Victoria Gardens Unveils Original ”Native” Art for Monet Avenue
A 32-foot tall California fan palm tree now welcomes visitors to Victoria Gardens in Rancho Cucamonga at its Monet Avenue gateway.
So what’s so unusual about a palm tree in Southern California? After all, California fan palms are native to California and one of the region’s most recognizable symbols.
Rancho Cucamonga officials were searching for “something recognizable” and “reflective of the community” to mark the southern entrance to the shopping mall. They found it with an art piece by renowned Indianapolis artist Brian McCutcheon installed earlier this month.
The California fan palm is cast in bronze, covered with colorful and tasteful graffiti and mounted upside-down.
Photo Credit: @VictoriaGardens, Instagram
“This vision for the sculpture is to provide our guests with one-of-a-kind artwork that contributes to ongoing engagement at the center,” says Melina Ferraez, director of marketing for Victoria Gardens, which commissioned the piece.
“The final sculpture certainly demonstrates the heart of both the Inland Empire and Victoria Gardens in art form,” Ferraez says. “We are so proud to be able to share this important new work of art with the community.”
The sculpture known as “Native” traveled more than 2,000 miles by truck from Indiana before being hoisted by a crane into its new home.
McCutcheon is known for producing one-of-a-kind, monumental art pieces. In preparation for the creation of this art piece for Victoria Gardens, he spent time in the Inland Empire learning about the area, immersing himself in the culture and history of the surrounding communities.
“The Inland Empire was a booming suburban area in the 1950s, and Route 66 goes right through it. Today, it’s such a diverse and compelling area and this piece needed to mirror that,” says McCutcheon.
McCutcheon has been the recipient of a number of artist grants, awards and residencies. Over the past decade, his work has been featured in a wide range of exhibitions on a national and international scale. Some of his previous creations are located at the Indianapolis Museum of Art and at the Indianapolis public library in Monument Circle.
“Brian and I have worked together on multiple occasions over the years,” says Dave Hunt, consultant and project manager of the Victoria Gardens Art Program on behalf of Forest City. “In addition to being a master fabricator, Brian has the unique ability to produce very site-specific work. He creates art that responds to its location and we knew that his creation would reflect the Inland Empire in a very genuine way.”
McCutcheon’s observance of the street art in surrounding communities inspired him to incorporate a graffiti element into the piece, connecting with artist Jason Williams (aka REVOK), who painted the sculpture.
“Many people are surprised when they come across a bronze sculpture that has been painted because it’s a semi-precious metal. But the fact is, the Greeks painted their bronzes centuries ago,” says McCutcheon. “It’s an ancient practice that gives quite a bit of history to this new piece.”
Created and completed in Indiana, the entire execution of this sculpture took exactly seven months. The piece was created and completed in Indiana, and was shipped to California by truck when it was ready for installation. The City of Rancho Cucamonga initially asked for this piece to be “something recognizable” and “reflective of the community.”