Press Release Former Los Angeles Oil Tank Transformed into Massive Surfing Mural

TRC installs colorful, three-story tall work from famed artist John Van Hamersveld

Posted on May 10th, 2018

LOS ANGELES – El Segundo residents now have a striking new addition to their skyline – a giant mural of surf-inspired psychedelia thanks to iconic California artist John Van Hamersveld, city officials, the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power and TRC.

The mural – 32 feet high and 510 feet long – surrounds a hulking LADWP storage tank on Grand Avenue that’s no longer in use. TRC, a leader in engineering, environmental consulting and construction-management services, commissioned Van Hamersveld to wrap the tank with his colorful artwork at the behest of the city of El Segundo.

“This project came to life after an El Segundo resident asked me if something could be done to improve the appearance of the tank,” said Mayor Drew Boyles. “This is a shining example of a resident voicing a concern and the city council working with stakeholders to develop a truly beautiful outcome. We would like to thank everyone involved for partnering on this ambitious project.”

The mural was installed in 51 panels that encircle the top of the tank, which once held 7.3 million gallons of oil from the refinery next door.  

Van Hamersveld, a 1959 graduate of El Segundo High School, is a famous pop artist who has done numerous murals around California – though none as large as this. But he’s best known for the poster he created for the seminal 1966 surf film “The Endless Summer” and for his work in the rock music world – an iconic Jimi Hendrix concert poster and album cover designs for the Beatles’ “Magical Mystery Tour,” the Rolling Stones’ “Exile on Main St.” and the Grateful Dead’s “Skeletons From the Closet,” to name a few.

The Grand Avenue mural is a pastiche of Van Hamersveld’s earlier work. It features vibrant, Day-Glo waves and much of the classic iconography he’s created over the years, so it serves as something of a career retrospective for the 76–year-old artist.

“Yeah, that’s kind of the way I faced it,” he said. “The wave is the eternal world that goes through time and below that are these symbols that are my work over time, so putting that together is sort of an interesting collage.”

Van Hamersveld said he’s excited about the project’s gargantuan size – and the fact that thousands of air passengers flying out of Los Angeles International Airport will be able to see it while taking off each day.

“The most interesting part of it is at various altitudes in El Segundo you can see it on the horizon, and in silhouette it’s almost 250 feet wide,” he said. “So it’s really an amazing gallery to be able to put that out.”

The installment was funded by the LADWP.

“As with any LADWP initiative, it is important to us to be a good neighbor to those around our projects,” said Marty Adams, LADWP Chief Operating Officer. “We are pleased to have partnered with the City of El Segundo to enhance the community by featuring John Van Hamersveld’s artwork on our tank. For as long as we have a use for this tank here, this will be home for this remarkable piece of art.”

TRC oversaw the prep work on the tank and the installation of the mural, which was printed on a mesh-like fabric so the wind can pass through it.

“This project is a lot more colorful than what we usually work on – literally and figuratively,” said Mark Robbins, acting president of TRC’s Environmental Sector. “We’re excited to have played a part in delivering something bold and unique that thousands of people will be able to appreciate on a daily basis.”

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About the City of El Segundo
The city of El Segundo is a coastline community in the south bay region of Los Angeles County. Recognized as the aerospace capital of the world, it is renowned for maintaining a quaint, small town atmosphere as well as a thriving business environment that caters to some of the world’s most prestigious corporations. El Segundo is home to the Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Kings and the award-winning Los Angeles Times.

About Los Angeles Department of Water and Power
LADWP is the nation’s largest municipal utility, providing reliable, sustainable and cost-effective water and power to the City of Los Angeles.  Currently, LADWP has a 7,880 MW electric capacity and serves an average of 438 million gallons of water per day to the 4 million residents and businesses of L.A.   

About TRC
A pioneer in groundbreaking scientific and engineering developments since the 1960s, TRC is a global engineering, environmental consulting and construction management firm that provides integrated services to the energy, environmental, infrastructure and pipeline services markets. TRC serves a broad range of commercial, industrial and government clients, implementing complex projects from initial concept to delivery and operation. TRC delivers results that enable clients to achieve success in a complex and changing world.

For more information, visit TRC's website at and follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.

Doug Hanchett
Communications Manager