Some people say it's easier to beg for forgiveness than to ask for permission.
But Jana'e Hulsey, owner of The Apricot Door, may not be so sure after this week.
An art mural Hulsey commissioned to have painted on a cinder block wall outside her new salon — without first obtaining permission from the company that manages the rental property on Rosedale Highway — put her a bit sideways with the owner of the company that oversees the property.
"I really hoped it would bring some positive attention and color to this area," she said of the older commercial zone west of Calloway Drive.
After styling hair for 17 years, last year Hulsey was ready for something different. She moved into the building at 9925 Rosedale and began transforming the interior and exterior. A giant apricot-colored door stands out in front of the salon, which also doubles as home for her and her two sons.
She wanted this salon to be different, a reflection of her unique style, supplemented by the creativity of her friends, including Jocelyn Dimaya, who consults in the areas of creative design and branding, and Beth Cheney, a high school teacher and artist who loves painting murals at Bakersfield businesses.
"I watched Jana'e come to this place and pour herself into it," Dimaya said. "The transformation has been extraordinary."
Although murals and other outdoor art have been making appearances around Bakersfield for some time — especially in the downtown business district — Rosedale has been slow to embrace public art, Hulsey said.
So when she looked at the not very attractive cinder block wall at the property line, the wheels started turning.
"I saw it as a blank canvas," Hulsey said of the wall.
But before Chaney could begin painting, it was determined the cinder block required renovation. In all he project came in at upwards of $3,000, she said.
Expensive? Yes. Worth it? In Hulsey’s mind, absolutely.
Cheney worked two weekends on the mural before Raymond Dobbs, of Dobbs Property Management, caught sight of it.
"I drove by Sunday," Dobbs said. "I thought somebody had tagged the wall."
When he learned it was a mural commissioned by the building's tenant, he decided Hulsey would need to pony up a deposit of $1,500 to cover the cost of sandblasting should Hulsey leave the location.
Permission must be obtained before a tenant can make such visible changes to the property.
"It's all in black and white. It's in the contract," he said. "You can't do that."
But after speaking with the owner, it was decided the deposit would be waived.
"The owner, he's willing to bend a little," Dobbs said.
Commercial property broker Duane Keathley, who has no connection to the property in question, was kind enough to provide some perspective in these matters.
There are often layers of oversight when dealing with a commercial property, he said. First, there's the owner or property manager. But there's also the governing entity, whether it be the city of Bakersfield or the county of Kern.
A mural might be viewed as public art, but it might also be categorized as "signage."
"The tenant often wants as much signage as possible," Keathley said. "But you're regulated in how much signage you can have."
In the end, you're better off asking permission, he advised.
For Hulsey, her business is small and mostly a one-woman operation — but with a little help from her friends, she believes it could be a dream come true.
Driven by energy, passion and a desire to truly contribute to the community she is a part of, Hulsey knows that by pushing boundaries, sometimes business owners can get things done that might otherwise be routed through a bureaucracy.
Or require permission.
But when she learned Tuesday that the requirement for a deposit would be waived, the stress began to ease.
"Thank you," she said. "This gives me so much peace."