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SoCal artists finish latest MUSD mural
Boss Graphics artists Billy Teichert and Kate Mauldin apply a clear coat finish to the mural at Sierra High on Tuesday afternoon. - photo by James Burns

Larry Lousen lives and plays in Southern California, but his work breaths life onto the campuses of local high schools.

“Been a good area for us,” said the owner of Boss Graphics, a company based in Los Angeles County that specializes in school murals.


Lousen’s artists returned to the City of Manteca on Tuesday afternoon to finish their latest project at Sierra High School.

Billy Teichert and Kate Mauldin wore respirators as they applied a clear coat finish to the mural that faces Daniel Teicheira Memorial Stadium.

They used rollers and a mechanical lift, carefully tracing the blue, black and silver lines they had painted months earlier.

“The Den” stretches across the westerly wall of the small gymnasium. It features a howling mascot emerging from the cavity on the “D,” with the words: “Home of the Timberwolves.”

From the football stadium, softball diamond or the practice fields at the farthest westerly reach of Sierra High, the graphic on the small gymnasium’s exterior wall dominates your sight line.

“We figure schools will be here a longtime, so our designs are meant to be classic so they hold up with the design world,” Lousen said. “In regular business design, you go with what its trendy and in style. But we can’t do that when working with schools.”

It’s the latest project for Boss Graphics within the Manteca and Ripon unified school district boundaries. The company specializes in turning large, empty spaces into works of art.

Boss Graphics touts itself as California’s leader in school murals, with more than 1,000 projects completed. It certainly has this part of the Central Valley covered.

Boss Graphics has been commissioned by both Ripon high schools and every Manteca Unified high school except Manteca High. Recent projects have included exterior and interior walls at Lathrop and Weston Ranch, as well as interior space at Ripon Christian last summer.

“It’s become our little niche in the world; to do things on schools,” said Lousen, who started the company in 1990. He made school murals Boss Graphics’ primary focus in 1995.

“We’ve been doing this a longtime. When you do something at a school then everyone sees what we did. It becomes a word-of-mouth thing.

“It’s a good gig, working with schools. They’re the most honest, straight-forward people you’ll work with. I feel lucky.”

Sierra High Athletics and Activities Director Anthony Chapman spearheaded the campus’ latest mural.

A project of that size and detail would cost approximately $9,000, said Lousen, speaking in general terms. “The Den” was made possible by a Class of 2013 gift and money raised by various athletic teams.

“We wanted to dress up that side of the school since many of our athletics happen there,” Chapman said.

On Tuesday, Teichert and Mauldin worked above the music, chatter and activity of the Sierra High pole vaulting team.

The journeyman artists, each with a degree from the San Francisco Art Institute, started the mural in January.

Painting took three days, he said. But because of the cold January temperatures, Boss Graphics had to wait for warmer weather to apply a clear coat.

With the clear coat and color choice, Lousen believes “The Den” will catch the eye and impress for decades to come.

Teichert believes this painting – like all the others – give the home team a decided advantage.

“Two years ago, we were finishing a gym interior and running late,” Teichert said. “The visiting team came in and stopped in their tracks. They were looking around in awe.

“I think it has a benefit for the home team. It gives everyone a sense of school pride.”