Throwback Thursday – An Exclusive Interview with Jonas Never, Outsiders Mural Artist
Here is the first Throwback Thursday post on the site!
Last year I was lucky enough to visit Los Angeles in September and have a great time exploring with friends and family.
A month before I went, I saw a painted mural in progress, through pictures tweeted to C Thomas Howell.
As soon as I laid eyes on the mural, that was IT, I was on a mission to see this mural for myself and recruited my friends to find out where it was!
I found the artist, Jonas Never on Instagram and kept a close eye on his artistic proceedings as he flew to Detroit to complete a few other pieces in between starting and finishing up the Outsiders mural in Sherman Oaks, a Californian suburb.
A week before I landed in Los Angeles, Jonas posted a picture of the finished mural and let me tell you, it’s even more amazing in person! It’s tucked away on a side road, on the side of a very cool barbershop and it is truly magnificent. Well worth the visit for every Outsiders fan and a small pilgrimage I’m glad I took!
Here are a few images of the whole mural depicting Darrell fighting Paul in the rumble, Dally, Johnny, Cherry and Ponyboy himself above a scripted STAY GOLD bookended with a scene from the drive in move theatre, the Admiral Twin!
Jonas kindly answered a few of my questions below.
How did you get started as an artist?
I got started as an artist the same way most kids from Venice & Santa Monica started… as a tagger. I wasn’t very good at first but my lack of skill forced me to try different things (like painting characters, painting really big, and climbing things to paint higher, more visible spots). All three of those things ended up helping me become a better muralist.
Is The Outsiders one of your favourite movies, do you have a natural affinity for pop culture/cult classics, I notice it fuels a lot of your work?
The Outsiders is definitely one of my favorite movies. I love watching all the 80s cult classics but the Outsiders is near the top of the list.
Did you plan to do an Outsiders one or did the barbershop owner ask for it specifically?
Every time a Floyd’s 99 Barbershop opens, we start discussing ideas for the particular shop. We always try to make it area-specific, but in the case of Sherman Oaks, we were kind of stumped. Fast Times at Ridgemont High was the only movie I could think of that was filmed there but the concepts of Spicoli’s weed, Phoebe Cates’ nudity, and Judge Reinhold’s masturbation didn’t really seem to fit on a family establishment.
Then I remembered that Tommy Howell (Ponyboy) was from this part of the valley and from there I just ran with the Outsiders theme. I would’ve rather done it in Oklahoma but at this point, I don’t have any connections out there and I was thrilled to be able to paint it anywhere.
How did you choose which characters to put up?
I knew Ponyboy had to be the focal point of the mural, and from there I chose the characters that contributed most to the “nothing gold can stay” side of the film. Johnny and Dally had huge impacts on his life and died young… and Cherry, well, Cherry kind of epitomized every girl that got away. Every girl I’ve ever met like Cherry (and ironically one named Cherry) has made an impact on my life before they drift out of it. By painting her, I kinda exorcised my own demons.
Are you a Coppola fan, I notice you have a Dracula chest piece?
I’m a huge Coppola fan. I really want to do a Dracula mural too someday. Problem with that is the Bela Lugosi one is visually a little better to paint. I’ve already done a little homage to American Graffiti at the Burbank Floyd’s but I definitely wanna revisit that concept some day. Godfather would be fun too. I thought about doing Dennis Hopper from Apocalypse Now on that wall in Venice before settling on Easy Rider
How long did it take to complete? I think you had a break where you went to Detroit?
It took me about a month of work to get The Outsiders wall done… not including my two weeks in Detroit (I got three smaller walls done while I was out there)
Have you had feedback from any of the actors? I know C Thomas Howell tweeted about it.
I haven’t gotten any feedback from the actors personally… I’m not on twitter. I’d love to get a photo with him in front of the wall.
Would you ever consider doing a Rumble Fish one in Tulsa?
If there’s a wall in Tulsa to do a Rumble Fish one on, I’d do it in a heartbeat.
Thank you Jonas for answering these in the middle of a really hectic time period!
Ironically, C Thomas Howell has had a photoshoot by Corey Zimmerman, in front of the iconic mural as evidenced by his twitter and facebook today.
Fingers crossed we get to see some of these photographs soon!
The Outsiders Mural is located at Floyds 99 Barbershop, 13601 Ventura Boulevard, Sherman Oaks, CA 91423, USA.
Jonas can be found on instagram as 1959NEVER. See his gallery here.
Be sure to keep an eye on his work as he expands throughout California, with even more beautiful murals in Venice Beach, (see his TOUCH OF EVIL one below!) as well as other cities in America.
Fingers crossed for one of Jonas’s murals to appear in Tulsa one day!
What a great read and thank you for the pictures. Jonas Never did a great job and this OUTSIDERS fan appreciates it.
I have done a bit of art myself (a mural in my backyard), and if I were to actually work hard at it, I might become a mediocre amateur. I have been thinking for years now of doing a mural in the entry of my own home. But I don’t get started–too big a project, too much ignorance. I would love the opportunity if Jonas would like a volunteer worker to do some wall scrubbing, prep work under supervision, etc. to just spend a few days working for him, learning whatever I might. Do you know how I might contact him, or could you pass this along to him please? I can be reached at 310-874-2997, or email email@example.com
[…] There’s also a “Point Break” themed mural at the Hermosa Beach location, an “Outsiders” mural at the Sherman Oaks location, and Never has created many other murals around the Venice area, […]
Hi,I was just wondering what the address where they did the mural is?