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  Friendly Dinosaurs Make a Comeback

People in the neighborhood began pointing and gawking almost as soon as the project began.

A bright sky blue covering the entire back of the house could be seen from across the canyon. The color makes a stark contrast to the muted beige of the rest of the house on 2nd Street, which sits unobtrusively surrounded by trees and tucked into the hillside. 

“We always felt that art should be a joy,” says Victoria Carella, owner and instigator of the mural project at her home in Globe. She and her partner, Charles Beck, smile as they stand back and admire the finished work. 

It covers the entire back of their home, measuring 18 feet wide by 13 feet high at the peak, and features three large brontosauruses, triceratops, and pteradactyls. Troglobites lurk in the lagoon at the bottom of the mural. Carella acknowledges they took some liberties and mixed geological time lines, but, she said, they were such interesting creatures when they were around, how could they not be represented? 

“We knew we only wanted friendly dinosaurs,” Carella laughs. “No T Rexes.” 

And Charles points out the size of the brontosauruses and quips, “Look, they’re plant eaters, and look how big they got.” 

The couple started noticing people driving slowly by their house and getting out to take photos as the project progressed. While parts of the mural can be seen from the street, the couple’s brushy backyard blocks a full view. To really take it all in, you have to be standing in the backyard looking up. At some point in a distant future, when the issue of social distancing is behind us, the couple hopes they can offer a more formal tour of the yard and the mural to those who ask. 

Victoria and Charles in front of the completed mural. Photo by LCGross

The initial idea for the mural came to Victoria in a vision. As a shaman who has practiced for over a decade, this is not an unusual thing for her. She considers these insights a gift. 

And she takes the time to listen and to act on them.

But to make the vision a reality, she needed an artist who understood.

She found that person in Patti Sjolin.

“She’s an awesome person to work with,” says Carella. “We gave her some ideas and she produced sketches for us. And then we just let her go at it. And she just got it right from the beginning.” 

Carella says, “She even took an old picture I had of Charles and I when we visited the pyramids in Egypt and worked it into the mural.” She points to the two small figures standing at the edge of the lagoon holding hands. 

Charles says he has always been fascinated with geologic time. Pointing to the mural, he says, “This was when the earth was changing.” 

Maybe that’s why this mural feels timely (or timeless), after all. 

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