LOS ANGELES — Painting on the job, just a typical Tuesday for Jesus Pelayo. But this job is anything but typical.
Pelayo has lived in Los Angeles for over 30 years, and has been painting for the last eight. It was all office buildings and rooftops — until he got a call one day about his next project: painting the Hollywood Sign.
“Wow, I can’t describe my feelings. I’ve never been here!” he said.
Pelayo is one of 10 local painters repainting the sign for its 100th anniversary.
The Hollywood Sign Trust and Sherwin-Williams partnered to usher the sign into its next century, with the crew painting, using two power generated swing stages to access the 45-foot-high sign, for the last few weeks. It took about 40 gallons of paint per letter. The sign went “green” this time around, using paint with self-cleaning technology that requires minimal maintenance.
To see the sign is to love the sign, but to really understand its significance in the City of Angels, you have to take a trip down history lane, as we did with Hollywood Sign Trust Chairman, Jeff Zarrinnam.
“I think it’s a sense of pride that we have for our city that we’re the creative city. Let’s face it, a lot of the people that live here work in Hollywood,” Zarrinnam said.
The Hollywood sign was first built in 1923, reading “Hollywoodland,” as a real estate development billboard. Over the years, the sign got handed over to the City of LA. After getting dilapidated and worn, in 1978, Hugh Hefner and other celebrities raised money to rebuild the sign. It now stands proud as not just a constant inspirational reminder to locals chasing their dreams here, but a beacon of hope to people all over the world.
Pelayo said this job has been his own little piece of inspiration. And as he keeps priming, he smiles, thinking about how his day job has suddenly given him a little taste of local stardom.
“One of my nieces just told me they were talking about us yesterday at her school,” he said.
Pelayo will always be able to look up at the sign and remember the paint job of a lifetime.