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.”