The Project

The Japantown Mural Project is a celebration of the vibrancy of San Jose's historic Japantown neighborhood through artworks by 50 local artists. The environment is a barren, undeveloped plot of land that once served as the City of San Jose's Maintenance Yard. Chain-link fencing is now covered with more than 60 large mesh panels of color. It stretches a quarter of a city block along 6th and Jackson Streets in the heart of Japantown.

The subject matter is highly interpretive, including personal and commissioned works, and encompasses a wide variety of mediums and aesthetics. It also includes references to the site's former life; 100 years ago, it was one of San Jose's very first Chinatown settlements known as 'Heinlenville.' A majority of the artists maintain art studios in Japantown, have displayed their artwork in neighborhood galleries, or consider this wonderful place their home.

The Japantown Mural Project is truly representative of its own unique community and will be enjoyed and appreciated for years to come.



by Christopher Gonzales

Through an array of varying platforms, artist Christopher Gonzales seeks to combine classic illustration with a tasteful and progressive urban focus to create synergy through his multi-layered, multi-faceted works.

Inspired by the Bay Area’s rich climate of sub-cultures and diverse ethnicities, Christopher’s art epitomizes and reflects the overlapping influences that define second-generation Americans.

His experiences as an artist are as diverse as those influences: Christopher combines traditional training through his degree in fine art from the Academy of Art University, with his work as a painter, illustrator, graphic artist, and tattoo artist.

Though resistant to categorization, his artwork ventures into figurative, neo-still life, realism, and tattoo imagery. Christopher’s approach calls into question modern art’s preoccupation with confining interpretation, perspective, and relativity. He strives to redefine what is considered fine art, by challenging not only the viewer’s translation of his work, but their greater perception of identity and culture.

“My art partially is documenting what’s going on in my life at the time,” Christopher said. “Like my friends and I being into old classic cars; as Asians and Pacific Islanders, it’s not a common thing. I try to capture those moments in time, that go against what people are typically viewed as, and exhibit our evolution as immigrants.”

Christopher also uses his subjects and methods to challenge his viewers’ own conceptions. “Everyone’s first thought is, ‘What does this mean to you as the artist?’” he said. “My response is, ‘What does it mean to them?’”

“When someone sees a hammer and arm, do they see a communist theme? Or a working class man who was sold the American dream?”

Christopher has long used art as an avenue for self-exploration and discovery. He said his greatest wish is that viewers can similarly use his artwork as a path to learn about themselves, and about the people and world that surround them.

With his mature sense and evolving style, Christopher continues to carve out his place in the Bay Area art community.

Sponsored By

Japantown Community Congress of San Jose · Office of the Consulate General of Japan · Wesley United Methodist Church
Jack's Bar & Lounge · Dr. Stephani Nguyen of Japantown Dental · Kay's Shiseido · Dr. Jerrold Hiura & Lucia Cha

Contemporary Asian Theater Scene · Japantown Neighborhood Association · Union Bank of California · Chris & Minako Tsuji

Japanese American Museum of San Jose · Yu Ai Kai Senior Center · Banana Crepe · Halcrow Partners · Pan Pacific Bank · Alex Alsorady & Darcie Kiyan
Sophie Horiuchi Forrester · Helen Hayashi · Roy & PJ Hirabayashi · Aggie Idemoto · Reiko Iwanaga · Jeanne Katsuro · Tamon Norimoto · Kristin Okimoto
Jeffrey Oldham · John Ristow · Rev. Gerald & Kathy Sakamoto · Victoria Taketa · Leah Toeniskoetter · Joe Yasutake

With Thanks

Japantown Community Congress of San Jose · The City of San Jose Arts Commission · Dr. Jerrold Hiura · The Rast Family
Corinne Okada Takara · Ruth Tunstall-Grant · Cherri Lakey · DJ Ashford
Empire Seven Studios · The Arsenal · Sign-a-Rama of Downtown San Jose

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