‘My murals are for the people’: Chula Vista duo drives community pride by painting

Hispanic Heritage Month

SAN DIEGO – From a depiction of late 1980s Tony Gwynn in City Heights to a swaggy bat flip by Fernando Tatis Jr. in Ocean Beach, their murals are a virtual who’s who of the San Diego Padres organization.

The works of art are a creative collaboration by Paul Jimenez and Signe Ditona of Ground Floor Murals.

“The times I enjoy my paintings the most is when there’s people in front of it or they’ll take a photo with their family or kids looking up at it,” Jimenez said.

But well before the couple was known by that name, they were Dos de la Arte, using the wall in the alley behind Jimenez’s father’s Chula Vista home in August 2020.

Now more than a year later, their life could not be more different.

“When the pandemic happened, we both got laid off within the same week,” Jimenez said, “and, at first, we didn’t know what we were going to do. Super worried and stressed out and then we started ritualistically drawing on our iPads.”

Caving to curiosity one day, Jimenez ordered some spray paint from the internet, Ditona said.

“He messed around with it and fell in love and that’s when I knew something was going to come of this,” she said.

That’s where their journey began, a modern-day SoCal version of Frida Khalo and Diego Rivera. They started small, painting animals anywhere they could — even in Jimenez’s father’s living room.

“I really want to go to Mexico and learn about my heritage and learn about the art over there,” Jimenez said. “(and) see if I can contribute in any way. I really look up to Diego Rivera and the reason he painted murals was for the people. You don’t have to pay to see this, you can just drive by and it’s always there and that’s what I believe in as well.

“My murals are for the people and seeing them appreciate it is my favorite thing.”

That passion and skill comes as no surprise to the elder Jimenez.

“I went to an art show that he was in when he was in third grade and everybody had to draw the same picture,” Paul Jimenez Sr. said. “It was a horse and his was the only that looked like an actual horse.”

Those animals quickly turned into an alley zoo. They changed their name and soon everything changed. These days, the duo has made Southern California their canvas, painting Laker legends Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol, boxers Mike Tyson and Muhammad Ali, San Diego Chargers icon Junior Seau and other Padres, including Joe Musgrove, Manny Machado and Yu Darvish.

“I felt it in my heart to do Tony Gwynn, and I think it was for several reasons and I expected people to see it but I didn’t expect that many people to see it,’ Jimenez said.

See a complete map of their public murals below.

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