Athletics Commission Huge Elephant Mural for Downtown Oakland - NBC Bay Area
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Athletics Commission Huge Elephant Mural for Downtown Oakland

Street Artists Reimagine the Oakland Athletics Mascot in New Mural

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    A huge mural is turning heads in downtown Oakland. The Athletics commissioned the elephant art for the side of a 5-story building at the corner of 19th and Webster. The street artist crew, the Illuminaries, has been working on the piece for the past three weeks. (Published Monday, March 27, 2017)

    He's big. He's fierce. And he's stomping through downtown Oakland.

    He's "Stomper," the pachyderm mascot of the Oakland Athletics, like you've never seen him before.

    Local street artists have reimagined him as a warrior steed with armor and gleam in his eye, prepared for battle and determined to win.

    The baseball team commissioned the giant elephant mural to cover a five-story building at the corner of 19th and Webster as part of a new marketing campaign tying the A's with Oakland.

    The Illuminaries, a local street art crew, has spent the past three weeks spray painting the 105-foot mural on the side of the PG&E building with the help of two cherry-picker lifts.

    "The elephant logo doesn't get a lot of love," muralist Tim Hon said.

    Hon said he was inspired by a recent trip to Thailand when he visited an elephant sanctuary where he was awed by the strength and intelligence of the animals.

    For Hon and his collaborators, Steve Ha and Romali Lucidan, the sheer size of the brick wall was intimidating at first. It's the biggest canvas he and his team had ever attempted.

    "It's pretty intimidating. The first time we walked up here we thought we were way in over our heads. It's just such a massive wall. We didn't know how we were going to do it. But we planned it out and it's almost like a different skill-set than what we had used in previous murals. You need to do a lot more planning. You can't improvise like we usually do," Hon said.

    The artists spend a part of their time chatting with passersby, who launch into stories about baseball and elephants, Hon said. The Illumiaries even let some people paint the wall - names and tags that get incorporated into the mural.

    The mural is part of the Oakland A's Spirit Week and the team's new Rooted in Oakland promotional campaign that kicks off their 50th season in Oakland.

    The team also took over several Muni shelters in San Francisco with massive A's caps. Fans can trade in their Giants caps for A's head gear at all Spirit Week events.

    Contact Raquel Maria Dillon: raquel.dillon@nbcuni.com and @RaquelMDillon