Where you see salad, Allison Tinati sees art.

Artist Tinati, who paints under the name “Hueman,” was tapped to cover the 2,700-square-foot corrugated iron canvas at Napa’s Culinary Institute of America. She was inspired by purple lettuce in the nearby gardens.

“The culinary institute is very much celebrating food as an art form and so I wanted to do an abstracted version of food as art,” Tinati said.

Her tools of choice: spray paint and a little bit of latex paint. Tinati planned to use about 100 cans as of Friday morning, hours before she planned to finish the piece.

She teetered nearly 30 feet high in a crane at times during the six days it took her to complete the mural.

The Oakland native has painted murals for more than a decade and started her career in Los Angeles, where she went to college. Tinati’s knack for murals has taken her across the country, from Miami to Hawaii — and even to Mexico.

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The blank corrugated iron wall was “begging to have something on it,” said Anne Girvin, a marketing executive at the institute. “We saw some of her work and we were just blown away.”

The mural was commissioned with the help of Culinary Institute of America trustee Bob Muh and his wife Berit, and the Rail Arts District.

The Rail Arts District is a nonprofit that aims to create art along a two-mile stretch in Napa from Oxbow to Redwood road, said Shelly Willis, head of the organization. The route runs along the Napa Valley Wine Train tracks and the Napa Valley Vine Trail.

This marks the area’s ninth mural. They have been curated by Thinkspace, which is based in L.A.

The nonprofit has also wrapped art around 12 utility boxes in Napa, Willis said. It wants to add other types of art such as sculptures and earthwork, which uses land as the art materials.

This story has been updated since first posting to more fully describe the mural's funding. 

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Courtney can be reached at 707-256-2221. You can send her an anonymous tip, and follow her reporting on Twitter and Facebook.


Public Safety Reporter

Courtney Teague is the Napa Valley Register public safety reporter. She can be reached at 707-256-2221. You can follow her reporting on Twitter and Facebook, or send her anonymous tip at: tinyurl.com/anonymous-tipbox-courtney.