Bride and Groom

Historical Background

Kent Twitchell, 1973-1976. 70'h x 70'w. 242 S. Broadway.
"Bride and Groom" has been a widely recognized landmark since it was completed in 1976. Executed on the north wall of 242 S. Broadway, the five story mural was commissioned for $5,000 by Carlos Ortiz, owner of the Monarch Bridal Shop when he was a tenant in the building. "Bride and Groom" depicts a Hispanic couple, modeled by Ortiz and a friend, dressed for their wedding in a type of gown and tuxedo that was available for sale or rent in the store.

Ortiz contacted Twitchell after he saw an earlier mural Twitchell executed of Steve McQueen. "Bride and Groom" was originally planned to be only two stories high. But after seeing Twitchell's sketches of the design, Ortiz requested that it be enlarged to cover the entire left side of the building.(1) It took three years for Twitchell to complete the mural. He spent a year, which he called his "apprenticeship," developing the technique he subsequently used to execute some of his best known murals. The mural was also delayed because of the time he spent completing the "Freeway Lady" along the Hollywood Freeway and "Trinity" for his M.F.A. at the Otis Art Institute. Twitchell also had to find another model for the bride after the original one moved to Hawaii.(2) Finally, after completing the faces of the bride and groom, Twitchell was not motivated to paint the clothes and the five stories of blue background. The mural was completed when Twitchell invited about 35 friends to paint the lower part.

Twitchell first prepared a cartoon of the work and then divided the cartoon with a grid. He then took slides of each section of the grid and projected them on to 3'x 3' sheets of paper hung on a wall. Twitchell next drew the lines on the paper that were projected by the slide. After assigning a number representing a color value to each area between the lines, he applied graphite on the back of the paper. Twitchell taped the paper to the wall that was to be painted, pushed the lines and color values on the sheets into the wall with a pressure-fed pen and finally completed the work by painting by numbers.(3)

Twitchell executed the mural in one basic color because he did not feel confident at the time in applying a full palette. He close blue because it created a striking contrast to the dark, somber colors elsewhere in downtown.(4)

In 1985, Paul Harter, the owner of Victor Clothing, defaced the mural by replacing the "Monarch Bridal Shop" that was faintly outlined on a band around the bride with a bright blue "Victor Clothing".

Footnotes:

1 Interview with Kent Twitchell by Michael Several, January 11, 1984.

2 "Postscript: Colorful Muralist Still Handing In There," by Jim Houston, Los Angeles Times, March 10, 1975.

3 Interview, op. cit.

4 Interview, op. cit.



The text has been provided courtesy of Michael Several, Los Angeles, January 1999.

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