On the last day of 2018, California artist Shane Grammer got the idea of painting a mural of a woman’s face on the burned wall of one of the nearly 14,000 homes that were destroyed in the devastating wildfire that swept through Paradise, California last November.
The response to this painting on the most unlikely of canvases was so enthusiastic that Grammer realized he had to continue his work. Since then, he has painted other portraits on house walls, the remains of a chimney, even a charred pickup truck.
“I’ve always had this deep heart to bring hope and joy through my art with deep and destructive issues,” Grammer said. “When the first mural moved so many people in this community emotionally I knew I had to come back up.” Grammer asks permission of the owners of each home whose ruins he transforms.
One of the most moving paintings is that of “Eleanor,” the young girl who lived in the house her image now graces. She is depicted looking up toward the entry of her former home and to the corner where she would spend hours playing in the tree that grew there.
To read more and see photos of additional portraits by Grammer, see this article in My Modern Met. Thanks to Sara Harris for bringing this story to our attention.

Trebbe Johnson
Trebbe JohnsonFounder
Trebbe is the author of The World Is a Waiting Lover and 101 Ways to Make Guerrilla Beauty. Her new book, Radical Joy for Hard Times: Finding Meaning and Making Beauty, will be published in Fall 2018 by North Atlantic Books. Her articles about people’s emotional and spiritual relationship with nature have appeared in Orion, Sierra, Ecopsychology, The Ecologist, The Nation, Harper’s and other magazines. She lives with her husband, Andrew Gardner, in rural northeastern Pennsylvania, a region currently under exploitation by natural gas companies.

Image Credit:

  • Shane Grammer Mural Artist 10: Photo by Terence Duffy

MORE RADICAL JOY REVEALED

  • Peregrine Falcon

The Beauty Impulse

No matter what’s knocked us down or how long we’ve been there, we can not only survive but thrive. Flattened by grief—ecological, social, personal—we can still be pierced by beauty, wonder, and delight. These gifts [...]

  • 800px Bindweed Plant Breaking Through Asphalt 8 P1030678

The Resilience of Green

I am sitting on a fold-up chair at the top of the asphalt driveway which brings us halfway up the mountain to where our house sits. The house was built in 1987, and the driveway [...]

More Revealed

SUBSCRIBE

JOIN OUR NEWSLETTER

Radical Joy Revealed is a weekly message of inspiration about finding and making beauty in wounded places.