Love Letter mural in progress: Matt Willey overcomes challenges

Not unlike the challenges that pollinators face, muralist Matt Willey began his much-anticipated mural at the Laguna Beach County Water District with a new set of challenges to overcome.

When we think of Southern California, we assume wonderful weather year-round, especially for Willey who hails from New York City. As he began to sketch the first bee on the wall he was challenged with cooler weather and dew point issues. For painters who rely on coatings in their process, the dew point can present a real headache.

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Photo by Kirk Nelson

Matt Willey during second week of painting “Love Letter” mural

Like the bees, when extreme rainfall or heat disrupts their hives and causes them to have to adapt, Willey will be painting within a tent “cocoon” to ensure that he can continue to work on the mural to meet the deadline for finishing by February 28.

Willey’s message about the plight of the bees and how we as humans are intrinsically connected to one another for survival has been expressed in more than 47 murals across the world. Prior to arriving in Laguna Beach, he finished a beautiful mural in Costa Rica. Other murals are located at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo, Burt’s Bee’s Global Headquarters, North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences and Art for the People in Bejing, China, just to name a few.

The Laguna Beach Garden Club in partnership with the Laguna Beach County Water District strive to deliver a hope-driven message about water conservation, planetary health as well as understanding the need for humans to connect with one another to solve the planetary challenges that confront us.

Each mural and installation have a story. That story often begins years before the painting begins and would not be possible without the interaction with the local community. In Willey’s words, “Each new mural is like a swarm, an expansion, of the piece that came before.”

The Laguna Beach Garden Club hopes that the Love Letter to Laguna will continue the progress toward showing more love and understanding to one another in order that we can tackle what challenges lie ahead as a strong and loving hive.

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