Alfredo Diaz Flores painted murals all over Los Angeles and the Valley during his 82 years. When he died in 2008, Daily News columnist Dennis McCarthy paid tribute by calling him “One of the greatest artists ever to pick up a paintbrush in Los Angeles.”
One of Flores’ most visible works is “Panorama: G.M. Recollections from the Past,” which graces both sides of the railroad underpass on Van Nuys Boulevard near the site of the former General Motors automobile factory. Completed in November 1998, the mural commemorates the 50 year history of the plant with a pictorial timeline of the popular and classic models that powered the American dream and the local economy until it closed in 1992. Sadly, since Flores’ passing, time, weather and traffic have taken their toll on the mural; it has deteriorated significantly and has been in dire need of repair and repainting.
Earlier this year, Los Angeles City Councilman Richard Alarcon made available to the Panorama City Neighborhood Council a one-time source of AB1290 funding which could be tapped for a redevelopment or community services project.
In subsequent Panorama City Neighborhood Council actions, restoration of the G.M mural was adopted as its project for the use of those funds. Given its unique location at the entrance into the Panorama City community, this expansive work of art effectively serves as a “welcome” sign to its future as well as a salute to its past and the talented artist who painted it.
A search to find a well-qualified artist to handle the mural restoration led to the selection of Joe Nicoletti and his company, Chameleon Paintworks, Inc., whose credits include restoration work at Los Angeles City Hall, the Millennium Biltmore, the Dunbar Hotel, and many private commissions for celebrity clients including Quentin Tarantino, Sting, and Rod Stewart.
So, starting on Monday, June 17, watch for Nicoletti’s team of restoration artists to be busily at work in the railroad underpass just north of the Amtrak/Metrolink station at 7724 Van Nuys Boulevard. Nicoletti estimated that the work will take approximately two weeks to complete, including a coating to protect it against future graffiti.
Panorama City resident Jan Brown has been coordinating the project for the Panorama City Neighborhood Council, facilitated by Jose Sandoval, Pacoima District Office Director for the office of Councilman Richard Alarcon, and PCNC Vice Chair Tony Wilkinson.
Thanks also go to Northeast Graffiti Busters for power-washing the mural prior to the restoration.