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MCAS Miramar: The Creation of the Mural

MCAS Miramar: The Creation of the Mural - beginning
MCAS Miramar: The Creation of the Mural - completion

MCAS Miramar: The Unites States Marine Corps Emblem
Paul Gavin, Mural, 2006

The mural depicting the Eagle, Globe & Anchor is shown above from initial concept to completion. See the mural in progress with each successive picture below.

World's Largest Eagle, Globe & Anchor at MCAS Miramar in San Diego

Kimberleigh and Paul Gavin have painted what is believed to be the world's largest Marine Corps emblem.

Mural 1

Rick Soule, Miramar's Marine Corps Community Services Director, wanted to create an artistic landmark specific to MCAS Miramar. He envisioned a giant Eagle, Globe & Anchor on the formerly blank wall at the back of the Miramar Theater.

Miramar Air Show artists and sponsors since 1994 and designers of the MCAS Miramar Base Logo, Kimberleigh and Paul agreed to create the mural. The full color circular emblem is 40' in diameter and 55' high.

A 26-year military art tradition

The mural continues a 26-year Gavin military art tradition. In 1979 Paul began painting pictures of the MCAS Tustin Blimp hangars and in 1984 started designing the Tustin Open House event art. In 1989 he painted his first MCAS El Toro and NAS Point Mugu Air Show posters and continued at El Toro until it closed in 1997.

Mural 2
Mural 3

Kimberleigh, also an artist, began working with Paul in 1993 and they married that same year. She used her textile painting and color skills to convert Paul's paintings into more graphic images that could be made into t-shirts. Since then they have worked together on military and civilian event poster and t-shirt art across the country at locations including, Marine Corps Air Stations Cherry Point and New River NC, Yuma AZ, El Toro and Tustin CA (until they closed), Naval Air Stations and Facilities at Jacksonville FL and El Centro CA, Air Force Bases at Westover MA, Davis-Monthan, Arizona, and Andrew, Maryland, and other military and civilian events including Chicago's Air & Water Show, Fair Saint Louis, and Fleet Weeks in San Francisco, New York City, and San Diego.

They created TOPGUN 25th and 30th Anniversary designs in 1993 and 1998, began the Miramar Air Show poster tradition in 1994, created the MCAS Miramar base logo in 1997, and also in 1997 began creating the San Diego Fleet Week event art and wearable designs.

Mural 4
Mural 5

Although the Gavins have created artwork of many shapes and sizes, including a water tower mural, this Marine Corps emblem on the largest Marine Corps jet base and home of the Third Marine Air Wing is more complicated.

An exacting and challenging task

With multiple exact concentric circles and curved lettering centered 35 feet off the ground, this project required more exacting procedures than the usual mural grid system. Another challenge was how to actually work on the wall. The old theater wall and roof prevented using both set and hanging scaffolding.


So for these technical solutions Kimberleigh and Paul asked their friend and fellow artist, Phil Tessier, an accomplished sign painter, former Camp Pendleton Marine, and owner of San Clemente's Creations Unlimited [ 949-492-7337 ] for guidance.

Phil and his crew, Patti Prather and Jim Carlise, have created many often seen Southern California signs as well as the Air Show banners used by the Gavins at Miramar and at events across the country since 1993.

Mural 7
Mural 8

He and his experienced crew reviewed the design and theater wall and laid out the technical details to make this a success. Patti created the full size cartoons that use the old master fresco pouncing technique to draw the design on the wall. Because scaffolding was not possible, a 60-foot boom was used and they developed the plan to layout and paint the mural in the least possible passes from the single bucket.

Work on the mural began September 13 and has been completed in time for Miramar's 50th Anniversary Air Show, October 14-16.

Mural 9
Mural 10

Explore more Gavin Arts

MCAS Miramar Air Show

The U.S. Marine Corps and all our men and women in uniform have been a major focus of the Gavins' work, honoring our troops in art and design. See, for example, Paul's painting Semper Fidelis Reflections: The Marine Monument at San Clemente — and Kimberleigh's graphic designs on MCAS Miramar apparel and posters.

The Marine Monument: Semper Fidelis Reflections

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