Pugh’s mural brings Hermosa’s past into the present

Muralist John Pugh presents his “Here yesterday.” Photo by Kim West (@KimDWestPhotography)

Muralist John Pugh and wife Annie photograph the unveiling. Photo by Kim West (@KimDWestPhotography)

Hermosa Beach Mural Committee members Chuck Sheldon and Steve Izant auction off giclees of the committee’s 10 murals. Photo by Kevin Cody

Francesca Lugo under bathing beauty she modeled for. Photo by Photo by Kim West (@KimDWestPhotography)

Artist John Pugh, Pete Hoffman, Steve Izant, Mike Flaherty, Annie Pugh. Photo by KevinCody

Mural selection committee members George Schmeltzer, Linda Jo Russell, and Dean Nota.

Building owner Sep Dardashti and family Elan, Koby, Sharron, Savannah and Jenny. Photo by Kevin Cody

by Kevin Cody

Hermosa Beach’s 10th, and final mural, commissioned by the Hermosa Mural Committee, is titled “You should have been here yesterday.” The mural depicts the Sand and Surf Club at 14th Street, overlooking the beach, during the height of the Roaring ‘20s.

But artist John Pugh said at Monday evening’s unveiling, he would have preferred his mural be called “Here yesterday.”

His intention, he said, was to evoke the feeling archeologists had when they opened King Tut’s Tomb and found lotus flowers, as fresh as the day King Tut’s sarcophagus had been sealed.

To suggest the sense of discovery, he used the trompe l’oeil effect to make the Sand and Surf Club (known in later years at the Biltmore Hotel) appear set in a deep recess in the 40-foot x 90-foot wall at the back of the former Metropolitan Movie theater, like the Cliff Palace in the Mesa Verde cliff dwellings in Colorado.

Pugh thanked fellow artists Matt Duckett, Steve Shriver, Lisa Diaz and Terry Pasquin, as well as El Camino College art students, for helping him complete the mural.

Mural committee president Steve Izant said the mural commission is dissolving itself, and has turned responsibility for the murals over to the Hermosa Beach Historical Society. He noted that the murals, which cost upwards of $100,000 “never appeared as a line item in the city budget.” The murals were funded through donations. 

To see images of all 10 Hermosa Beach murals, visit HermosaMurals.org. ER

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