Kevin Anderson, Ocean Muralist

December 13, 2011, Judd

Our publisher, Betty Steele, has one of the best office views in Cardiff. Not only can she peek out her window to see if the surf’s up, she can also take in the new mural at Pipes Cafe, painted by longtime Encinitas resident Kevin Anderson.

From Trader Joe’s to Kealani’s, Anderson’s murals have been a monumental gift to his beloved community. Anderson’s art depicts the quintessential California coastal experience ancLalso enhances community involve. ment and spirit. Take his latest creation at Pipes, which is near completion after six months.

As he dabs some soft-yellow acrylic on a lotus flower, Anderson describes his inspiration for the mural which he invested over $5,000 of his own money. (He purchases the best acrylics, which come in tubes no bigger than elementary- school sized Elmer’s Glue and cost $20 each.)

“I wanted this mural to reflect the positive aspects of living in Cardiff,” says Anderson, who graduated from San Dieguito High (class of ’75), and “lived the Beach Blanket Bingo days surfing Pillbox.”

The task of painting an entire wall seems daunting. Anderson said that mural painting is definitely a challenge.

“It’s a physical workout and you can’t really see the proportions until you take a step back – dozens of them.  It’s tough drawing to scale on a mural.”

Anderson reserved the bottom right corner of the mural for the kids of Cardiff to add their artistic contribution.

“I noticed lots of the young kids who were waiting in line for food being fascinated by the artistic process, so I’ve left some acrylics and brushes for them to write their names on the wall.”

Anderson is lucky to be an artist who gets to make a living creating what he is passionate about, yet he doesn’t recommend his career to everyone.

“Sometimes I tell myself that I wish I were a plumber and led a normal life,” says Anderson. “The work I do is a form of insanity. You become so obsessed about your creation constantly trying to perfect it. I get so wrapped in it that sometimes I forget to eat.”

Though nobody who knows Anderson would call him a sell-out, he admits to taking jobs strictly for the money in the past, such as his Tuscany-influenced mural at Las Vegas’ Caesar’s Palace.

Anderson is no longer a starving artist, but he says that initially the battle between paying his bills and landing infrequent jobs to pay them was often discouraging.

Anderson’s murals should be cherished by the community and left to enjoy for generations to come, but we may not see many more in the future. Anderson said he is going to stop painting murals for a while.

Let’s hope there is more work to come from this exceptional local artist.

Judd Handler is a freelance writer and wellness/lifestyle coach in Encinitas, California. He surfs uncrowded, fun reef breaks; plays instrumental alternate-tuning guitar; goes hiking in the backcountry; and is amazed on a daily basis by just being alive.