Morro Bay’s newest public artwork was a labor of love for the young artist, who labored over the colorful and whimsical piece for a couple of months, bearing up in the oft chilly air.
Harmony Lloyd, 20, says she spent her early years living at Heritage Ranch in rural Paso Robles, moving with her family to the Coast her freshman year of high school. She attended and graduated from Morro Bay High School and is now a Cuesta College student.
She’s always been interested in art, she explains, taking art classes both in high school and now at Cuesta. “This is my first mural ever,” she says while getting ready to put the finishing touches on her artwork on the eastern wall of the Shell Gas Station at the corner of Kern Avenue and Morro Bay Boulevard. “It took two-and-a-half months to do, but it was really fun.”
Folks navigating through the Roundabout and going west on the Boulevard will probably get the best view of the artwork, or take a peek next time you stop in to fill ‘er up.
Standing out there for 4 to 5 hours a day, often in chilly winds, and in between school and work at the Morro Bay Coffee Co., she drew a lot of attention from the station’s customers.
“I got to see what the people of Morro Bay are like,” she says. “Morro Bay has just the best people; it was really great to experience that.”
She shared that people came up to her and commented on the mural, which she first penciled out in a rough paper draft. Mostly, though, she drew and then painted freehand. Since she admittedly had never painted a mural, it gave her a lot of freedom to be creative. “I didn’t want to make it too restrictive,” she says.
She sketched in the varied scenes with chalk before the paint went on. “I tried to focus on the characters and then fill in around them. I just told myself that it’ll look great no matter what.”
“It was a little nerve-wracking,” she added, “having so many people stop and watch me.”
She got the gig by answering a sign Shell had posted on the wall seeking a muralist. Lloyd, who lives in the neighborhood near the station, says, “She [owner] showed me the wall and said she wanted something that represents Morro Bay.”
The result was a collage of scenes including Morro Rock, the Harborwalk, Bay, the beach, Sandspit, a bikini clad woman surfing, fog rolling in at the edges, and of course, a brilliant, red and yellow sunset on top of everything. “The sun is the same colors as the Shell logo,” she points out.
“This is everything that makes Morro Bay, Morro Bay to me,” Lloyd explained, who denies that the skateboarder on the right side is her, which a few people have wondered, seeing as she is herself an avid skateboarder.
She did put her dad, Chad Lloyd’s converted ambulance/camper in one background scene. The result is a mural that people will admire for years to come.
“I learned a lot. Like the wall is much bigger than it looks,” she laughs.
She used high-quality outdoor house paint, and while it will eventually fade, this wall doesn’t get very much direct sunlight, so the brilliant colors should last a long time. “The wall is mostly shaded from the sun,” Lloyd explained.
The Shell mural was a commissioned work, which is a promising sign for a first time muralist. Experienced muralists command thousands of dollars for a mural this big.
“I’m doing it for cheap,” she said. “It was a good opportunity to get my foot in the door. I met a few people who want me to do work for them.”
Lloyd is also a graphic artist and designed menus for a local restaurant. “I’ll do anything and see how it goes,” she said.