Napa’s auto line mural is in focus | Local News

A 1930 Chrysler Imperial roadster, a 1941 Town + Country station wagon, a 1956 DeSoto Firedome hardtop, and a 1974 Dodge Charger.

These and a handful of other classic cars landed – larger than life – at Napa’s Chrysler dealership on Soscol Avenue.

Kristina Young

Israel Valencia

However, they are not for sale.

A 74-by-13-foot mural hangs on the side of Napa’s new Hanlees Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram dealership at 473 Soscol Ave.

Commissioned by the Gasser Foundation, it celebrates the history of Chrysler automobile design. The mural, made up of thousands and thousands of 1/2″ glass mosaic pieces, was created and designed by Napa artist Kristina Young.

Featuring the classic cars rolling down a road inspired by Napa’s Highway 29, she named it “On the Road Again.”

“It’s amazing,” to see the work come to life on the building, Young said. “This is my home and I’m proud to be able to contribute to the landscape here,” she said. “I’m so grateful.”

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The project was first planned in 2018. At first, Young estimated that she and three other people would need a year to complete the job, which they would do by hand.

And then the COVID pandemic hit.

“Everything was put on hold,” she explained.

By the time the project resumed, Young’s schedule had changed. She realizes that she no longer has an entire year to devote to mosaics.

It was then that Young heard of a company in Boston called Artaic.

Artaic takes art images and translates them into pixels. The robots then assemble custom mosaics, tile by tile, with precision and speed.

She was initially reluctant to have anyone else create the mosaic, let alone a robot. But after Young and her partner Israel Valencia visited the company in person to see the technology and the process, she saw the benefits.

“The more I thought about it, the more it made sense,” she said. “And that meant I could do it for Gasser and cheaper and faster.”

The tile mosaic was estimated at around $200,000. The work is funded by the city’s Public Art Ordinance, which requires commercial developers to dedicate 1% of project construction costs to public art on their site or contribute 1% to a fund. public art.

Using the Artaic robot system to assemble the tiles into sections meant the cost was down to around $130,000. This includes materials, production, shipping and installation.

The robot places each small tile in a 12 inch square grid. Each grid contains approximately 576 tiles. Then a sheet of duct tape is placed on top of the squares. These squares are then packed into boxes and shipped to the project site.

Workers then install each grid square in place using regular “thin bonding”, a type of tile cement.

By January, the tile squares had arrived in Napa and work on the mural began.

Valencia took the lead on the facility. He said the reaction to the mural so far has been positive and encouraging. “Every day we get thumbs up,” from passers-by, he said. “People love it.”

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“It was fun,” said Gerry Iuliano, who helps with the installation. “It was a very difficult job, but it looks great, and I’m very happy about it.”

There were some minor glitches – for example, a set of tiles was accidentally placed in the wrong place. After catching their mistake, the tiles were swapped.

Young said another issue involved a quote from “On the Road Again” by Willie Nelson, which the artist intended to include on the mural. Unfortunately, it would have cost $20,000 to license the lyrics from the company that owns the rights to the music.

“Obviously we decided to decline,” she said, using the quote. Instead of lyrics, the mural will feature random musical notes.

Although she’s happy with the results, Young said she realizes not everyone will like or even like her mosaic.

“I don’t expect everyone to like everything I do,” the artist said. “That’s why diversity in public art is so essential.”

Young believes there is room for all types of art and artists in Napa Valley.

“We want to have as many people engaged in art in the community,” she said.

The mural should be finished within the next three to four weeks, Young said. A dedication ceremony will follow.

You can reach reporter Jennifer Huffman at 256-2218 or

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