Chula Vista couple behind Tatis mural rebound amid pandemic job losses

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Posted at 4:48 PM, Jun 09, 2021

CHULA VISTA, Calif. (KGTV) — If you find yourself in Ocean Beach and come across the now widely popular image of Padres' star, Fernando Tatis Jr., you'll probably smile, stand proud, and feel a sense of belonging.

Emotions that Ground Floor Mural artists Paul Jimenez and Signe Ditona want you to feel.

"To see all these photos and kids looking up at these murals has been really rewarding," described Jimenez.

The Chula Vista couple is behind some other beloved murals you're bound to recognize, including the Joe Musgrove portrait at Grossmont High, Junior Seau in Oceanside, and Tony Gwynn in City Heights.

But their bond goes far beyond paintbrushes and spray cans, their love and coming up story began in 2019 at an OB farmer's market.

"Luckily, she was there, and I met her and then we hung out. Our first date was at the gym and we kind of never stopped hanging out," Jimenez said.

They quickly learned they both shared a love for art and said at the time, their passions for it never went beyond drawing on post-it notes around the house. But, things quickly took a turn when they both lost their jobs amid the pandemic.

"That's when we really were like 'let's dive into this now that we have the time'. I said, 'I'm going to buy spray paint, so I did a [art] piece in my mom's backyard and that's how it started," said Jimenez.

It didn't take long for the family to notice talent was there.

RELATED: Ocean Beach Fernando Tatis Jr. mural is latest in series of Padres artwork to come

"My aunt was our first paying customer. It was low budget but at the time to get paid for your work, it was like, 'oh, that was cool,'" Jimenez said.

Then, Jimenez and Signe used their social media accounts to see if anyone had a blank canvas they could paint a Tony Gwynn mural on, saying when they found a spot, "We get there and the wall's massive."

Little did the duo know that Gwynn wouldn't be the last Padres star they'd be outlining. They were recently approached by the Friars about official murals to immortalize Joe Musgrove's no-hitter and to capture the majesty of the mighty Tatis bat flip.

It was a clear home run for the couple.

"Something we created can bring joy and positivity, and uplift spirits at the same time, and that's been rewarding," said Jimenez.

They've now mastered about a dozen pieces across San Diego. Projects born out of a pandemic but created by their love for art, and each other.

"We're just a couple of people who got fired during the pandemic and now we really dove into ourselves and are making it happen. I want people to be inspired whether it's murals or whatever their thing is. This is a good example of possibilities," Jimenez said.