Inspired by neglected painting, artist adds fresh flourishes while keeping original touches

At Becerra's, a Mexican grocery store in Gresham's Rockwood neighborhood, an old mural was neglected with fading paint, and marred with graffiti. OUTLOOK PHOTO: MATT DEBOW  - Daniel Sandoval works on a mural in Greshams Rockwood neighborhood on Thursday, May 31.

Portland resident Daniel Sandoval decided to change that, and asked the owner of Becerra's if he could fix it by creating a new mural. He noticed the deteriorating paint and graffiti when he moved to the Rose City about five years ago.

"It hadn't changed, so I decided to do something," Sandoval said. "I'm just trying to beautify the neighborhood for people who live nearby."

Because the mural was created at an international market, the first painting contained several Latin American historical and cultural references including a depiction of Cesar Chavez, a Latin American civil rights activist.

Sandoval will keep many of those Latin aspects in his new painting, but he will focus on spiritual aspects instead of historical.

"I wanted to stick with the (Latin) theme of keeping it culturally based," he said. "People don't know the history, nor do people know what spiritual practices in these cultures are."

However, with spiritual symbols, people may be able to understand them even if they are unfamiliar with those religious images.

The original mural included a depiction of the Virgin Mary. Sandoval decided to keep that imagery, but couldn't recreate the original as it was "tagged" and he wasn't sure what the original intent was.

In the middle of the painting is a depiction of the Lady of Guadalupe.

The new work caught the eye of Dina DiNucci, operations manager for the Sunrise Center Rockwood Community Development Corporation, who worked on the original mural as part of the Rockwood Weed and Seed Neighborhood restoration project in 2003.OUTLOOK PHOTO: MATT DEBOW  - Daniel Sandoval works on a mural in Greshams Rockwood neighborhood on Thursday, May 31.

DiNucci contacted The Outlook about Sandoval's efforts.

"I saw him working and at first I was disappointed, then I saw how beautiful it is," she said.

Sandoval is donating his time for the Gresham Mural. When he gets a break in his schedule, he comes and works on the painting.

He also is working on a Trimet mural in the Hollywood District as a paid job.

"I'm doing it for the love of the people, so anyone who sees it can appreciate it," Sandoval said.

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