POW! WOW! Long Beach is back for its second year, and this time with 21 murals, which includes four Long Beach artists. This week, we spoke with two of them, Gail Werner and Dave Van Patten.

As a Long Beach resident and Native American, Gail Werner draws strong inspiration from Southern California’s local plant and wildlife. Her POW! WOW! mural, located at Super Suds Laundromat on Appleton at Alamitos and her first public artwork, is part of a series titled Bird Dreams and features a bird in a rich desert-toned background. As an alumna from California State University, Long Beach, Werner was actively engaged in a group that formed during her graduate studies and continued after graduation, called Women Art Makers. Group members shared their work and supported each other while in school and continued meeting after graduation. Werner participates in the Biannual Mid-City Studio Tour, the next one is in May 2017. More info about Werner is available here.

Inspired by the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s album cover, Dave Van Patten’s POW! WOW! mural in Frontenac Ct. alley off Broadway is filled with a modern cast of “weirdo characters” including unicorns with mullets, zombie cowboys, a creepy suit man and more. The mural uses graphic shapes and neutral colors. Van Patten describes his work as containing themes like dreamlike absurdism, childlike-storybook simplicity and disturbingly dark humor. Van Patten has other public art up in Long Beach, including “Rainbow Train” in Bixby Knolls. When asked what advice he’d give artists wanting to put up a mural, he said it’s good to make it interesting by having a point or a message and to have it spark conversation. Learn more about Van Patten here.

Check back next week for information about the other Long Beach POW! WOW! artists!