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Pope of Broadway Restoration

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Pope of Broadway Restoration

In August, 2016, Art was commissioned by the Mural Conservancy of Los Angeles to work on the restoration of the historic Pope of Broadway mural in downtown Los Angeles. Art worked directly with Eloy Torrez, the artist who originally created the mural in 1985. The mural is 70 ft. tall and 50 ft. wide and had been virtually untouched since Mr. Torrez finished painting it.

The mural depicts the famous Latino actor and movie star Anthony Quinn, dancing as he did in the movie Zorba the Greek, in front of a background of architectural details of a building, with a marquee across the top displaying the name of the business that commissioned the mural. Mr. Quinn succeeded in Hollywood at a time when Latinos were very much marginalized, and he is a symbol of and an inspiration for the Latino community.

Before After

The mural had deteriorated badly over its 30+ years of exposure the elements. The original wall behind the mural is very uneven and has widely differing textures in many different areas. There were sections, large and small, where paint was loose or had come off entirely. In many places colors had deteriorated and faded so badly that the the entire area had to be completely repainted using photographs of the mural when new as reference. The poor original condition of the wall had caused existing cracks to open up even wider, and new flaws grew into sometimes large problem areas.

Art cleaned, patched, and prepared the entire wall and the entire mural and then consolidated the paint layer. Art was responsible for the restoration and repainting of the marquee across the top, with the name of the business owner who commissioned the mural, and the building architecture background behind the figure. Artís restoration of these sections of the mural took about 2-1/2 months, working 7 days per week.

This included recreating missing areas, creating an area that had once been a window but had since been filled in, repainting and retouching damaged areas, and restoring all areas to match the original colors to the satisfaction of Mr. Torrez. Throughout this restoration he consulted frequently with Mr. Torrez regarding colors, image details, and workmanship to ensure that his work was done properly and met with Mr. Torrez' approval.

Mr. Torrez then restored the figure of Mr. Quinn and the floor.

When the entire restoration was complete, Art applied the final, archival coating to the entire mural. Then 3 layers of anti-graffiti coatings were applied to the entire mural on top of the archival coating.


This photo shows the condition of the mural before restoration.

Photo by Gil Ortiz

Here is Art up on the scaffold while working on restoring and repainting the marquee across the top of the mural.

Photo by Gil Ortiz

Art discussing this part of the restoration process for the photographer and representative of the Mural Conservancy of Los Angeles.

Photo by Gil Ortiz

In this photo, the marquee across the top of the mural has been completely restored, while below you can see the patching and repairing that was done to the wall and the rest of the mural prior to its restoration.

Photo by Gil Ortiz

Here Art is consulting with Eloy Torrez, the original artist, regarding the final details of the restoration of the building architecture and marquee background.

Photo by Gil Ortiz

Art applies finishing touches to the restoration of the building background.

Photo by Gil Ortiz

In this photo, the restoration of the background and marquee is complete, as well as the restoration of the figure and most of the floor.

Photo by Michael Patchen

Here is a drone's-eye view of the complete restoration of the Pope of Broadway mural.

Photo by Gil Ortiz

The completed restoration.

Pope of Broadway Restoration
Original Artist: Eloy Torrez
70 x 50 ft., acrylic on plaster and concrete
Restoration completed December, 2016
242 S. Broadway, Los Angeles, CA