When it comes to The Hub of Bakersfield, sí se puede. The local nonprofit acted quickly this week to make a mural of United Farm Workers founder Cesar Chavez a reality in downtown Bakersfield.
International muralist Cobre, aka Andres Iglesias, started work on his piece Wednesday at the northeast corner of 18th and L streets after The Hub board approved the plan and secured donations on Monday.
Sponsors included Strata Credit Union, Locale Farm to Table, Chain Cohn and Stiles and other individual donors.
“We are honored to have Cobre bring his talents to help beautify Eastchester," said Andrae Gonzales, Ward 2 city councilman and The Hub's executive director, in a news release. "Our board of directors and supporters saw the opportunity and quickly pulled together many resources to make it happen. It’ll be exciting to see the public response to this new piece of street art especially with a subject close to so many hearts here in Bakersfield.”
Cobre's Bakersfield piece is an homage to the local activist who championed the rights of farmworkers, fighting for better wages and living conditions. His work was expected to be completed Friday before he heads to San Francisco to begin an eight-story mural.
With an extensive artistic education, including studies of 2D and 3D animation, 3D modeling and filmmaking, the artist originally from Santa Fe, Argentina, employs a hyper-realistic style with an emphasis on portraiture, specifically the eyes. Viewing the eyes as windows into the soul, Cobre focuses his design there, starting with black-and-white references and using a combination of spray paint and detail work.
His work includes portraits of Frank Sinatra in Brooklyn, Prince in Los Angeles and Frank Muratore, a 92-year-old veteran, for the DoMo Walls in Modesto. Other large-scale murals are on display in Holland, Spain, Brazil and Uruguay.
For more on the artist, visit his Instagram page at instagram.com/cobreart.
Started earlier this year, The Hub of Bakersfield is a nonprofit focused on revitalizing the city's core with business and investment opportunities, amenities, services and artistic projects. It kicked off with Sounds of Downtown Street Piano Project in May, placing seven acoustic street pianos at various locations downtown for the public to enjoy for one month.