Hermosa celebrates its punk roots with a new mural

Take me to church.

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  • Written & Photographed by
    Kat Monk

Milo Aukerman, Greg Ginn, Bill Stevenson, Keith Morris, Dez Cadena, Jim Lindberg, Fletcher Dragge, Byron McMackin, Jason Thirsk … musicians synonymous with the underground Hermosa Beach punk rock scene that began in the 1970s. Punk rock enthusiasts have these names engraved in their consciousness, but the majority of the population tends to recognize their band names a little more: the Descendents, Black Flag, Circle Jerks and Pennywise.

Many of these influential musicians will be showcased in the most recent mural in Downtown Hermosa Beach. Hermosa is cutting-edge in terms of honoring and developing artistic accents within its city limits, which so far include utility boxes and murals.

The artist who would attempt this mural would need to have a deep understanding of the historical significance of each band as well as the entire scene around the bands. Accordingly, a careful process to pick the perfect artist took almost a month.

Michael Collins, owner of ShockBoxx Gallery in the Hermosa Beach arts district, found out about the project and immediately thought of Daniel Inez. “Given Daniel’s roots—but more importantly his commitment to the punk, surf and skate culture of Hermosa Beach—I think he is an excellent choice,” says Michael.

Daniel, a 1991 Redondo Union High School graduate, continued on to Otis College of the Arts after discovering while he was in the Navy that he wanted to pursue graphic design. In addition to what he learned at Otis, he got a crash education in design when he started working for The Metro. Today he focuses his attention on M1SK, his own company that concentrates on design and apparel.

Daniel is no stranger to punk rock. He’s fronted a few punk bands himself and has lived and breathed the South Bay punk rock scene for decades. Daniel formed the Rescendants, a Descendants cover band, and later formed a cover band called Beach Blood. Beach Blood was created just so they could play at the infamous 4th of July Ironman where they covered music by all the South Bay punk bands.

“I knew the other guys were very talented, but if I didn’t try I would always regret it,” he says. So for the next two weeks, Daniel stopped everything and only focused on a design concept for the mural. “I conceived and composed the idea, and then my friend Josh Kimbrell, a tattoo artist, penned it for me,” he explains. “It took about two weeks until we were stoked on it.”

A couple weeks later, Daniel received the call from George Schmeltzer of the mural board that he got the job. “We thought the way Daniel conceived of this project really put it in a time and place that could only be Hermosa Beach,” says George.

“I don’t think people realize how much the town of Hermosa Beach is revered in the international music community.”

The main component of Daniel’s concept is the infamous church located at Manhattan Avenue just north of Pier Avenue. The church was a haven for the emerging underground punk rock scene.

The second component portrays the iconic figures. “Greg Ginn started Black Flag and SST records, so I made him the biggest thing on there.” Mike Smith is the most known skateboarder to come out of the South Bay, and it’s because of him that the term “Smith grind” was coined. The van represents the Descendants with lead singer, Milo, driving the van. Initials for many influential people in the scene are also throughout the mural.

Daniel then needed to find someone to paint his concept as the full-scale mural. “I never even considered that he is a designer rather than a painter, because I just see Daniel as a guy with a great eye for detail,” shares Michael. “He captures the essence of whatever he is chasing.”

Daniel interviewed a few painters until he found Vivache. He took Daniel’s rendering and executed it exactly as it was envisioned. According to Pennywise lead singer Jim Lindberg, who is included in the mural, “Daniel has created his own unique, easily recognizable aesthetic, and it matches perfectly with the attitude of punk rock and the South Bay. So he was the perfect choice for it.”

“I don’t think people realize how much the town of Hermosa Beach is revered in the international music community,” says Jim. “I talked to a girl after a show in Croatia who said she had saved all of her money for a plane ticket to come to Hermosa Beach and stayed in the hostel—just to be in the same town as her favorite bands. Our town is absolutely a mecca for hardcore punk.”