To mark the beginning of Pride Month, Councilmember Nithya Raman celebrated the completion of the Odin Street underpass mural restoration in Hollywood, titled the â€œBlue Moon Trilogy.â€ With funding from AIDS Project Los Angeles, artist Russell Carlton originally began the mural in 1987 to serve as a message of hope at the height of the AIDS crisis, which Carlton lost his life to the following year. After falling into disrepair since its last restoration in 1993, the mural was restored and completed through the collaborative efforts of community members, City departments, and restoration experts.
â€œIn the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic â€” after two years of unprecedented loss and hardship â€” the message that Russell Carlton shared in this mural is as timely and meaningful in this moment as ever,â€ said Councilmember Raman. â€œIâ€™m so grateful to the Department of Cultural Affairs, Fine Art Conservation Laboratories, and the Hollywood Hills West Neighborhood Council for leading the charge in reviving Russellâ€™s message of self-empowerment, health, love and hope that can be shared by all Angelenos in a time when it is truly needed.â€
In 2017, Russell Carltonâ€™s parents signed an artistâ€™s rights agreement in 2017 to support the restoration efforts. The Department of Cultural Affairs, Hollywood Hills West Neighborhood Council (HHWNC), Fine Art Conservation Laboratories, the former District 4 Office, Caltrans, and the Hollywood Bowl worked together to move forward with a partial restoration of the top two thirds of the mural as â€œPhase I,â€ while still in need of funding to restore the bottom third.
â€œThe restoration of this historical memorial public art mural was a wonderful project that blesses the community with positive energy, color and an educational benefit,â€ said Scott M. Haskins of Fine Art Conservation Laboratories. â€œWe were honored to be chosen to apply our skills and professional efforts for the restoration of this mural with such a dynamic social purpose and conscience.â€
This year, Yami Duarte of the Department of Cultural Affairs helped to spearhead the completion of the mural, bringing back the Fine Art Conservation Lab, led by Scott Haskins, to carry out the restoration. With continued support from Caltrans, the Hollywood Bowl, and Council District 4, Russell Carltonâ€™s mural was brought back to life in May of 2022.
â€œWe were delighted to keep artist Russell Carlton’s vibrant mural from being painted over and lost to LA’s LGBTQ history. Conservator Scott Haskins has restored the mural so that it looks great after decades of being largely invisible,â€ said Orrin Feldman and Patty Dryden, former Vice President & former Board Member of Hollywood Hills West Neighborhood Council, respectively. â€œEven in the face of what was then a deadly HIV/AID diagnosis in the 1980s, Russell’s artwork still reminds us to remember that there is hope and beauty as we try to live through today’s COVID pandemic. It’s a lesson well-worth remembering.â€
The original plaque from the muralâ€™s original installation remains at the site. Its introduction reads:
Blue Moon Trilogy
Eve of Conception, Dawning of a New Age, A Glorious Revelation
A mural dedicated on April 30, 1988 to persons who have so courageously given us hope in living and finding the answers in overcoming this disease.
By artist Russell Carlton for the AIDS Project of Los Angeles
For more information on the conservation effort and the history of the Blue Moon Trilogy, visit Fine Art Conservation Labâ€™s website at bit.ly/odinmural (https://www.fineartconservationlab.com/murals/huge-hollywood-mural-monument-to-successful-aids-research-is-being-saved-and-restored/).