Academe

Pugh mural on new Arts and Humanities building

John Pugh

1981/2015

acrylic on vinyl

John Pugh obtained his first major mural commission from California State University, Chico. Academe was originally completed in 1981 for the east side of Taylor Hall on the Chico State campus. A large-scale mural depicting a crumbling wall exposing Greek Doric columns, the mural, like most of Pugh’s subsequent work, is done in the trompe l’oeil—meaning “fool the eye”—style. The mural gives the illusion of the building’s facade breaking open to reveal its interior.

“My intention was not only to use the Doric column, a symbol that is easily recognized in our culture, to represent the classic architecture of the Greeks, but to tap into the concept of the Greek academe as the essence of our western educational system.”

With the demolition of Taylor Hall necessary to erect the new Arts & Humanities Building, Pugh agreed to repaint the mural for the new building. While the old mural still existed, the artist traced it and collected color samples. He took those back to his studio, where he and a team of artists reconstructed the piece. Once finished, the mural was broken down into five-foot panels and reinstalled on the new Arts & Humanities Building.

Academe has become one of Chico’s legendary landmarks.

For more information about the artist, visit his website at http://artofjohnpugh.com.