Brightening San Jose’s Japantown, One Mural at a Time | KQED Arts

Brightening San Jose’s Japantown, One Mural at a Time | KQED Arts

– Sometimes I wonder if are we gentrifying by putting art and giving people the idea to come in? That’s been a really
important subject for me, moving forward with murals. When I was younger, there was a lot of
graffiti here in San Jose, but not so much murals. It’s really hard to
convince somebody to say, “Hey you know this is
gonna look really cool, just trust us.” I ended up looking at Arlene’s
business and I was like, wait this whole little
area could use something, I think one week out I was like, “Hey Arlene, I want to do
this mural with this artist, can you let me do it?” And she’s like, “No.” – You said, “You still
have a really nice wall.” Well that was on a
Tuesday when you came in and Friday afternoon you actually
came back, with a print-out. – You remember. – Oh, yes I do, a print-out. And I looked, I said, “Wow.” My father brought the business
down to San Jose in 1948. And our register inside, it’ll be 69 [years-old]. – I’m invested here in San Jose. I originally opened the gallery here, because we wanted to bring more
of this culture to San Jose. This is my home. Mark, hey. – About four years ago, Carlos had this project wanting
to do murals in Japantown. And I’m glad you asked me, wanting to be a part of your project because it really opened up my store, and everybody now recognizes
it from your mural, or John’s mural. Art draws people together. I mean, just convincing my
family to get this done, it was, if you don’t like
it I’ll paint it over in a week or so. After they saw it, it was, “Mark, don’t touch it!” I blame you! I give you all the credit. – I’ll take the blame. – I give you all the credit for that. Like I said, it changed the whole area. – I feel more connected
to the soil by being here, by constantly showing up, whether saying hi to the people, or cleaning the wall, because it’s my life’s
work and I love this. Anything that we are able to
put out there to the public, it’s still a moment that we
were able to engage with them in their life. And they wouldn’t have done that otherwise with a blank space.

2 thoughts on “Brightening San Jose’s Japantown, One Mural at a Time | KQED Arts

  1. Awsome stuff

  2. Thank you very beautiful art

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