His love symbol

William EverOne

Photo By Meredith J. Cooper

He’s played college football, operated tugboats, flown airplanes and harvested minerals. But it was a job in billboard painting that led 71-year-old William EverOne to perfect his painting skills. For the artist, selected by city officials to paint a mural in the City Plaza, the ability to paint on large surfaces and his knowledge about minerals has proven to be a useful combination. (He also painted the mural on the side of the Phoenix building on Broadway). With hundreds of hours invested in the mural (he even has a copy of the photograph he works from taped above his bed), EverOne is close to finishing one more piece of art that will decorate the walls of Chico.

How long have you been working on the mural?

I started 2 1/2 months ago. It’s been a while. What I needed to do is prepare the wall, which takes a couple of weeks. I had to putty it and sand it, putty it and sand it, and putty it and sand it. Then I had to fill in little blemishes that were left. It’s taking longer than I had hoped because of so many things. Artists are at work all the time—it’s not just how many brushstrokes you do.

How was the image chosen for the mural?

Part of the contract with the city is to select an image. I did research at the university, in their archives, and around town like the Hooker Oak, Bidwell Mansion and Bidwell Park. So, I collected a couple different images for review. The images were submitted to the City Council; the City Council chose the image of the trolley car for the wall. But they didn’t want to put a photograph print up here, and they didn’t really want a sign here. They wanted an artist. Well, they got their hands full.

How long have you been an artist?

How many lifetimes? [Laughs.] Since I was a kid, really.

Is there something special about the painting medium you are using?

I collected sand from the locations I had researched. I’m an oil painter. I would have been done a month ago had I used oil paint—what I know how to do. I would have been done. When the City Council selected the image, they wanted it painted in sepia tone—not color. So I started playing around with the sand from the location in the picture and it turns out the sand is a sepia tone. This medium dries so fast, it’s hard to control.

Where did you get the dirt?

The image is of the trolley, so right in front of where the photograph of the trolley was taken. It’s on The Esplanade, right in front of the Veterans building.

Will this wall have a name?

I don’t know. But I do know that it’s my love symbol for Chico.