2021 Utility Box Art Finalists

The artwork of Martial Yapo, Jesse White, and Richardo Cerezo were approved on January 25, 2021 as the finalists of 2021 Utility Box Public Art Pilot Program.

Martial Yapo

"OUR LIVES MATTER"  located at San Pablo Avenue/Conlon Avenue across from Home Depot and Red Onion

Artist Description of Artwork: The kid is standing proud and assertive, next to the black American flag and tells the world that "Our lives matter." It is to send a positive message for the young minority that they are important. American kids are the future of this country and whatever race and background, they should be considered as essential for the future of the nation.

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Martial Yapo portrait

Martial Yapo is a French Artist/Designer with a Masters in Architecture of Paris. Focused on painting since a young age, he tells stories through his artwork, about his vision of the world, and digs into his personal spirituality, his Africans roots and traditions. His technique is a mix of street art, tribal ethnic expression, graffiti and African contemporary art. Martial's creations are a fine line between who Martial is and what he represents: a French-born African descent urban artist with a 360 degree vision of the world. The colorful shapes, the mixed media, acrylic, spray paint, and oil make his style unique by the complex addition of layers. Visit Martial's Instagram to learn more about his work.

Jesse White

"We Are Diverse, We Are Kind, We Are Resilient, We Are Fierce" located at San Pablo Avenue/Ohlone Greenway (next to Baxter Creek Gateway Park Sign)

Artist Description of Artwork:  Inspired from wild plant and tree life, native to El Cerrito and the surrounding Bay Area, to reflect the diversity, kindness, resiliency, and fierceness of the El Cerrito community. Designed for children, as each of the four box sides shows a different child's face. Each face, which together represent the diverse demographics of El Cerrito, is surrounded by a different tree or plant: redwood, coastal fern, yarrow, and California poppy. Beautifully hand lettered words add a powerful message to each design: "We are diverse like a redwood forest; We are kind like the coastal fern; We are resilient like the yarrow plant; We are fierce like the California poppy." By pairing local plants and trees with affirmations of identity, a public work of art was created that both celebrates the identities of the children in El Cerrito and also prompts their curiosity and discovery of the natural world.

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Photo of Jesse White

Jesse White is an illustrator and muralist creating work that explores the power of children and nature, a focus that stems from her background in education and life-long fascination with the natural world. A proud Tar Heel, she graduated summa cum laude from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a BFA in Studio Art. She earned her master’s degree in Art Education from the Virginia Commonwealth University. When she’s not drawing, Jesse loves to cook and eat delicious vegan food, get lost in produce at the farmer’s market, and go on city walks with her dog, River. Visit Jesse's Instagram to learn see more of her illustrations.

Ricardo Cerezo

"FACING HERE NOW" located at Knott Avenue/San Pablo Avenue next to Honda Dealership

 Artist Description of Artwork: Life is a lesson, you learn it when going through. The diverse group in this mural portraits younger generations looking up to a promising but challenging future, while older ones are looking toward their past actions and memories. Using connected dots and lines, it references the connection we all have in our community, wanting to be emotionally embraced, feeling heard, mentally understood and supported by another human being. The purpose of this mural is to deepen the moment we are living, inspire change, build trust. What do you want your life to be about?

photo of Ricardo Cerezo

Ricardo 'Rix' Cerezo is a visual designer and web developer based in Glendale, California, but commutes between Panama and Mexico. Beside sketching while traveling, which brings him original and varied source inspiration, he is a very active utility box mural artist with several pieces around Los Angeles County. Each of his box tells a story about the community or his personal life experience, sometimes both. His design process starts with sketching a concept, applying a style, and dressing it up with colors, letting passersby find the meaning or at least brighten up their day. He has a B.S. degree in Computer Science, a certificate in Graphic Design and Computer Graphics from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and studied fine arts at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena. Additionally, he has received graphic design awards and has worked as web designer in institutions like the Panama Canal Authority. Visit Ricardo's website and Instagram to learn more about his work.