An artist who has painted murals all over Los Angeles is now offering a free downloadable coloring book to help people pass the time during California's stay-at-home order.
Eric Junker, an artist, designer and teacher at USC’s Roski School of Art and Design is offering the coloring book, titled "All I Want is More Beautiful," on his website. Also available is a "Wash Your Hands" coloring book, translated into several languages. Both are free to download and print.
"The quarantine has made me suddenly aware that most of the work I do is really social," Junker said. "I mean, public art – the teaching, the collaborating with chefs and winemakers – it’s all been about connecting people. And it all stopped in a day and suddenly things got very quiet, making me realize that I took all that socializing for granted."
Local news from across Southern California
Junker said he had an impulse to make the coloring book soon after California residents were ordered to stay at home. He wanted to connect with his friends and neighbors, giving them something to do while they are stuck at home.
But the book hasn’t just been used by those near Junker. He said he has received pictures of his coloring books from people all over the world.
"It's been really sweet and a little bit of light in all this weirdness that's going on right now," Junker said.
Though the "All I Want is More Beautiful" coloring book is an activity for people of every city, it contains references to LA, where Junker went after spending his childhood in New York. He studied at UCLA, deciding to remain in the city.
"[It's] something about LA’s mind-blowing chaos that keeps me here, I think," Junker said. “The collision of cultures, the music the food, the light, the grit, the mountains, the ocean. I consider it a real honor and thrill to be part of the visual fabric of the city."
Junker explained that the title of his coloring book was inspired by his friend Randy Clement, who owns Silver Lake Wine in LA. Junker was painting a mural at the wine shop when Clement spoke the phrase that would later become the title of Junker’s coloring book.
"It's poignant. It’s subversive. It sticks with me, because it’s like a plea in the face of the darkness that’s going on right now," Junker said of the phrase in his book.
"Beauty is what humans are capable of at their best. Whether it is benevolence or charity or art or music and theatre, food and wine. It’s what makes human beings human."
To view or download "All I Want is More Beautiful" and "Wash Your Hands," visit Junker’s website.