Oakland Installation Dispatch


Despite ongoing gentrification, the warehouse district surrounding Oakland’s Jack London Square remains a muscular commercial hub. Nestled between a major highway and the bustling Port of Oakland, the waterfront district is a town within a town, an island of urban opportunity appealing to anyone who values the authentic remnants of a working city- barges and trains unloading containers of goods, carried by trucks to be packed and stored and distributed. The working day begins before dawn, modulated by train whistles, clanging bells and the rumble of trucks. The streets empty of laborers late in the afternoon, replaced by walkers of tiny dogs and the myriad ghosts of John Muir, bearded, back-packed and weather beaten.

Oakland’s waterfront is how I imagine old San Francisco must have been, a dizzy blend of optimism and uncertainty, attractive to risk takers and pioneers. All of the signs are in place for Oakland to finally come into its own and I can imagine the Waterfront becoming the City’s crown jewel in the near future. I feel honored to contribute to its visual texture, and am grateful for the high visibility of our Fusion mural, conspicuously sited across the plaza from the train station.


Preparing to install the first batch of panels for Oakland Fusion

I arrived Sunday night and spent my first two days on site getting organized and preparing to hang the first batch of steel panels to support the ceramic tile mural. Everything is falling into place without hitch, and I’m nicely settled into my loft space across the street. The first night I cooked a large batch of chicken curry from ingredients culled around the neighborhood as I biked its contours after a long chilly day on site. This will serve as my readymade lunches for the next week:
In a large skillet, brown 6-8 breasts of boneless, skinless chicken in olive oil over medium high heat, and remove to a dish. De-glaze the pan with a splash of white wine, add more oil if necessary, reduce the heat and add chopped red onion (about one cup), 5-6 cloves chopped garlic, 8-10 fingerling potatoes, halved or quartered. Stir the vegetables around until nicely glazed, then add your favorite blend of curry powders- I prefer more cumin and chili. Return the chicken to the pan, and add about 3/4 cup of coconut or soy milk (I used soy because I could not find coconut, and actually prefer it- lighter, cleaner). Add crowns and leaves of fresh broccoli, reduce heat and simmer until everything blends and the vegetables are just tender.