who appear to be skating out the mouth of a real Great White. The mural also depicts figure skating champion Kristi Yamaguchi, Olympic gymnast Simone Biles, and huge musical acts Adele, E-40, and Elton John. James Hetfield of Metallica is depicted from the neck down, the assumption being that his guitar and stance would be more recognizable than his face.

And there’s also a headless Norteño musician with a cowboy hat and an accordion. While this figure could be taken to represent San Jose’s own Los Tigres del Norte, the art team said both the band and the genre is so popular they didn’t want to depict any single member. There are also silhouettes of fans, an image of the arena itself, and a 747 jetliner flying overhead — a nod to SAP Center’s location in the SJC flight path. Clouds, a few 1970s-looking shooting stars and “San Jose!” in a funky typeface complete the picture.

The work was done by Jeff McMillan and Gary Musgrave, a Southern California art team called The Draculas (true to their name, they did most of their work late at night over the past two weeks). McMillan grew up in San Jose and has fond memories of SAP Center, where his dad took him to see Eric Clapton when he was a teenager.

“I left San Jose in 1999 to go to Los Angeles for school,” he said. “To come back 20 years later to do this thing is awesome. It’s like full circle.”

This mural is the second in recent weeks that SAP Center has sponsored, following Austrian artist Nychos‘ “Bleed Teal” mural on an apartment building near Whole Foods on The Alameda. Bentz, SAP Center’s marketing vice president, says there are more artistic partnerships planned in the near future by the arena and the team, though this one is meant to cap off a yearlong celebration of SAP Center’s silver anniversary, which concludes with a huge music festival Sept. 13-15 featuring Blake Shelton, Kings of the West and Maluma.

It was a real team effort for SAP, too. Empire Seven Studios brought in The Draculas, the Sobrato Organization provided space in the parking lot for the work and Digital Realty gave permission to use the wall, which runs the length of San Fernando between First and Second streets.

Ron Muriera, a member of the city of San Jose’s arts commission, said it’s refreshing to see the private sector contributing to the beautification of the city through art. “It’s not just about celebrating the SAP Center’s 25th anniversary, it’s helping bring some vibrancy to the city and the downtown core,” he said. “It makes me glad to see that there are other sectors that have been contributing to art in our public spaces.”

-Sal PIzzaro

Photos by: Johnny Rivas, Lanny Nguyen and Jennifer Ahn

Mural by Lacey Bryant for the Lofts on the Alameda


A hand-painted mural depicting the historic parades on The Alameda, including the Rose Carnival in 1896, the Fiesta de Las Rosas in the 1920s and 1930s, to the present-day Rose, White & Blue parades.

The Arabesque “flagman’s shanty” was located near the train tracks and was brought from the 1895 Mid-winter Fair in SF by Southern Pacific RR to control traffic here on The Alameda.

The Kawasaki Origami roses reference previous parades when these were strung as paper lanterns over The Alameda.

The mélange of eras, from the old to the contemporary, depicted in the spirit of celebration, represent the mix of cultures, styles of fashion, range of transportation modes, and diversity of peoples, all contributing to the vibrant and much-beloved annual 4th of July celebration on The Alameda.

Painted by Lacey Bryant, August 2019

Gifted by Nicole Brown and Luisa Hurtado

Historical consultation by Larry Clark

References by the book “The Alameda The Beautiful Way” by Shannon Clark

Photos by Ian Lundie

Support POW! WOW! San Jose

Save the date!

We're officially launching our crowdfunding campaign today and looking for San Jose's support.

From October 19-27, 2019 we are hosting our 3rd annual POW! WOW! San Jose public mural festival, filled with week-long activities that include public murals, music programming, a mural tour ride and more! . We're looking for your support to help us bring more art to our public spaces. Help us by spreading the word and donating to the cause. We're looking forward to giving back to the city we love by adding more art to our city's landscape!

Click here to donate. Please share!

#powwowsanjose #PWSJ1

"Sharks Territory" gets a new landmark created by Nychos. SJ Mercury News article by Sal Pizarro

Shark mural looms large over Whole Foods lot near SAP Center

Urban artist Nychos brings his unique style to Modera on The Alameda

Written by Sal Pizarro / Photos by Karl Mondon of the San Jose Mercury News

"There’s a new shark getting a lot of attention near SAP Center, and this one doesn’t even play hockey. The stunning new mural in progress, towering over the Whole Foods parking lot on two walls of the Modera apartment building on The Alameda, has been drawing a crowd for the past week.

Created by internationally famous urban artist Nychos — known for his work featuring cross-sections and deconstructions — the eye-popping artwork, titled “Bleed Teal,” is expected to be finished in time for Modera’s grand opening event Thursday night. But even unfinished, the work is already a visual sensation, with the shark’s skeleton separated from its body and its inner anatomy exposed.

The beast’s illustrated stomach contains a few choice morsels including a California license plate, a fish skeleton, a hockey skate and stick, and even the old Anaheim Ducks mask. Talk about taking a bite out of the “Tan Jose” reputation.

So how did Nychos end up in San Jose? The San Jose Sharks reached out to Empire Seven Studios — the art enclave founded by Juan Carlos Araujo and Jennifer Ahn that’s behind the art-forward POW! WOW! San Jose festival and several murals around the city — and Mighty Design about getting some sharks-related artwork near SAP Center. Empire Seven’s shortlist included Nychos and the Sharks approved and commissioned the piece, with Modera providing the walls for a canvas and Whole Foods allowing the art team to use its parking lot for set-up (and providing food for the artists).

Coincidentally, the Austrian-born artist was already familiar with San Jose. Nychos, who lives in the Los Angeles area, was invited to a December holiday party in San Francisco hosted by Open Austria, the country’s official presence in the Bay Area. But he stopped in San Jose on the way and met with Empire Seven and reps from the city’s Office of Cultural Affairs to talk about possibilities for bringing his work to San Jose.

“As a leading international street artist, Nychos’s ‘Bleed Teal’ mural is an outstanding addition to San Jose’s growing collection of great public art,” said Kerry Adams Hapner, San Jose’s director of cultural affairs. “It is significant that private organizations like the Sharks recognize the value of investing in art and artists to cultivate a visual fabric that instills pride and excitement in San Jose.”

New mural by Juan Carlos Araujo in San Mateo, CA

I believe art is medicine and it allows us to be our ultimate self. As a kid, my connection to visions and drawing shapes led to painting them. Learning that the work has a long lineage to regions throughout the world has changed my prospective in life and art. Patterns like food and music connect us to thousands of cultures that date back before pre-colonization.

Painting has become my medicine through meditation. Each brush stroke pays tribute to countless lives that have no monument or recognition in contemporary life. This practice of meditation will pay tribute to ancestry around the globe.

Art has giving me freedom, and my life’s path has been a journey to be grateful of. The goal is to apply positive energy in every second of creating work. I hope that it captures the feeling, and helps someone step outside themselves to experience the moment together… even if there’s only one of us present in front of the work.

Like temple food there is temple art. We aim to make people happy and be happy in the process….to put positive energy into the work. My biggest influence to date is a monk by the name of Jeoung Kwan.

Here’s a quote from her that is profound, and I’d like to share her same wisdom and inspiration with you all. I wish you a happy and healthy life….

“Creativity and ego cannot go together. If you free yourself from comparing and jealous mind, your creativity opens up endlessly.

Just as water springs from a fountain, creativity springs from every moment.

You must not be your own obstacle.

You must not be owned by the environment you’re in.

You must own the environment, the phenomenal world around you.

You must be able to freely move in and out of your mind. This is being free.

There is no way you can’t open up your creativity. There is no ego to speak of. That is my belief”.

-Jeong Kwan

Photos by Ian Lundie

Lacey Bryant - Murals, tarot cards and more!

Lacey Bryant has lived in San Jose for the last 20 years and does majority of her work locally. Her work ethic is a force beyond measure. Weighing light as a feather and standing tall at the cutest measure, her impact is powerful and she has being painting several murals throughout the City.

Lacey was recently commissioned to paint a mural in support by members of the following Communities: Hyde Park, Japantown Neighborhood Association, District 3 Council Member Raul Peralez, County of Santa Clara Manager Cindy Chavez office, Burnette Academy, Knight Foundation, and Landscape Architect.

For this project, we partnered up with residents that truly care about their neighborhood. Activating spaces that are neglected in our communities need a small group of invested residents wanting to create change. Antonina Ettare, Victoria Tanaka, and Kathleen Perkins are treasures for their community. Our mission was to paint a wall directly across from Burnette Academy. It faces the main entrance of the school where students are welcomed by it daily as they were waiting for their parents to pick them up. It made us truely happy to see young people engage and enjoy the artwork. Many asked permission to cross the street and photograph the wall.

Mr. Garcia, who leads a leadership class, helped involve the students whom earned participation through being exceptional students. The young leaders helped steer the project and gave artist Lacey Bryant several ideas to incorporate into the concept and design. The wall offered a very unique opportunity for her to incorporate a pixelated theme with each square representing the evolution of a student’s path through the educational system. The wall stands four feet tall and over one hundred feet long. With the help of the students the mural references a young generation of individuals from all back rounds holding hands in unity empowering one another to believe in themselves, others, the future, hope, peace, love, education, community.

Many of the faces depicted are from local community members. “Believe” is the word that travels throughout the mural in different languages most prominent to our region and features the diversity our city has to offer.

We want to thank all parties involved that made this beautification project come to life. These projects are more than just murals painted on the walls. They are a homage to devotion and care for a neighborhood that can provide a better quality of life for others. It tells the neighbors you don’t know, that someone is looking out for you and that together we can accomplish great things.

When not busy with her mural work, Lacey has also been working in her studio to produce new works. She recently launched “The Slow Tarot This is a result of a personal art project that spanned over six years, a long labor of love realized through the careful and methodical creation of an original work of art for every card in the tarot deck. A richly designed tarot deck featuring full-color reproductions of seventy-eight original oil paintings, this was a major hit from her supporters. These cards were produced in conjunction with a solo exhibition at Modern Eden Gallery in San Francisco that nearly sold out.

Photos by: Ian Lundie @1ill510

LAX SFO curated by Thinkspace at Heron Arts

Last Saturday was the opening of LAX SFO at Heron Arts in San Francisco. A beautifully curated exhibit with artist all around the globe by Thinkspace Gallery. It was a nice chance to reunite with some of the artists and Andrew from Thinkspace after seeing them at POW! WOW! Hawaii and Guam!

If you didn't make it to the opening, the exhibit is up until July 6th. Contact Heron Arts for viewing dates and hours.

Warhol and JR ....and more ESPO please!

We had seen the Warhol exhibit when it first opened but it was super jam packed so we went back on a Monday and was able to enjoy the work without the crowd. This is a retrospective of his work from paintings and photographs to personal collections and sculptures.

Andy Warhol—From A to B and Back Again is organized by the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.

On the lower level, we got to see the JR. "Chronicles of SF" which celebrates the voices of our extraordinary, unique, and diverse city.

Second time around seeing ESPO’s work was even more satisfying. No crowds and really had time to enjoy all the details he put into his work/installation!

For more info, visit:

Skate photo jam @ E7S

Thank you for the photos/article @pettigrewphoto

Here is a repost with a write up from Aaron Pettigrew:

“The Last Days of Empire 7 Studios”- In the beginning of March I was talking to @yourhomeboy_harv about certain changes that were happening in San Jose that were going to directly affect parts of the San Jose creative community. One of the affected areas was @empire7studios; it was going to be completely torn down to create room for more condos. As we talked about it, he introduced the idea of bringing some obstacles to skate and shoot photos on at the gallery as a way to kind of preserve some of the art there. After a few days of planning things out, figuring out how to get obstacles to skate and reaching out to the people I wanted personally to come out to skate and shoot with, a rough plan was set. We skated and shot all day, and just had fun with it. Huge thank you to @q.loc & @neverboredmag for giving me a place to turn this into an actual article, to @yourhomeboy_harv and Juan @empire7studios @powwowsanjose for giving me this opportunity,and to @debase @louiebarletta and @faithfulskateshop for providing the obstacles!!

Skateboarders: @chrisscorpuzz @sinath_sao @justincolvin @sjskateboarding

Artists: @griffinone @longnecklife @rremio @wegotem @powwowsanjose


Last weekend, we took a trip up to SF to the opening of ESPO's "Daymaker" at the SFMOMA. The museum was very crowded but we were able to enjoy seeing all the hard work ESPO has created near the cafe area. A special treat as we were able to congratulate him and have him sign our books. Such a nice person with extreme talent who has produced SO much work over the years!

We definitely plan to go back and check out the work again (without the crowd). If you haven't check it out yet, don't miss out.

For more info, visit:

Blog posting....

We've been pretty bad about our blog posting because we've been laying low while we are working on new things coming our way. Since our last post, we have been working to rebuild our new space. Exciting news to come soon!

In March, we completed a new mural with Lacey Bryant, located on 2nd Street across the street from Burnette Middle School. This mural represents the diversity of local students that attend or have attended the school within the various seasons of winter, spring, summer and fall. The pixels represent the things the students learn coming together to shape the people they become. Throughout the mural, there is a black box pixel with a drawing taken from the kids who drew things that made them think of the school year. Lastly the word "believe" was painted in various languages throughout the mural, again to represent diversity.

Thank you to the County who helped clear coat to protect the piece and provided a new landscape garden for the neighborhood to enjoy! Thank you to Antonina, Kathleen and Victoria....the neighborhood ambassadors who helped make this happen! Thank you to the neighborhood for embracing this new edition to our Northside community.

Photos by Ian Lundie

POW! WOW! San Jose - support more public art!

Hello friends of E7S.

It was just a couple years ago Empire Seven Studios launched our very own Go Fund Me for a new home.

We raised $25k thanks to all of you and it will be tremendously helpful when we find a new place to rebuild the gallery. Our goal was ambitious and didn't reach it's peak, ultimately we are still looking daily to get back to giving the public free art shows for years to come.

Until that happens, we have been working on projects outside of our gallery being POW! WOW! San Jose. Partnering with a team of local producers we launched our first festival last year and produced 20 new murals within one week.

We're looking for people who love San José and want support and help us bring more art to our public spaces. From October 17 - 28, 2018 we are hosting our second annual POW! WOW! San Jose public mural festival, filled with week-long activities that include over a dozen large-scale murals across the city, art installations, panel discussions, music, and more!

We're looking to build off a successful 1st year and giving back to the city we love by adding more art to our city's landscape!

Here is the link with some juicy details: POW! WOW! San Jose 2018 Festival | Patronicity

If anyone is interested in donating a larger amount, they can contact us direct via email (to avoid percentage deduction).

Please help share with your friends, family, networks, and public art lovers! We look forward to seeing you all out there in October, and thank you from the bottom of our hearts for believing in us.

Warm Regards,
Juan Carlos Araujo and Jennifer Ahn

Obi Kaufman at Forager....

Obi Kaufmann, poet and painter (@coyotethunder ) talked about his latest book “The California Field Atlas” . Many people had the opportunity to have their books signed and to create their very own watercolor piece with a demo by local artist @francesmarin .

Live music was provided by @ungramr and @philthydronez .

Thank you @peninsulaopenspacetrust for preserving sacred lands, and for bringing this event to San Jose’s @sjforager . Stay tuned for more @powwowsanjose presence at various pop-up events!


Royyal Dog visits San Jose

We had the pleasure to spend last week with Royyal Dog, artist from Korea who we met in last February's POW! WOW! Hawaii. 

During his trip to San Jose, we took him to local places to eat, drove him around to show San Jose's landscape and even was able to take him to Santa Cruz to visit the NHS factory, see the beach and have local seafood. 

A special treat during his visit, Royyal Dog created 2 murals. One day he painted on a race car trailer during the Cukui Summerfest along with our very own, Juan Carlos Araujo who painted on the other side. 

The second mural was painted in the back area of The Continental, located downtown San Jose. A tribute to legendary Sade. We celebrated with a evening of Sade curated by our Ungramr team.

Part of POW! WOW! is the networking and friendships we build. Here is a perfect example. We look forward to the many paths we will cross and advocate for these hardworking artists!


20th Latino Art Now! Art Auction & Exhibition


Auction: Saturday, May 19, 2018 Doors open, 6pm Live Auction, 7pm

This popular, annual event culminates in a high energy evening with food, drinks, entertainment and friendly bidding. Here you will find art by Bay Area favorites as well as artists with national and international reputations. The work ranges from painting to drawing to photography to sculpture and jewelry. Highlights of this year's exhibition are Pilar Agüero-EsparzaMelanie CervantesAdrian Esparza; Bay Area favorites Aaron De La CruzSam Rodriguez, and Jessica Sabogal; and notable veterans of Chicana/o art GronkLinda Vallejo and Gilbert "Magu" Luján.


For more info, please visit

47th Annual Stanford Pow Wow

This past weekend, we attended the the gathering of native american tribes at the Stanford Pow Wow. It was very spiritual and even after we left, the drumming and chanting was felt within us through the rest of the day.  What a beautiful ceremony. 

MALI trip to LA

Field trip with my MALI cohort. Multicultural Arts Leadership Institute (MALI) is a leadership development program for people of color deeply involved in Arts, Culture, and Entertainment. It’s been almost a year now and we’ve come full circle! We are present and here to make a difference! 

On the first day, we received a tour of community art projects in and around LA's skid row by Hayk Makhmuryan of Advocate for Strengthening Communities Through Arts will be our guide.

The next day, we worked together to create a place-making event for Public Matter's "Love and Loss in Hi-Fi event" that took place at the Filipino America Service group (in Little Filipinotown)

This was as special trip we were able to walk and take LA's public transportation and enjoy being away from the daily traffic routine we live in. The group stayed in LA's Japantown and it was nice to see some of the public art that emphasized on the history of Japantown. In case you didn't know, there used to be over 40 Japantowns in the US and now there are only 3 (LA, SF and our very own San Jose!)


Quick trip to LA for a epic opening......

A quick trip to LA to attend the premier of Beyond The Streets was necessary. 

BEYOND THE STREETS, curated by Roger Gastman, is exhibition of graffiti, street art and much more!  This exhibit has a range of multimedia showcase of paintings, sculpture, photography, installations and more throughout 40,000+ sq ft of industrial indoor and outdoor space.

The exhibition opened to the public in Los Angeles on May 6 and runs through July 6, 2018.

For more info, visit Beyond The Streets