News Press- February 27, 2007
Brushing up on school pride:
Daily High students are busy painting a two-story-tall mural
showcasing their dragon mascot.
A two-story-tall mural being painted at Daily High School
that depicts a green dragon swooping down from the sky and
bursting through a brick wall isn't just a colorful addition
to the campus. It's also emblematic of the challenges being
met by the school's students.
Students were painting about 10 panels Tuesday that would
eventually go up on a series of walls along an outside staircase.
"It's not just one person's work," said Zack Cargar, 18.
"It's all of us. It's our work. We did it ourselves."
The tail of the dragon will wind back and forth down the side
of a building, with sections of the dragon on walls coming
down the staircase. Near the bottom of the staircase, the
head will appear to be smashing through the wall, and then
the final panel at the bottom of a staircase has the school's
name in graffiti-art lettering.
"Initially we wanted it to be edgy, representative of the
student body and be contemporary," art teacher Emily Goff
The mural will depict the school's mascot " the Daily Dragon
" but it also represents the character of the school's student
body, said Mark Makkouk, 18, who was painting the scales during
art class on Tuesday.
"A lot of people that come to this school, it's because they
had problems," he said. "The dragon is breaking through the
wall because that's what we're doing here, breaking through
Goff and Roger Dolin, a professional muralist, had only a
administrative role for the project, Goff said. The students
formulated ideas, created designs and planned the project
entirely on their own, she said.
"It's been an exercise in real-life skills, working with clients,
making revisions, making compromises and presenting designs
on a timely basis," Goff said.
Chris Sabino, 17, was in the classroom touching up the latest
design for the lettering, which school officials have repeatedly
sent back for revision due to concerns about the lettering
Chris volunteered to create the lettering because he draws
graffiti art in his journal. "I only do it on paper," he said.
"I have my own little books. I keep it to myself usually."
But with the mural project, he will get a chance to show off
his talents for the school " and for posterity.
The project be the continuation school's first mural since
it moved into its permanent building next to the school district
offices in August 2001, Goff said.
Art students at the continuation school have been designing
and revising the mural since December. But the first splashes
of color went up on Saturday, when students went to school
to start the painting phase, Goff said.
Many of them take pride in their work and the rest of the
school has been supporting them, she said.
"It's like the best class I've ever had," Zack said.
Glendale News Press- June 15, 2007
Leaving a legacy:
Ceramic mural at high school leaves a reflection of the past
and points to an unknown future.
Departing seniors put up a ceramic mural at Glendale High School
Friday depicting their drive toward the future and departure
from the past.
High School student Christine Saakyan, 18, from
left, ceramics instructor Christine Rose, and artist
in residence Roger Dolin work together to assemble
a ceramic tile mural at Glendale High School Friday
afternoon. -- Alex Collins / News-Press
The relief displays a landscape from the perspective of a student
at the driver's seat on the road of life, ceramics teacher Christine
"We all came up with the idea, since we're graduating and it's
the perfect time to look into the future," said 17-year-old
senior Lina Tovmassian, who was one of the advanced ceramics
class students who helped create the work.
A sinuous road curves into the distance, and lining the journey
are billboards with pictures of doctors and business professionals,
images that represent the future, said Roger Dolin, the artist
in residence who helped with the student project. The rear-
and side-view mirrors reflect images of childhood and family
life that the student leaves behind in his or her journey, he
said. And there is a global positioning system device on the
dashboard, representing the whole world of possibilities before
the students, he said.
"It represents our whole chapter in life while we were here
in school, from family and friends to things we can become,"
said 18-year-old Renia Paria. "It means, I think to me, all
the potential we have."
Paria and eight other seniors were getting their hands dirty
during their fourth period Friday helping Dolin put up the mural.
The 4-foot by 8-foot piece is constructed of 36 square tiles
that the students molded and painted themselves. Students mixed
mortar at the work site, applied it to the back of the tiles,
then pressed the tile against the brick wall. Work was slow
because they had to wait for each row of tiles to be securely
cemented on the wall before starting the next row.
The entire mural-making process took about two months of dedication
from her students, Rose said.
Some of the ceramics students said their schoolmates do not
take much notice of the 13 other ceramic murals on campus. The
first mural the class produced, a relief map of the city, can
be seen in the lobby of Glendale Unified School District's main
office, Rose said.
But the most noticeable on campus is the mural on the bridge
above the quad area, a large ceramic "Glendale" in block letters,
"But I think this one will make people start thinking about
it because it's life after high school," she said. "Like right
now, I'm really nervous because now I'm going into the real
world. I'm not safe in high school anymore."
The new mural is on a wall near the corner past the south side
of the main bridge " where these few students will have created
a lasting legacy at their school, Rose said.
"The best experience, besides the teamwork thing, is that they
have a piece of themselves on campus," she said.
ANTHONY KIM covers education. He may
be reached at (818) 637-3238 or by e-mail at anthony.h.kimlatimes.com.
Update- Solheim Lutheran Home Newspaper- Summer 2005
Skilled Nursing Mural Unveiled to Rave Reviews
An overflow crowd of residents, painters, donors and guests
braved the hot sun on May 15th, eagerly awaiting a chance to
discover just how "their" canvas fit into the entire picture.
Our new 255-foot mural delighted the crowd with its meandering
river, lush foliage, charming animals and miniature Eagle Rock.
Gerrie Meek, Solheim volunteer and the inspiration for the mural,
shared her amazement at how [the mural] grew from a small idea
to the large, successful project it became. Gerrie extends her
thanks to "everyone who had a part in it - and there was a lot!"
Enjoy their New Scenic Vista
Solheim Lutheran Home- Eagle Rock, California
Solheim extends a sincere thanks to those who contributed financially
to the mural's cost, and to the scores of volunteers who contributed
over 1800 hours to this project. Painters included:
Mural Environments Inc. - Roger Dolin and Anita
SLH Residents and Families SLH Staff and Board
Eagle Rock High School Key Club
Eagle Rock Seventh Day Adventist Church Pathfinders
Eagle Rock Collaborative Beautiful
Salem Lutheran School 6th Grade
Southwest CA Synod Council and Staff
Coldwater Canyon Prep Students
Merton Avenue neighbors
Glendale Community College Nursing Students
Various Solheim and Eagle Rock Community Members
Sentinel- February 2004
ERNC To Hit The Walls- With Art
Tai Chi Mural in Progress- Eagle Rock, California
Anita Hultman, Eagle Rock Neighborhood Council District 3 director
and newly elected Vice President has been working with Mr. Roger
Dolin of Mural Environments Inc., to come up with ideas for
what hopefully will become a series of murals in the Figueroa
corridor. The murals are to be painted using volunteer and student
labor to keep the costs down, although Mural Environments Inc.
will provide the artistic design and oversight at a much reduced
The City will sandblast and provide mural paint and supplies.
Students from Oxy will help with the labor. Prep work will be
what is needed form volunteers. Do to safety concerns and the
proximity to the street, only two students at a time could assist
with the mural painting.
The first mural is proposed for a staircase at Buena Vista and
Figueroa. The images are from photographs taken on World Tai
Chi Day. The final proposal will be made to the City on Saturday,
February 7, 2004.
Times- January 28, 1998
Artists Finish Mural at Boys and Girls Clubs
Artists recently completed a mural at the newly opened Boys
and Girls Clubs of Huntington Valley Kingston Branch in Mile
Square Regional Park.
Administrators at Orange Coast Memorial Medical Center commissioned
the seascape in the recreation center. The work was painted
by artists Roger Dolin and Carey Friedley, who also fashioned
a mural for the hospital.
"In addition to providing a colorful background inside
the facility, this mural creates an environment to capture the
imaginations of children," said Barry s Arbuckle, chief executive
officer for Orange Coast Memorial. "It also serves to ease any
anxieties they may be experiencing and provide a tranquil setting
to spend time in while they are away from home."
After 13 years of planning, the Boys and Girls Clubs opened
in May and serves children from Fountain Valley and Huntington
Beech. -JOHN CANALIS
Huntington Beach- November 1998
SOMETHING TO SEA-
Underwater Mural Creates a Calm Atmosphere for Kindergartners
at the Boys and Girls Club Kingston Branch
By Elisabeth Deffner
It's probably the only place you'll see a 10-foot-long eel
grinning at you. And definitely the only place your response
would be to smile back.
The plump, sinuous eel winds its way around the fish, starfish
and drifting kelp that are part of the mural in the Primary
Program room of the Boys and Girls Club of Huntington Valley's
Kingston branch at Mile Square Park.
The Boys and Girls Club offers a variety of before-and after
school recreation programs for children in kindergarten through
eight grade, director Tanya Grimes said. In the room with
the mural, kindergarten-age children participate in activities
ranging from cooking to computer games. The mural was an unexpected
bonus, Grimes notes. The underwater-scape is really the result
of Orange Coast Memorial Medical Center's sponsorship of the
club. Dr. Barry S. Arbuckle, who holds a Ph.D. in developmental
psychology and is the medical center's chief executive officer,
said the Fountain Valley mural has quite a lengthy history.
Mural Environments, the Van Nuys-based company that painted
the mural, was originally recruited by Long Beach Memorial
Medical Center to create a child-friendly ambiance. The entrances
were painted with an aquatic theme, and a four-story-tall
mural stretches along the stairwell from the ground floor
to the top. All the layers of the ocean are represented, from
treasure sunken in the sand to the water line beneath the
Similar ocean paintings were made in the pediatric unit at
Orange Coast Memorial, Long Beach Memorial's sister hospital.
"The same idea flowed over (into the Boys and Girls Club),"
Arbuckle said. As part of the medical Center's sponsorship,
Mural Environments painted a scene on the wall of the kindergarten
Roger Dolin, the CEO of Mural Environments, said a lot of
planning went into the mural. The colors, from the blues and
aquas of the water to the browns and taupes of the sand, were
carefully chosen for their calming effect. Translucent glazes,
containing a small amount of pigment, were layered onto the
base painting, adding depth and a realistic water effect to
the mural. "It's one of the more subtle things, but we try
to pay attention in every (detail)," Dolin said.
Upon first viewing, a visitor may not notice such details,
but as Grimes noted, "Everybody is kind of mesmerized when
they first walk in." And what do the 5-year-olds think of
it? Grimes says they like it, but they don't pay any special
attention to it. "That's just kind of part of life for them,"
Times, September 20 1996
Fairy Tales Come to Life on Pediatric Ward
Marr, 3, takes a long look at a Friendly Giant
at Fountain Valley Regional Hospital.
By Lesley Wright
Hansel and Gretel, Jack (of beanstalk fame) and other fairytale
characters have been admitted to the pediatric ward at Fountain
Valley Regional Hospital and Medical Center. Mural artist
Roger Dolin is painting their likenesses on walls, doors and
walkways stretching the length of the 24 bed unit. The goal
is to amuse and distract small patients visiting for injections,
tests and other treatments, hospital officials said.
"The idea was to make it fun," said Vicki Lombardo, director
of maternal and children's health services. She had seen Dolin's
work at a hospital in San Bernardino and recommended him when
Fountain Valley Regional was planning to remodel its children's
"This is a piece of the therapy," Lombardo said. "If the children
are upset and nervous, it makes therapy more difficult. This
calms and distracts them."
The brightly colored characters appear to be doing their job.
Three-year-old Jacqueline Marr, admitted for a few days this
week for an eye infection, took her mother on a tour to point
out her favorite parts of the mural. "It's really neat for
the kids," mother Kathy Marr said. "You can walk around and
tell them stories."
Though the artwork added about $12,000 to the cost of remodeling,
making it a $20,000 project, officials of the private hospital
felt that it would be worth the money by helping to make the
facility more attractive in a highly competitive healthcare
Dolin, 39, whose mural business is based in his Van Nuys home,
has painted fantasies on the walls of nearly 30 hospitals
between San Diego and San Francisco. He said he goes to healthcare
seminars to learn more about his clients' needs.
He and four assistants started working in Fountain Valley
in July and hope to have the last castle completed by the
end of this month.
The fairytale scenes merge into each other so that young patients
can walk through a forest along a path that leads to a town
square and then to a castle, the nurses' station.
To represent the city's ethnic diversity, the mural depicts
not only European fairy tales but also images of Vietnamese
and Chinese children.
"I wanted to paint big, to paint for the other people instead
of for myself," said Dolin, a fine arts graduate of Cal State
Northridge who has been painting murals since he was a teenager.
"I like knowing my work has a long term effect."
Homes Magazine, July 1996
LAND OF DREAMS
Come discover a place where waking rivals the best of dreams.
comes easy in this life-sized dollhouse, complete
with a working door and bell, as well as a beautiful
garden mural running up the side.
Photo © 1996 Blackstone Edge Studios
By Donna Pizzi
In the land where dreams come true, dollhouses are not just
for play-they are for living too. At least that's true at
this Los Angeles, California home, where two-year-old Samantha
Deutchman's bedroom has been magically transformed into a
miniature Victorian home, complete with English garden, climbing
roses, real roofing tile, and a working doorbell.
Samantha's mother, Cess Deutchman, decided early on that she
wanted to give her children the best childhood possible. She
dreamed up the idea for the miniature playhouse and sleeping
area one night when Samantha was only one.
"I grew up in the Philippines, playing in an outdoor dollhouse
in keeping with the architecture and materials native to my
island," explains Cess, "and I wanted something like that
for Samantha. But I wanted it to be indoors where she could
make more use of it." Since Cess loves English gardens and
architecture, the Victorian idea quickly followed. "I was
such a tomboy," recalls Cess with a laugh, "but my best friend
was not. When we were growing up, there was always such a
disparity between us. Later on, I felt like I'd missed out
on all that little girl stuff." The Victorian dollhouse was
Cess's way of ensuring that Samantha, her third child and
long-awaited daughter, would not miss out. "For me, it's like
a dream come true," sighs Cess. "It's so feminine-like cotillion
To make her vision a reality, Cess worked with interior designer
Maude MacGillivray. Together, the studied photos of English
and New England homes, deciding to add touches like the picket
fence, real siding, and actual roofing tile to give Samantha
the feeling that she was truly in a home of her own. Scaled-down
furniture-perfect for a doll's tea party-was added, as well
as Dutch doors, hand painted wallpaper, and a window that
looks into a second play area down the stairs.
Cess's only fear was that her vision might not correspond
with her daughter's, especially since her two older brothers
eat, sleep, and dream of nothing but sports.
What would happen, Cess wondered, if one day Samantha announced
to her that she wanted a baseball diamond in her room instead
of this very feminine dollhouse?
Luckily for Cess, Samantha took to the idea immediately. Although
she was not speaking in complete sentences when the room was
finished, she was able to express her utter joy to everyone
in sight by dragging them to her room, where she would exclaim
in two-year-old fashion, "My home, my home."
A year and a half later, Samantha is still mesmerized by the
whole concept. In fact, playing house remains one of her favorite
"She likes having the feminine part of childhood, but balances
it extremely well with athletics and gymnastics," says Cess.
"I've seen her play with her dolls wearing a dress and her
And so the dream lives on.
Journal- November 1995
CHANGING WALLS FROM "BLAH" to "AAAHH"
Roger Dolin Creates Art Where None Was
By Benjamin Cohen
Changing walls from "blah" to "aaahh" all around the Southland
is Roger Dolin, founder of Van Nuys-based Mural Environments
and a proponent of using walls to liven environments for patients,
patrons, homeowners and anybody else who tires of great blank
En route to his vision, Dolin has taken the concept of mural
and pushed it almost into the realm of "art installation" -for
example, at Miller Children's Hospital at Long Beach Memorial
Medical Center, Dolin's wall murals feature whales with three-dimensional
protruding fins, boat hulls that bulge two feet into hallways,
and wall-mounted authentic-looking life-preservers, the interior
of which hold directional signs.
"For every job I get, I try to push as far as the client will
let me," says Dolin, a Encino native whose pants are as paint-scarred
as any drop cloth. "I want something that will make a statement,
but still be fanciful. And why should a mural be flat?"
Hospital administrators, shop owners, Hollywood moguls and others
agree, and are calling for Dolin to rescue them from dull and
come up with something nice.
Fanciful is definitely a Dolin trait, as is seen in a 16-foot-by-20-foot
mural done recently for a Harley Davidson showroom. "The owner
wanted a feeling of a street and riders riding off into it,"
says Dolin. "Plus, she wanted her cat and dog in it. But I ended
up putting a pair of huge handlebars across the whole wall,
which makes it look like you are the rider, looking at the scene.
I couldn't figure out where to put the cat, so I finally put
it in the rear view mirror. Sooner or later, you have to please
And Hollywood titan Steven Spielberg hired Dolin to paint children's
bedrooms. "I painted on a two-story red barn, and pastoral scenes,
including sheep, and pastures. It is very pleasant," said Dolin.
Despite the brush with the movie-making giant, Dolin says he
does not do much studio work.
Sometimes Dolin finds himself not only painting walls but floors,
as in the case of a Riverside nightclub-disco, which wanted
a 25-foot-square Monopoly board for patrons to dance upon. "We
not only did the floor, but we painted the walls in a deco style.
I think there was some sort of dance, or game, they played,
using the Monopoly board, but I am not sure," says Dolin.
Fairly early in life Dolin decided he wanted to paint murals,
and he says he decided that painting walls was for him even
as a teenager. "There was always something about walls, and
the ability to create art where none was," he says. "By high
school I knew that painting murals was what I wanted to do."
The great Mexican muralists were an inspiration, as was the
work of Michelangelo, says Dolin. "Although I never wanted to
do a ceiling, because I think it would hurt the neck too much,"
he says. "But if anyone really, really wants a ceiling done
-okay, I'll do it."
Dolin got his start in 1982, when he was employed by a space-planning
firm. The company's owner knew of Dolin's then untapped talent,
and tapped Dolin to do murals in his own home.
"I worked for about nine months on that job, working in the
evenings. Basically, I would work all day, and then go to his
place at night to work on the murals," says Dolin.
The look was a street scene in Chicago, with storefronts, windows
and cars -a bunkbed was painted to look like a bus. A closet
was painted to look like the "el" or elevated train, and interior
lights were painted to look like street lights.
Dolin's first real job might have been his last, but soon the
space-planning firm went out of business, forcing Dolin upon
his own resources.
"I got a list from ASID (American Society if Interior Designers)
and basically went from door-to-door. Yes, I was unannounced.
I guess that took some chutzpah," says Dolin now. He showed
the pictures of his one job, and of murals he had done in college
at Cal State Northridge. (Sine then, his wife Nancy, has taken
over marketing duties for the Dolin enterprise.)
Dolin found himself well received on the early marketing missions,
even if jobs did not always materialize. "Maybe because artwork
is more interesting to look at than other kinds of things. Everybody
was always friendly, although not everybody called me back for
Still, the jobs came in, including a Valentine's Day special
for the gift shop Aahs! On Sunset Boulevard, which included
a large cupid's arrow extending form a store-side billboard
into the store itself-one of the first efforts of Dolin's that
announced that murals are not only two-dimensional. "We put
an angel on the inside of the store," remembers Dolin. "The
whole look was very forward, and the changes made for a very
positive ambiance in the store."
The 3-D Dolin look is very evident at the Long Beach Children's
Hospital, which even includes a ship hull bulging from a wall
by about two feet. The hull features a portal, about three feet
off the floor-just high enough to encourage children to peer
When they do, they see a scene, lit by ultraviolet light, of
friendly animals scurrying and hiding in the ship's bilge. The
animals' eyes are painted to glow in the ultra violet dark.
"The children are always drawn to that portal," says Dolin.
"It's hard to resist the temptation to look into something."
Not far from the ship's hall is a 100-foot-long sea serpent,
lining a hallway, and converting an otherwise institutional
setting into an oceanfront harbor. The dozens of Dolin-painted
animals always look friendly-even the sea serpent-and Dolin
explains that is his want, but also what was required by the
Children's Hospital. "This is not a place that you want scary,
you want it reassuring. And that is the look we have."
Dolin's success in hospitals is encouraging him to seek markets
in casinos and hotels, two related markets he has not yet tapped.
"In hospitals, there is extensive use of directional signs,
because, of course, you have so many people coursing through
the hospitals, many for the first time. It is the same in casinos
and hotels, says Dolin. "What I can do is create a theme, and
also put the signs into the theme."
Sports stadiums are another venue that could easily use the
Dolin murals-again, there are crowds of people walking around,
who don't really know where they are. "That would be a great
application," says Dolin. "Of course, we would paint baseball
players at baseball stadiums or football scenes for a football
field." In fact, Dolin has already painted sports-theme murals
for ballplayer's homes, including one fellow who wanted his
game room painted to look like a baseball stadium. "People in
the front rows were done sort of in nostalgia, so as to look
like they were from the 1920's, 1930s or 1940s. In the further
rows back, the fans become more modern," recalls Dolin. "We
used sepia tones for the older periods, and color for the modern
Price is always a tricky call for Dolin, because the project-length
and difficulty are not always apparent. "I have never really
charged by the square foot. It more depends what the client
has in mind, and how much they are willing to spend. I am quite
willing to stay within a budget," he says.
Sometimes Dolin will restrict himself to painting the difficult
sections of a mural or room, and turn over related tasks, such
as wall glazing to others.
"That's another way we can bring a project in on a budget,"
Unfulfilled goals of Dolin's are to paint the entire side of
a large office building, or to paint a freeway wall. "It would
be nice to do something on the scale that usually just isn't
possible in most settings. I suppose everybody has an idea in
their professions of doing something really big."
Anybody out there have an office building needing a very large
Dolin says he is in love with murals, but would also like to
try his hand someday at a canvas art, and putting on a "serious"
show at a gallery.
"Sure I would love to do that-but I also love doing the murals.
This is what I am concentrating on now."
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