Muralist Mary Sand

Have you seen the cool new mural at Gunther’s Ice Cream?
muralist mary sand

Occupation: Multimedia artist
Hometown: The river towns of the Sacramento Delta
Age: 27

You were hired to paint a mural on the Gunther’s Ice Cream building. Knowing that there’s a lot of nostalgia wrapped up in this beloved establishment, what did you want the mural to say?

The owners and I wanted it to represent the decade that Gunther’s opened, 1940, so I incorporated some 1940s and ’50s style elements. I also did some research into Googie architecture, that sort of wonderful, whimsical, Space Age style. I wanted to create something that felt relevant to this decade but also tied in elements of the history of the era. I also wanted something that celebrates how much of a historical business they are.

I understand your mural resulted in a menu addition.

Yes. I included sprinkles in the mural because it’s a celebratory thing: They’re kind of like confetti, especially on the scale of a giant wall. But then I learned that sprinkles have never been on the Gunther’s menu. They will now be offering them because of my design.

muralist mary sand at Gunther's Ice Cream

Murals are about as public as art gets. What appeals to you about them?

I guess the scale, for one. A lot of what I like to do is create environments for people to be within, and even though a mural is just a flat wall, it evokes a feeling of being in a different place if you’re close enough to it. Something that I kept in mind with the design of this mural is interactivity. For example, there’s a bundle of balloons painted in the colors of different ice cream flavors that people can stand in front of and pretend like they are holding.

What’s your dream project?

Probably working with a venue to create a large-scale installation space, like at a music venue. That would be rad. I enjoy projects that have a story and have some meaning and depth to them and some connection to the local land and the community. The relationships are as important to me as the work that I’m doing.