How Quirky is Berkeley? Baseball bas-relief, part two

2310 9th Street. Photo: John Storey
2310 Ninth St. Photo: John Storey

In August, I posted a story and plea on Berkeleyside. I asked if a Berkeleyside reader might know something about the wonderful bas-relief tiles celebrating the Oakland A’s found on this 1916 West Berkeley garage/studio. Within minutes I had my answer. Go Berkeleyside!

Two artists live here — Jos Sances and Robbin Henderson. She is a painter and print maker.

Robbin Legerre Henderson. Photo: John Storey
Robbin Legerre Henderson. Photo: John Storey
Robbin Henderson prints and scratch boards. Photo: John Storey
Robbin Henderson prints and scratch boards. Photo: John Storey

Jos Sances was the driving force behind the tiles. He joined forces with Robbin (the squash tile), his son Dar and daughter-in-law Anissa (the seagull and peanuts), and grandchildren Max and Amira (the swirly kids art tiles).

Sances is the founder and art director of Alliance Graphics in Berkeley. A Sicilian-American, Sances worked for years with La Raza Graphics and Mission Grafica in San Francisco.  For the past 35 years he has made his living as a designer/printmaker/muralist. Here is a taste of his work:


Ronald Reagan Jack in the Box. Photo: John Storey
Ronald Reagan Jack in the Box. Photo: John Storey
"Quirky Berkeley in Berkeley, Calif., on August 26th, 2015."
United Farm Workers comic. Photo: John Storey
"Quirky Berkeley in Berkeley, Calif., on August 26th, 2015."
Drinking water for Palestinian Children. Photo: John Storey
"Quirky Berkeley in Berkeley, Calif., on August 26th, 2015."
Jos Sances self-portrait for Day of the Dead panorama. Photo: John Storey
"Quirky Berkeley in Berkeley, Calif., on August 26th, 2015."
Leonard Da Vinci’s war machine and Popeye. Photo: John Storey
"Quirky Berkeley in Berkeley, Calif., on August 26th, 2015."
Left to right: Zapata, Ginsberg, Geronimo, Malcolm X, George Washington, Che, Marx, Lenin, Judas (fill in the face), Mao, Gandhi, and Dylan. Photo: John Storey

Sances’ murals abound in the East Bay. Unlike many muralists, his style is generally not evocative of Diego Rivera, although he describes his relationship with Henderson as a modern day Diego Rivera/Frida Kahlo. This Sances mural also celebrates the As, found at the Coliseum:

Oakland Coliseum mural. Photo courtesy of Jos Sances
Oakland Coliseum mural. Photo courtesy: Jos Sances

It is a stunning mural, but I’ll take the imperfect tiles on Ninth Street over this perfection.

Tom Dalzell, a labor lawyer, created a website, Quirky Berkeley, to share all the whimsical objects he has captured with his iPhone. The site now has more than 8,600 photographs of quirky objects around town as well as posts where the 30-year resident muses on what it all means.

For a fuller version of this post and many more photos, see Quirky Berkeley.

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