Monday, May 22, 2023

American Graffiti Tribute Art 2018

 Thank you for all of your kind support and enjoyment of the Fine Art paintings I do for Cruisin' the Boulevard's annual salute to American Graffiti. I'm continuing to share my previous work, in celebration of the 50th year of the movie. This is the season when the town of Petaluma is boasting about its part in one of the top 100 films of all time, and this year our historical museum is featuring a wonderful collection of artifacts, memorabilia, video clips and even 7 years of my paintings. I'm so honored to be a part of this incredible event and legacy of cruisin' and all of the delicious nostalgia surrounding that precious time. Here's an explanation of the work from 2018 which had a poignant acknowledgement of a tragic and terrifying fire that changed our region of Northern California forever. First responders from all parts of California, the country near and far and even from other countries including Australia (!) poured into the area to help us. My goal was that this painting would satisfy the purest forms of American Graffiti fans, but also acknowledge heroic first responders near and far...

The event year that followed one of the worst firestorms in Sonoma County’s history, provided a very unexpected turn in how we celebrated American Graffiti. We wanted to acknowledge our first responders, but not create any more pain with images that were still impacting our friends neighbors well into 2018. On another inspired drive through town, Elise observed that Petaluma’s Fire Department, Station #1 still looks authentic to at least 1962, and certainly farther back than that. Its historical charm is undeniable, and even though it wasn’t featured in the movie American Graffiti, our artist dove into her imagination and through her painting, moved some city blocks around just enough to incorporate the familiar with major automobile stars from American Graffiti in a setting that could have easily been a part of the movie. Rainy streets provided more artistic content in the painted setting and our nod to first responders was cemented in event art. 2018’s “Honoring First Responders and Local Heroes” was a loving acknowledgement to brave folks on the front lines, with a reminder that we had all lived through tremendous change. That year we presented Station #1 with their very own canvas reproduction painting, created by Digital Grange of Petaluma, so that our heroes always remember our gratitude.

“Honoring our First Responders and Local Heroes,” by Elise A. Durenberger ©2018
Original, Acrylic on Canvas 24 x 30” $3,750.00

"Honoring First Responders and Local Heroes" ©2018 by Elise Durenberger

Following the fires, I went on a personal campaign to thank as many first responders as possible. I sent out these cards that I created, to nearly 1,000 agencies with heart felt, handwritten notes yet sadly, came short of the nearly 5,000 on the list that had been compiled by lovely folks on a local Facebook group that was providing resources to help care for victims, first responders and people who wanted to help. The goodness that emerges out of tragedy is something to be grateful for and we had an abundance, thankfully.

Presenting Petaluma Firehouse #1 with a gifted copy of the 2018 art

For information on how to purchase the Cruisin' the Boulevard art, please contact,

Thank you! 

 - Elise

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