by Ada Ruiz
Welcome to Clougherty Packing Co., home of the famous Dodger Dogs and of the poorly painted hog wild mural. If you haven’t already heard about or seen this place, I highly recommend a trip there at least once in your lifetime. This place is the Farmer John Brand Clougherty Meat Packing Company in Vernon, CA, which is a very small, smelly, industrialized city. As you’re passing through the city via South Soto St., you come across a vibrant mural depicting a quaint farm landscape with pigs roaming around freely and little kids chasing after them. You can also see some farm workers sleeping in hammocks, dogs chasing after quails, and a little girl selling lemonade with her partner who’s a pig.
Since I had been driving by it my whole life, I decided to stop and experience it from up close. When I finally did, I immediately wanted to regret my decision, but was too busy trying to catch my breath from laughing so hard. Just look at the faces!
A brief history of this mural:
In 1957, Barney Clougherty, who was the owner of Farmer John’s company, commissioned the painter known as Les (short for Leslie) Grimes. Les was known to be a talented painter of scenic backgrounds for Hollywood movie sets and spent the next eleven years working on the mural. What is unfortunate is that while working on painting the crystal blue sky of his landscape, Grimes fell from a fifty- foot scaffolding and died instantly, leaving half of the building unfinished. After his death, Clougherty hired another muralist named Arno Jordan to finish the mural.
What’s interesting to me, once I look past the horribly depicted animal anatomy, is the differences in styles.
These are the weird looking faced ones:
And these are ones that look muscular, almost human like and darker:
Nonetheless, it was a fun and amusing experience getting to see these murals up close after driving by it my whole life. If you can get passed the odors of what will remind you either of hot dogs cooking on the grill or puke, I suggest you come see this place for yourself.
3049 E Vernon Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90058