Chico-born artist brings hope to Paradise through mural artwork


A depiction of Jesus Christ on the baptismal pool at the Hope Christian Church on Pentz Road in Paradise. Photo credit: Angel Ortega

An artist has taken it upon himself to paint murals on damaged buildings and homes in Paradise.

Shane Grammer, an artist who does both commissioned and freelance artwork for Disney and its parks, has painted murals on many of the damaged and destroyed properties in wake of the Camp Fire that destroyed most of Paradise.

Shane Grammer, the artist who painted 18 different murals on burned homes, buildings and vehicles in Paradise, California. Photo credit: Mitchell Kret

Though he lives in Los Angeles now, Grammer is a native of Chico and knew many people from Paradise. When he heard about the Camp Fire and the devastation it caused, Grammer felt compelled to paint murals on homes and buildings, some of which belonged to people that Grammer knew.

Some have questioned Grammer about his motives and decision to paint on burnt cars and buildings, to which Grammer tells people “I’ve been doing [art] since I was 19.”

He continues, “I feel like God uses my gift to bring hope and joy to [the] down-casted and broken-hearted.”

This is not the first mural series he has done to bring hope and joy to people, as mentioned above. Grammer has done murals in Mexico, Brazil, Peru, inner-city San Francisco (an area he used to live in) and he has done artwork for philanthropic organizations.

“I a lot of work with anti-human trafficking organizations where I’ll paint live at special events and fundraisers,” Grammer said. “In 2010, I also went to Cambodia, where girls are sold all the way down to five-years-old, and painted murals with girls who have been rescued and are being [rehabilitated]. I do not a lot of intense work in intense areas.”

Grammer’s goal through his artwork is to express that he empathizes with what people are going through with his artwork, so when the Camp Fire occurred, it “hit home” because a lot of the people he grew up with, went to school with and went to church with had all been affected.

Some of the murals Grammar has made involve a person who used to live in the respective home that the mural is on or a memorial of someone who died in the Camp Fire.

A portrait of Eleanor, who used to reside in the home that this mural is painted on. Photo credit: Angel Ortega

One such memorial was that of a woman related to Grammer’s Sunday school teacher and basketball coach. He had asked permission from the family to paint her portrait on the house of the woman’s daughter.

A memorial mural depicting Helen Pace on a house on Skyway, entering Paradise. Photo credit: Angel Ortega

Many of the other memorials depict women or the face of a woman. These murals are reflective of Grammer’s mural series that he has been working on for the last 16 years called “The Bride,” which is based off the book, The Song of Solomon from the Old Testament.

“Song of Solomon is about the King and his love for his beautiful bride, but it’s really an allegory,” Grammer explains. “The King is Jesus and the beautiful is us, it’s mankind, and it’s a love story of how God wants to return to his beautiful, his creation.”

“So that’s what I’m basically saying through the woman’s portrait or face.”

A portrait of a woman. This mural is located on the corner of Skyway and Pearson in Paradise. Photo credit: Angel Ortega

The first mural that Grammer painted in Paradise was painted on a chimney overlooking Clark Road, on a bend coming up from Oroville, and depicted a woman with starring eyes. It gained popularity when a friend of Grammer shared his artwork on a Camp Fire survivors Facebook page. Many have told Grammer that upon seeing the mural, many pulled over off the road and wept because “it was the first glimmer of beauty or hope for some people” since the Camp Fire.

The mural, along with the chimney, has since been demolished during a property clean-up operation on the property.

Paradise mural 1.jpg
The first mural painted by Grammer. It has since been demolished during a property clean-up operation.
Photo credit: Shane Grammer.

Many of the murals in Paradise are still standing and can still be visited as of this publish date.

On Friday, June 7, the Museum of Northern California Art will be hosting an exhibit, “Beauty from Ashes,” featuring photos of Grammer’s murals by photographer Terence Duffy.

Angel Ortega can be reached at [email protected] and @AngelOrtegaNews on Twitter.