Back to top

The Soul's Journey As A series of Weird Old Cars

You are here

The Soul's Journey As A series of Weird Old Cars
Gilman Square
Pearl St

The mural on the staircase facing Marshall Street was done as a memorial to the late Al Riskalla, neighborhood mechanic and owner of ABJ Auto that used to be located in a lot facing the site. He was beloved in our community for his years of kindness, humor and honesty, creating a safe congenial space & fixing cars affordably for those in need. The design represents the soul’s journey to enlightenment, as a series of old cars. Rainbow tire tracks lead up to the stairs, and a small dropped wrench appears on the sidewalk above.

"The cars each have a meaning: 

Bottom: Old VW beetle: the kind of funky old car he kept running for people who loved them, like my friend Larry’s beetle and the one I learned to drive on. This car had a long countercultural history in the US in the 60s and 70s. I personally remember the folks who’d stop and fix each other’s bugs on the highway, and to me it represents friendly DIY old-car culture of years gone by.

Middle: Wendell’s mustard-yellow Vanagon, that lived in the front driveway of ABJ for years.

Top. A Saab 96, the kind that Al particularly liked according to his daughter Mimi. I remember a yellow one sitting in their lot forever."

--Liz LaManche