Sharks & Suds

June 28, 2016

The Carrillo Laundry Room Gets a Makeover

Can't make it to the Channel Islands? No worries! Go visit the Carrillo Laundry Room, home to a new land and ocean animal themed mural created by our very own talented and caring graphic artist, Eric Zobel. Read on to learn in the artist's own words how this whimsical mural came to life.

It’s only twenty miles out to the first of the California Channel Islands, but many Santa Barbara locals have never even set foot on them. They’ve been called the Galapagos of the Pacific because of the incredible wildlife diversity that is still largely untouched by human hands. It’s a subtle place though. One has to be patient and look a little closer to see what’s there. And what is there is well worth the trip.
Over a year ago Tom Beland (Residential Operations Director) approached me to see if we could do something to brighten up the Carrillo Laundry Room. I knew I wanted to do something educational but with all those crazy pipes, ducts, and outlets running every which way what was going to work? We couldn’t stand on the washers or block the dryers with scaffolding so a long-term mural painting project was out. Tom originally had a vision of a colorful underwater scene but with all the obstructions it would be hard to make it very complex. But that set the idea in place for a local wildlife concept. I already had a large number of animal drawings from trips I’d made to the Channel Islands so we hatched on a large-scale decal approach about this amazing local resource. It needed to be colorful and I really wanted it to be FUN -- both for our student residents and for the younger kids who visit the Family Vacation Center in the summers with their alumni parents.
I quickly wrote off the wall behind the dryers because of all those ducts, but then remembered that my son had recently traveled to a school camp (CIMI) on Santa Catalina Island. While they were there, a giant Oarfish washed up from the deep which is the perfect shape for that long 22' x 6’ space (they kept the discovery a secret from the kids until the final day of camp because they were afraid nobody would go in the water!) Installing it was a daunting task but Cas and crew of GraphicInk (the local vendor who printed the images) worked their magic and made it happen. After the fish was up we put the two other large images in place (Humpback Whale and Common Dolphin), then worked with Caesar Martinez and Phil of WASH to schedule a time to install images on the two long walls (all the washers needed to be pulled out). In the months preceding I gathered information for the wildlife descriptions and main paragraphs so by the Monday after graduation we put up all but the final wall map.
Feel free to borrow a key and take yourself and a friend on a mini tour of these amazing islands. You might even learn something… ;)

Special thanks to Tom Beland, Caesar Martinez, Phil & Eric of WASH, Bradley Gray, Julie Levangie, and the guys at GraphicInk.

By Eric Zobel