Artist and writer Greg Cook just came out with a well-written article looking at “The Soul’s Journey As A Series Of Weird Old Cars”, titled “New Mural In Somerville Honors Beloved Auto Mechanic” October 14.
“The image is split up across the risers, so that each set of five stairs combines to form portraits of, from bottom to top, a blue Volkswagen Beetle, mustard yellow Vanagon, and red Saab 96. The painting is a tribute to Al Riskalla, who died three years back, and faces Marshall Street where he ran ABJ Auto Repair for years. The mural’s current title: “The Soul’s Journey as a Series of Weird Old Automobiles.”
“We kind of start out as the Beetle, which is small and ordinary, but containing the seeds of greatness,” the Somerville artist says. “Then you go through a middle period, which is [ABJ mechanic] Wendell’s old Vanagon, when you’re embroiled in life and all its confusions. Then with luck you come out the other end only by realizing you’ve been a magnificent being the entire time.”