If you can’t “catch ’em all,” you can at least see them all in Huntington thanks to a local artist.
A new Pokemon-themed mural painted by Huntington artist Efren Andaluz has captivated locals and has been seen by thousands of Pokemon fans online.
Andaluz painted 151 of the little critters on the side of his Huntington studio, On Da Loose Design, at 231 Broadway Greenlawnto celebrate the popularity of the augmented reality game, Pokemon Go.
It took him 10 days and 125 spray cans to complete the mural, which includes all of the Pokemon featured in the original video game released in the mid-1990s.
“I’ve been waiting to paint the side of the building for a while,” Andaluz, 29, said. “And I’ve always been a big gamer, so when Pokemon Go was released, I thought it was the right time to do something like this.”
Andaluz recorded himself working on the wall, which he started July 21. He then posted a 5-minute, time-lapse video of the project to his Facebook page last week that quickly spread around the web and has more than 135,000 views and has been shared more than 3,000 times.
One Facebook user commented on the video with a photo of her son next to the mural, writing: “This is awesome! My son loved it so much!”
Another user wrote: “This is so close to my house and it really is amazing.”
In the video, Andaluz begins by sketching all 151 of his subjects with spray paint, using a lift to reach the top of the 25-foot-tall wall. He then dons a surgical mask and begins applying color to the Pokemon — beginning with a Pikachu he paints electric yellow. After completing the mural, Andaluz signs off by signing his name in white at the bottom of the wall.
The colorful painting has captured the attention of passers-by and even drawn tourists to the location from New York City, Andaluz said.
“I wanted to add some color and spice to the neighborhood,” he said. “I really did it for the kids and I’ve gotten a lot of messages from local parents who say that their kids really love it.”
In keeping with the family-friendly theme, Andaluz slipped a few safety messages into the mural. A small speech bubble next to a Charmander reads “Don’t Pokemon Go and Drive” and a nearby Electrode says “Don’t Do Drugs.”
Several local businesses, who helped sponsor the project, can also be seen in the painting.
Dave Bermejo, owner of neighboring Dave’s Goldmine Mexican Grill, said that he thinks the mural’s “been a good thing for the area” and has even attracted some business to his restaurant.
Saima Riaz, 35, who lives down the street from Andaluz’s studio, says she and her children enjoy the mural. “I like that it’s so colorful,” she said.
Andaluz said he’s sent a request to Niantic, the mobile game company that developed Pokemon Go, to make his art studio a Pokestop, a location where players can pick up much-needed items like Pokeballs, but hasn’t heard back yet.