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An island feel at downtown’s edge: Mural helps to beautify corner of North B Street, Tilton Avenue
August 13, 2016, 05:00 AM By Renee Abu-Zaghibra Daily Journal

Renee Abu-Zaghibra/Daily Journal
A new mural on Tilton Avenue at the edge of North B Street in San Mateo aims to beautify and enliven the area.

Todd Lanam

A San Mateo native has left his impression on North B Street with his mural of vibrant palm trees and city skyline aiming to improve the area at the very north of downtown.

In another step by the city-led North B Improvement Initiative toward beautifying the area, efforts were put forward to create a mural alongside a store front on 322 Tilton Ave. The idea was put together a couple of years ago when the North B Improvement Initiative was created, but was postponed. Eventually, the owners of the Neelam Islanders Market at the corner of Tilton Avenue and North B Street contacted the city to remind them that they were still interested in the idea.

“The DSMA got the ball rolling again, and fortunately we had some funds available specifically for art projects in downtown San Mateo,” said Ann Fienman, executive director of the Downtown San Mateo Association.

Artist Todd Lanam, 33, has been professionally painting for six years and now works in San Francisco. He started taking lessons when he was 12, but didn’t get serious until he was in college. Lanam was chosen because his painting style best fit the atmosphere of the store. The tropical island feel of Neelam Islanders Market was translated onto the large empty wall by Lanam with multiple shades of blues and pinks.

“We really like the artwork because it matches our store’s island theme and it gives the store and area more vibrancy,” said Rose Shiriwastaw, daughter of the owners of the store.

The owners are Fijian and were looking for something with a tropical theme to fit their store. Lanam had done tropical themes in his paintings in the past so it was one reason the city felt that he was the perfect artist for that spot.

“I felt like it took my work to the next level and it was thrilling to see one of my pieces that large,” Lanam said. “It almost felt like walking into one of my paintings.”

This was Lanam’s first mural and the size of the wall was challenging, but rewarding. The scale of the wall was much larger than anything he had ever done and converting his smaller rendition to the sizable surface was not an easy task. The process took a month to complete with the help of assistants Nikkie Barros and Kym Dell.

“People seemed to really like it,” said Lanam. “When I was working on it, it was really nice to see people from the community walk by and enjoy the process of the development of the mural and I think they were really thrilled that it was going up in that neighborhood.”

The next projects for the North B Improvement Initiative will mid-block crosswalks, street trees and bike racks, Fienman said. A new Mi Rancho Market on the east side of the street is also under construction.



Tags: north, lanam, store, street, mural, really,

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An island feel at downtown’s edge: Mural helps to beautify corner of North B Street, Tilton Avenue

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