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Wyland Whaling Wall - Long Beach California

art - Wyland


Wyland Whaling Wall is located at the Long Beach Arena in the Long Beach Convention Center Complex. The building is a cylindrical shaped structure coveredd  by a stunning 116,000 square foot mural the Guinness Book of World Records listed as the world’s largest mural after it was painted in 1992.


Whaling Wall XXXIII: Planet Ocean or "Planet Ocean" pictured above, was a gift to the City of Long Beach from marine artist, Wyland.  Completed on May 3, 1992, the ten story depiction of ocean life required 7,000 gallons of paint and features marine life indigenous to Southern California.  Everything in the mural portrays the actual size of its subjects which include a pod of gray whales, orca whales, blue whales, pilot whales, pacific bottlenose dolphins, California sea lions, sharks, garibaldi and a variety of other fish. 


Standing 10 stories tall and 1,224 feet in diameter, the 33rd in a series of over 80 murals took Wyland and 200 volunteers six weeks to paint. Aiming for 100 walls by 2011, this Jacques Costeau of public walls and buildings has traveled the world, painting ocean-themed murals on buildings and walls around the globe. California is one of his favorite locations to paint and many cities welcome his art. One of his several gallery studios is located along the California coast 45 miles south of Long Beach in Laguna Beach. Another gallery is is in Hawaii, where his offer to paint a mural was turned down (in Maui).


Sharing his passion for the life that exists in the waters that cover 75% of the globe, Wyland  has made a healthy living on his commercial art images of such, appearing in comic books, in jigsaw puzzles, on glass, posters, T-shirts and even California license plates,  He never requests compensation for his signature Whaling Walls and offers this explanation why:  "I think we have a real chance here with the kids. It seems to me that kids know more and are more in tune with the environment than I ever was." Children are especially encouraged to participate in Wyland's Whaling Wall paint projects and it is reported that he always takes time to talk with them. 


Wyland described his Long Beach project as "a symbol of our environmental times."   He said that in order to save the whales that he so fondly titles his public wall series after, humans must first save "Planet Ocean."


Robert Wyland best known simply as "Wyland", has managed to do what few artists have.  He has turned a passion into a viable commercial artistic endeavor that has garnered billions of dollars of permanent, public advertising space for an ecological cause.


Something so simple as paintings on buildings-who could imagine that it would bring an ecologist commercial and financial success unlike others who have created similar art. 


Wyland was born in Detroit in 1956, living a modest lifestyle with a mother supporting the family on her income in the Chrysler factory. When Wyland visited California, he saw or felt something as he gazed out to the Pacific waters, that would forever change him.  Since 1971, he has completed more than 84 whaling wall murals on buildings throughout the world.  Japan, Canada, Australia, Mexico, France, New Zealand and United States all have experienced a "whaling wall" event in which Wyland single-handedly paints an oceanic scene which always includes whales as the focal point. The average mural takes more than 1,000 gallons of paint.


With a goal of painting 100 whaling walls, Wyland is nearing 90.  In 2000, he broke loose from tradition and categorized two new paintings as a single whaling wall, even though they were painted on sailing vessels which competed in the America's Cup in Australia. Several of his murals have been destroyed in San Diego as the buildings they were on were torn down for new construction, and Wyland is returning to at least one of his projects to freshen fading paint.  While most proposals for a whaling wall are accepted as donations from a nonprofit society created by Wyland, Maui has actually refused one of his designs. 


Wyland is represented in galleries throughout the world but has studios in California and Hawaii. Visit his California studio at 509 S. Coast Hwy, Laguna Beach, CA   Phone 949-376-8000  He has a beautiful web site at www.wyland.com    (Whaling Wall XXXIII: Planet Ocean was the world's largest mural for three years until Colorado’s Levee Project mural overtook it in 1995 at almost 180,000 square feet). 


The annual migration of whales can best be seen along the California Coast from January through March. Whale watching boat trips depart cities such as  San Diego, Dana Point, Long Beach, San Pedro, Redondo Beach, Oxnard / Ventura, Morro Bay, Monterey and San Francisco during these months.  Spectacular viewing of the whale migrations is possible any place along the coast where there are vistas overlooking the ocean. One of the best opportunities to see whales close up is at SeaWorld San Diego. 


Whaling wall in Redondo Beach, California 

Whaling wall at Pier 39 in San Francisco

Whaling Wall XXXIII is located next to  Hyatt Regency Long Beach