Phil Yeh, often called the Godfather of the modern American Graphic Novel, has painted a new mural celebrating San Bernardino County on the north wall of the Route 66 museum. Since 1985, Yeh and Cartoonists Across America & The World have painted more than 1800 colorful cartoon murals promoting literacy, creativity and the arts in 49 U.S. states and 15 foreign countries. These murals have covered school, library, and community walls as well as being painted on portable lightweight form core board, city buses, bookmobiles, and billboards all around the world. Yeh continues to speak in schools, libraries and communities about creativity and the arts. His talks are for all ages. To see a bit more of his tour and books go to www.wingedtiger.com.
“Charles Schulz, the creator of Peanuts, was the very first cartoonist to endorse our tour in 1985. He believed that the power of humor could really increase our literacy rate. Just a few days ago, we got permission from his widow Jeannie to paint Spike, Snoopy’s brother, on the right side of the north wall in Needles. Schulz lived in this Route 66 town as a child briefly and paid tribute to it in his comic strip. I have painted Spike in front of the mountains in a Chinese brush style. Rory Murray added the Needles covered wagon sign,” said Yeh from his Running Springs studio.
“The whole project started when I painted a MIA-POW logo on the Inland Empire Military Museum a couple of years ago sponsored by my friend Jim Valdez, a veteran himself. Since both this museum and the McDonalds Museum are owned by Albert Okura, we got to talking about painting a more detailed work of art on the side of his building. Something that truly celebrates the many accomplishments that took place in this city,” said Yeh.
“The south wall highlighted the magnificent California Theater and the Norton Air Force Base which was directed by Colonel Paul Green, (USAF ret.), one of the Tuskegee Airmen. In addition, many local people including actor Gene Hackman, who attended San Bernardino High, Dorothy Inghram, local educator and the first African American District Superintendent in the State of California, Chester Carlson, who invented the Xerox machine, Will Rogers, who had his very last appearance at the California Theater, and many more. The portraits on the south wall were done by artist Sandy Fischer Cvar. We also have an original Dan Romero metal sculpture of palm tree leaves on the roof,” continued Yeh.
“For the north side, I wanted to create a fun visual image of the entire county, the largest county in the United States. We feature cars, a train, and trucks on this side but the real highlight will be motorcycles on Route 66. I wanted to pay tribute to my friend, the late Hal Robinson, who was a cartoonist for Easyriders magazine in the 1970s & 80s. Hal inspired my cartoon career and also is the reason I started riding bikes back in college.”
These two detailed 100 feet murals were painted in almost two years. Local San Bernardino artists Rory Murray, Jan Windhausen, and Beth Winokur have been hard at work on the north wall which highlights some of San Bernardino County’s important landmarks. Winokur has been creating fantasy fruit labels for the railroad cars. Murray has painted the original McDonald’s restaurant that once stood on the very site.
Sponsors for the San Bernardino County side include Loma Linda University & Hospital, Arrowhead Regional Medical Center, Redlands Paint Company, San Bernardino Paint Company, Sherwin Williams Paint Company, Mattel Toys, The Ontario Airport and Country Inn & Suites in Redlands.
For more information:
Veterans call 909-888-0477
Car Show call 909-838-4071
Parade & Vendors call 909-885-6324.