ANTIOCH -- Ellis Cecchini was tired of staring at a blank, 200-foot wall in his Antioch backyard, so he commissioned a local muralist to paint his family's rich legacy in East County, the people he loves and the seasons of his life in a whimsical style.
Cecchini's image can be found a handful of times on the 100-foot mural from his early years playing in his grandparent's vineyards and almond orchards to his recent travels as a senior in his motor home.
The eight panels of the mural start with his grandparents, who immigrated here from Italy, and end with his three children, six grandchildren, five great grandchildren, in-laws and his partner of 20 years, Judy McEuen. This represents six generations of his family.
"I wanted to convey what it was when we moved here," Cecchini said of the East County region. "I wanted to portray living here and the family history of my whole family."
The Cecchini property, where he lives today along East 18th Street near Mac's Old House restaurant, was originally acquired by his paternal grandparents in the early 1930s. Cecchini's grandmother gave the portion of the property where his house sits to his dad in 1950, and the house was built in 1951.
The mural depicts the family's various business ventures, including his father's trucking business in Stockton. It also includes a Delta scene with one of Cecchini's ski boats and showcases his beloved 1952 Chevy that he owned in high school and his 1954 Chevy that he currently owns.
Bethel Island muralist Kibbi Hause, who goes by "Mad Marj," and her daughter, Carolyn Kibbe, and granddaughter, Samantha Redman, created the historical piece in sections over the past two years. "Mad Marj" has painted numerous private murals in downtown Antioch and local businesses, and she is currently working on one at the Antioch Historical Society.
"Some of my murals are more realistic, but this one is more of a cartoon flavor," she said. "I enjoy the finish work on the murals and meeting the people I work with and learning about their lives."
It was important to Cecchini that the mural also include his horse and their family dogs. His parents, from whom he acquired the property and house in 2005 as part of their estate, are central subjects of the mural amid the vineyard and orchard images.
"I told her my vision, and we changed it here and there. I wanted them in the place and order of when they came into my life," Cecchini said of the mural's subjects. He plans to unveil the mural at a private party this month to friends and family. People traveling past his house tend to pull into the driveway to catch a glimpse of the large and colorful mural.
"His family has been in this area for many generations," McEuen said. "Families like his are the ones who settled this area."
Reach Paula King at 925-779-7174 or firstname.lastname@example.org.