Santa Barbara can thank artist Gary Bradley for the incredible new mural on the back wall of Eos Lounge, which faces toward the east on Haley Street, less than two blocks from State.
Atop a pink-and-blue sunburst pattern is a massive figure clad in a green cloak. He is made of metal, and his riveted face is fitted with a stygian snarl. He looks down upon you as you walk (or drive) past with an imposing glare in his eyes, pointing, and seemingly both demanding and commanding your attention.
While some might quickly recognize this character as Doctor Doom, arch-nemesis of Marvel’s Fantastic Four. But the painted words “You’ve been trippin’ around uptown with some fancy clown!” — from the song “Fancy Clown” by Madvillain — and the onomatopoeic “RIP DOOM” identify this figure as the iconic, masked hip-hop artist MF DOOM, who died on October 31, 2020, even though the world didn’t learn of his passing until December 31.
MF DOOM’s sampling style, which repurposed short musical clips from various genres into new songs, inspired Bradley’s own explorations in music. Today, Bradley describes his taste in music as “soul to punk to funk,” and he thanks Doom for introducing him to that varied menu.
Bradley’s new mural shares a corner with another piece of very important art: the George Floyd memorial that rose in the wake of the protests during the summer of 2020. This corner of Eos is now a testament to the impact of the lives and legacies of two Black men.
Both Bradley’s mural and the George Floyd mural received pushback from the city, but he hopes that this will contribute to a building conversation about the role of public art in Santa Barbara. He suggests that this could start with something as small as trash cans or utility boxes, similar to those in Isla Vista, but dreams of a day where “business owners would be able to do what they want.”
“I want people who want their voices to be heard in the city,” said Bradley. “I want to put more spotlight on a new class of Santa Barbara artists.” Follow @babymoet on Instagram.