If you’ve driven down Ashby Avenue and come to a stop at the lights on the intersection of Martin Luther King, you won’t fail to have noticed the work of R. Black, staff member and resident artist at Shotgun Players, the theater group which calls Ashby Stage home.

Black is the creative force behind all the marketing material, programs and literature produced by Shotgun. Most notably, perhaps, it is Black who paints the entire wall of the theater every time it puts on a new production — adapting a design he has devised to promote the play to fit the large expanse of the building’s façade.

A strong graphic style and sparing use of bold color informs all of Black’s work and has created a compelling visual identity for the Shogun Players. His images are also seen as enhancing a busy neighborhood traffic spot and are well received in the community.

Berkeleyside wanted to meet the man behind the art, and learn about the creative process that goes into making these eye-catching murals, so we took along our video camera to observe Black working on his latest piece.

Shotgun Players’ current production, “Care of Trees”, has been extended through June 26. For information, visit the Shotgun Players website.

Tracey Taylor

Tracey Taylor is co-founder of Berkeleyside and co-founder and editorial director of Cityside, the nonprofit parent to Berkeleyside and The Oaklandside. Before launching Berkeleyside, Tracey wrote for...

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9 Comments

  1. Thanks for doing this story — I’ve long wondered about (and admired) this man’s work.  Well done!

  2. I look forward to each new artwork on this wall.  What a great idea to do a story about the artist.  Beautiful!

  3. Not only are Rich’s murals amazing, but the programs he does for Shotgun are truly works of art — and you get ’em free with your ticket. I am pleased to have the complete collection of R. Black programs, and I treasure them!

  4. Yay rich Black! I  look forward to seeing the shows if possible and always the great graphics on the building.

  5. Interesting designs that are nicely painted. Driving by, I enjoy them several times a week!