It's no illusion: Palo Alto muralist Greg Brown has been chosen Artist of the Year for the 11th state Senate district. Brown is best known for his fanciful Palo Alto trompe l'oeil wall murals, which include images of a spaceship crashing into a bank building and a man pushing an alien in a stroller.
"Greg's work is a constant reminder that art is a part of our daily lives -- at least it should be," said State Sen. Joe Simitian, D-Palo Alto, who chose Brown for the honor. "Because Greg's work is so often integrated into our daily surroundings, it has become a part of the fabric of our community."
A native of Pittsburgh, Penn., Brown moved to Palo Alto as a child and began studying with painter Roberto Lupetti at the age of 12, Simitian's office reported. He later served as a Palo Alto artist-in-residence.
Brown has been painting murals in Palo Alto since 1975, in private homes and on the sides of downtown buildings. They often incorporate local subjects and have themselves become local landmarks.
Brown's other work has included the art for the centennial celebration poster created for the City of Palo Alto's 100th birthday in 1994. His drawing "The Altercation" was recently hung in the state's Capitol.
The Senate's Artist of the Year award was created a decade ago to honor contemporary California artists. Each senator chooses a district artist to exhibit artwork in the Capitol for a year.