Artist Damin (Zaoone) Lujan workshopping ideas with the Graphic Design students.

In January 2023, a mural was installed outside of the Cross Cultural Center in Argyros Forum created by Los Angeles based artist, Damin (Zaoone) Lujan, in collaboration with students from Professors Rachelle Chuang and Bernie Dickson’s experimental Graphic Design course. The mural, Colors of Home, spans across an entire wall, incorporating cultures and symbols representing global diversity.

“The hope for this class was that the students sharpened their soft skills and rediscovered their excitement and passion for graphic design,” said Dickson. “Rachelle and I modelled most of the core techniques we were expecting from the students and we hoped it would translate.”

Damin (Zaoone) Lujan working on the mural.

Rather than attempting to represent all existing cultures individually, the final design of the mural aims to capture the essence of global diversity through universal colors, shapes, patterns, and simplified imagery.

“The overarching concept of the mural relies on the collective colors of multiple cultures coming together to form one cohesive design,” said Jillian Warren (‘24, Graphic Design) a student in the course who worked on the project.

Graphic Design student creating a mood board.

The creation of the mural took place over six stages: research/proposals, artist communication, prototype building, integrating the leading artist’s style, mural execution, and social media/marketing.

Students were broken into three groups; group one was tasked with finding a local muralist to lead and execute the project; group two worked with the artist creating mood boards (8×8 panels) which were incorporated into the mural; and group three created social media assets and a press release to promote the project. Warren was part of the last group.

Graphic Design students working on the mural on Bert Williams Mall.

The mural has overlapping patterns of traditional Asian, African, and Native American cultures, such as circular African patterns and Native American quilt designs. Cultural textiles like Kente stoles, Batik cloth, and Latin Oaxacan inspired the design as well. The mural is framed by black panthers, and labeled “Cross Cultural Center” in neon lights to represent StoneWall and the LGBTQ+ on both sides.

“This class is about real people and real problems to continue to stay relevant and up to date,” says Emma Breen (‘24, Graphic Design) who also worked on the promotional part of the project.

The lead artist works with graffiti art and culture on the streets of Santa Monica and Venice in LA. He’s created murals for coffee shops, private residences, and has teamed up with Faces of Mankind to create murals for homeless shelters.

The mural is a representation of Lujan as an artist and the many cultural backgrounds of Chapman students.

“Bernie and I put in lots of extra hours to ensure we modeled how to work collaboratively as a learning community of teachers, students, guest reviewers and speakers,” said Chuang. “Our motto was “real time, real people, real risk” as much of the class unfolded this way. “Overall, the class differed by emphasizing both creative process and outcomes with creative freedom and risk taking to everyone involved.”

If you would like to view the mural in person, head up to the third floor of Argyros Forum and take a walk outside of the Cross Cultural Center.

“Cross Cultural Center” in neon lights.