For those that don't know artist John Uttech and his family, they'll enjoy the scene, which enhances what was once a plain whitewashed cement wall, but they won't know the story behind the mural.
Those who park in the lot below Parker Plaza in Mount Shasta are now greeted by a bright mural depicting a peaceful nature scene, complete with Mt. Shasta rising above.
For those that don’t know artist John Uttech and his family, they’ll enjoy the scene, which enhances what was once a plain whitewashed cement wall, but they won’t know the story behind the mural.
The California quail represent each member of Uttech’s family, including his wife Terra and their two sons, Rhyder and Ivin. The fifth quail, which has an iris rising behind it, is meant to represent Uttech’s daughter, Iris Kelley, who died tragically at age 14 in 2015 in an accidental drowning in the Sacramento River.
“I wanted to tell a story without actually telling it,” Uttech explained.
Uttech was commissioned by the city to complete the mural by May 1 and was given creative freedom to design the mural within certain guidelines, he said, provided that it represents the Mt. Shasta area and the state of California in a tasteful manner.
The mural also includes California poppies, crystals, shade trees, dragonflies, cattails and the mountain, which is featured prominently in the center with a layered lenticular cloud hovering above it. As the scene moves to the right, it begins to transition into stained glass in bold colors, Uttech said.
The further the mural travels, the pieces of stained glass slowly and subtly get further and further apart until it looks like the pieces are breaking against the wall and falling into a pile.
This isn’t Uttech’s first mural project – he has done others in his hometown of Lake Chelan, Washington.
Uttech has been a tattoo artist for nearly 20 years and owns Weed Tattoo Company, although his shop has been closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, forcing him to find other ways to support his family.
Currently Uttech is working doing maintenance in Lake Shastina while waiting for Siskiyou County to reopen.
Mount Shasta’s Jamie Wright, who has worked behind the scenes for years to get the mural completed, said she’s thrilled to see it completed to enhance Mount Shasta’s ambiance for visitors and residents alike.
Uttech hopes the mural will be one of many, and envisions a town that’s bright with color and creativity.
If enough murals are painted in the downtown area, the Mount Shasta Chamber of Commerce could create a walking tour of different works of art, he said.
“I’m hoping the city will get a lot of good feedback and the city will consider more murals with other artists. Every city needs more color.”