Piece by Piece has partnered with A Community of Friends (ACoF) on several projects throughout the years including the Villas at Gower in Hollywood and the Silver Star in South Los Angeles. With each project, we draw inspiration from the location and the residents of the buildings. This was one of our favorite projects, completed during the pandemic and yet still created by our team with dedication and enthusiasm.
The Firestone-Phoenix building was named after the mythical bird the Phoenix, symbolizing renewal and hope. A member of the team at ACoF said “…residents will have hope and faith to reenvision their lives with permanent supportive housing. It reflects the residents who are emerging from the challenges that they've faced. They are putting their pasts behind them and attempting to rise above their circumstances to a better future.” With those words of wisdom to guide us, we developed a series of abstract feathers to represent not only the Phoenix but also to illustrate feathers, as seen in many cultures, as symbols of strength. A brilliant sun at the forefront represents life.
We used symbols of hope and resilience from several different cultures including Adinkra symbols from Africa, Celtic symbols, and symbols from South America.
For this project we also partnered with a well-known muralist in South Los Angeles, Noni Olabisi. Her legendary work throughout the neighborhoods of Los Angeles has been inspirational for many. Her love for her city is apparent not only in her work, but in her passion to connect with people wherever she creates.
Noni guided several of our artists and instructors through her process, layering the paint, creating the broad strokes, and then adding the details. Because our artist team has never done a painted mural before, this was a great experience for everyone, and the designed gradation of mosaic to paint has a powerful effect.
Year Installed: 2021
Comissioned by: A Community of Friends
Materials: Recycled ceramic and glass
Viewing: Supportive Housing, viewed from street
Address: 9539 Firestone Blvd, Downey, CA 90241