Mt. Tallac comes to main street
Artist creates scenic mural
By Jeff Munson
Tribune city editor
From eyesore to work of art, Lake Tahoe artist Apollo has again put his signature scenery to work on a wall alongside a busy stretch of South Shore highway.
This time his cinder block canvas is located in the 2200 block of Lake Tahoe Boulevard, on the side of Tahoe Keys Liquor, adjacent to Heavenly Times Hot Tubs.
Motorists traveling eastbound are privy to the best view of his work: Mt. Tallac as seen from the Taylor Creek meadow area.
“For the longest time I’d drive by the building and see that ugly yellow wall and think to myself, ‘Wouldn’t it be nice to have a mural there,'” Apollo said this week. His work is named “Reflections of Tallac.”
He painted a murals for the Stonestreet restaurant inside Caesars-Tahoe and does windowscapes for South Shore stores each Christmas. He has also painted for night clubs and restaurants in Reno, Las Vegas and the Hawaiian Islands, as well as inside offices and several private homes.
With permission from the building’s owner, Apollo went straight to work on what he conceptualized for the 13- by 35-foot wall.
Adjacent to the wall is Heavenly Times Hot Tubs, which commissioned Apollo to do the work after an agreement was reached with the owner of the Tahoe Keys Liquor building.
“It is absolutely gorgeous. It’s a whole lot better than that ugly yellow that was there before,” said Chris Swartz, owner of Heavenly Times Hot Tubs. “You can’t miss it when you drive by. In one week it went from raw wall to a landmark in town.”
Liquor store owner Kelly O’Gorman agreed. Customers have asked about it, and many are surprised by how closely the image resembles Mt. Tallac and the meadow.
“We keep losing the murals all over town, so it is nice to have one back. This one isn’t going anywhere,” O’Gorman said.
The setting also makes for a unique marketing tool. Plans are under way to put some of Heavenly Times Hot Tub inventory in front of the mural for advertising and marketing purposes.
The mural took Apollo about four days to finish. It required taking photographs of Tallac and Taylor Creek, having them resonate as one image, and then letting the mind, brushes and paint do the work.
Using Weather King outdoor paint and large brushes, the design is an intricate blend of blue sky, a snow-capped Mt. Tallac, trees, the meadow and wildflowers. The job required brushes rather than an airbrush to give it the full effect, Apollo said.
A signature he uses with much of his art is hidden within the mural’s many trees. Each tree is whisked to create the word “love,” something that is evident up close. From a distance, however, the trees look like, well, trees.
“I couldn’t resist,” Apollo said.
Having worked on cinder blocks before, the artist knew what he was getting into. However, the wall itself is made up of small cement blocks rather than large ones, which created a challenge.
“The grid of the wall actually made it easier conceptually, but it was more difficult when I was painting the grooves,” he said.
In exchange for the job, Apollo got himself a hot tub.
“It worked out well. I got to take an eyesore and turn it into something visually pleasing and I can now sit in my own hot tub whenever I want,” he said.