When Michael Arciniega was a child, his mother caught him drawing all over the walls of their home.
"But she didn't get mad, she always encouraged me," says the 44-year-old Arciniega, whose latest creation — a 3-D mural of rock icons on the walls of Martolli's Hand-Tossed Pizza at 38 E. Main St. — will be officially unveiled Aug. 2 during Ashland's First Friday art walk.
The mural features Jimi Hendrix, Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, Mick Jagger, Janis Joplin, Jerry Garcia, Carlos Santana and Bob Marley, as well as references to album art from Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd.
When: 5 to 8 p.m. Friday, Aug. 2, during Ashland's First Friday Art Walk
Where: Martolli's Hand-Tossed Pizza, 38 E. Main St.
To see more of Arciniega's art, visit www.artwithmuscle.com
By day, Arciniega works on a local ranch, but his dream is to create art full time.
"This is my passion," he says.
Fueled by pizza and beer, Arciniega worked on the mural at Martolli's through the night hours for seven months.
"Working at night was a whole experience," he says. "You saw so much of the town. I'd look up and there would be a guy staring at me giving me the thumb's-up."
Blending his passion for art and classic rock is nothing new to Arciniega, who in the 1980s frequently wore a T-shirt adorned with Pink Floyd images he created as a student at Ashland High School.
The owners of Martolli's, Brad Martell and Mark Hedford, are also fans of Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin and other classic rock bands. They were happy with what Arciniega had drawn for their chalkboard in the restaurant and chose him to paint the mural.
"He was a customer and really liked what we had going on, and we've kind of become friends," Hedford says. "He's a great guy. I think it's mutually beneficial to both of us."
Arciniega says he came up with a few sketches for the mural and the owners picked the one they liked the most and made a few modifications.
"It gives the dining room a little more than posters," Hedford says. "It's nice to have some art in here."
Arciniega also is an illustrator and is inspired by Gerald Scarfe, who did most of the album art and illustrations for Pink Floyd. Arciniega makes watercolor greeting cards and has written and illustrated a children's book. His works also can be found in the children's section of the Ashland library.
Arciniega put the finishing touches on the Martolli's mural during business hours and got positive feedback from the customers.
"People thank me for bringing back good memories of musicians with these depictions, and people have used it to teach their kids about who the performers in the mural are," he says.
Customer Jean Hollister spent a day in Ashland and stopped by Martolli's before driving home to Chico, Calif.
"I saw Janis Joplin and Mick Jagger in concert in the '60s," Hollister says. "I paid $4 for my ticket in 1966. Janis Joplin put on a really good concert. It's cool to see these musicians."
"I've been watching him paint this," says Ashland resident Lori Turtle. "I come in here every week. The detail is amazing. I'm surprised he left out the Beatles, though. But I'm a big Deadhead (Grateful Dead fan), so I appreciate all the artwork in here."
The three-dimensional aspects of the piece were Arciniega's idea. He had worked with papier-maché before but consulted with Ashland sculptor Kevin Christman about how to construct a hand that protrudes out of the wall holding a large slice of pizza.
"We've always wanted to have physical things as opposed to just flat posters (in the restaurant)," Hedford says.
Arciniega used employee Aaron Harleman's hand to shape a block foam piece which he then covered with papier-maché. Working in this medium reminded Arciniega of when he used to lead art classes at the Juvenile Detention Center, where his students would do lots of papier-maché.
"It brought me back to working in a group with the kids," says Arciniega.
Reach reporter Mandy Valencia at 541-776-4486 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.