Acclaimed Tattoo Artist Completes Multicultural Serpent Mural in Discovery Meadow

A new mural painted by a local artist and longtime tattoo shop owner celebrates the unifying significance of dragons and serpents across cultures. San Jose Walls (SJ Walls) and Guadalupe River Park Conservancy (GRPC) unveiled the new mural along the Guadalupe River Park at Discovery Meadow, adjacent to the Childrens Discovery Museum in downtown San José. Entitled Serpentine Fire, the new installation is the twelfth mural artwork added to the Guadalupe River Art Walk, enhancing the Bay Areas longest public art corridor.

This years Artist-in-Residence is Taki “Ryudaibori” Kitamura, an acclaimed Japanese-American Tattoo artist, who in 2002 founded the State of Grace Tattoo Shop, currently located in Japantown. Kitamuras shop serves as a regional home for traditional Japanese tattooing, connecting resident artists trained in Japan and those from the Bay Area to deepen the art of tattooing through exchange, apprenticeship, and collaboration.

To celebrate this lunar year of the dragon and the multiculturalism of San José, Serpentine Fire represents dragon mythology around the world,” says Kitamura. With this mural, I am expressing the diversity of serpent divinity and sacred spaces – the dragon and serpent have been symbolic in cultures all over the world and in this, I see our common humanity.” The mural depicts various scenes where the public may interact with the artwork.

The new artwork and public engagement is supported by the City of San José to increase park visitation and usage in the Guadalupe River Park. The mural was curated in response to feedback from the Guadalupe Washington and Gardner neighborhoods just south of San José’s downtown core, favoring themes around community and diversity.

Art has the ability to welcome people to a space. Growing up in San José, I believed there was a missed opportunity for public art to highlight our rich diversity,” says Natasha Lamperti, GRPCs Project Manager. I am so excited to see how future visitors will react to the mural.”

The goal of the Guadalupe River Art Walk is to envision the Guadalupe River Park as a natural public art gallery and community gathering space” says Stacey Kellogg, San Jose Walls Director. It has been five years and over a dozen installations since we started and the changes to the trail and park are really rewarding to see.”

Support for the project was provided by Applied Materials Foundation and World Wide Walls. For more information and ways to support, please visit

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