More than simply embellishing the streets of Pacoima in the heart of the San Fernando Valley with his art, muralist Levi Ponce has filled the area with cultural meaning.
Born in Pacoima, California, the visual artist picked up his paint brush as a child, helping his Salvadorian father paint walls. It was his fathers' literally colorful and vibrant occupation that nurtured Ponce's own art, and later turned into a Bachelor Degree in Art with a concentration in animation and now a full-fledged career that boasts an entire mile of works along Van Nuys Boulevard in Los Angeles.
Ponce is passionate about putting Pacoima on the map through this work and his efforts aren't going unnoticed: his canvas work has been exhibited at the Los Angeles Craft and Folk Art Museum as well as private galleries.
Nonetheless the most significant self-funded labor of love has been the artist's mural work - 12 murals along Van Nuys in the East San Fernando Valley - which he started on his own and then became community projects.
This aspect of his work, its evolution from personal passion to community collaboration, is perhaps Ponce's most proud achievement. In painting his murals, he has been joined by other artists as well as community folks without artistic experience who found themselves drawn to the art, picked up a brush and began to add their own color and lines. To Ponce, the community coming together in the name of art and culture is the biggest reward he can get as feedback for his purposeful labor.
Mural (locations) by Levi Ponce and community:
A. Lady of the Valley: Van Nuys Boulevard and Arleta Avenue (on the right-hand side if traveling west toward Arleta)
B. Born in the East Valley: Van Nuys Boulevard and Bartee Avenue (on Bartee Avenue, left-hand side if traveling west toward Bartee)
C. The Day the Music Died: Van Nuys Boulevard and Telfair Avenue (next to Bobo's)
D. Danny Trejo: Van Nuys Boulevard and Tamarack Avenue (on the other side of the Mona Lisa)
E. Pacoima Art Revolution: Van Nuys Boulevard and Tamarck Avenue (on the other side of Danny Trejo)
F. Pacoima Kahlo: Van Nuys Boulevard and Ralston Avenue (on the right-hand side if traveling east on Van Nuys Boulevard)
G. Girl with Hoop Earring: Van Nuys Boulevard and Lev Avenue (right before Lady of the Valley if traveling west, on Lev)
H. Pacoima Neighborhood Mural: Laurel Canyon and Hoyt Street (right before Van Nuys Boulevard if traveling north on Laurel Canyon)