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The Short Life of John Doe (La Vida Breve de Alfonso Fulano)

Goez Studios Robert Arenivar David Botello Jose-Luis Gonzalez Juan Gonzalez
Artwork Type
Media & Support
Acrylic on stucco
8 ft.x 60 ft.* (2.4 x 18.3 m)
Workforce Development, Aging & Community Services
Centro Maravilla Service Center
4716 Cesar E. Chavez Avenue
Los Angeles, CA
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Latitude: -118.164146 - Longitude: 34.040241
Image: The Short Life of John Doe (La Vida Breve de Alfonso Fulano)

Additional Images


Facing Cesar Chavez Avenue (formerly Brooklyn Avenue), Goez Studio’s mural at the Centro Maravilla Service Center offers a portal to early Los Angeles life. The mural is divided into three panels, each of which portrays a different historical scene of life along Brooklyn Avenue in the community of Maravilla. Maravilla was one of the earliest settlements in East LA, which was originally home to those fleeing religious persecution in Mexico. The story of this local community and how it has changed is told by an anonymous old man, John Doe, to his young companion. The panel on the far left depicts the man and the youth resting in an open landscape of hills and mountains with farm workers harvesting in the foreground. Set in the early 20th century, the central panel shows the busy thoroughfare of Brooklyn Avenue with buses, cars, and horse-drawn carriages. The far right panel shows the man and youth again looking in surprise at the transformed landscape of East Los Angeles in the 20th century, bustling with people and Spanish-style architecture.

About the Artist

Founded in East Los Angeles in 1969 by José Luis Gonzalez, his brother Juan Gonzalez, and their friend David Botello, Goez Art Studio was originally a business that provided many artistic services including art restoration, advertisement design, custom furniture fabrication, and mural creation. In the 1970s Goez’s focus turned increasingly to murals and the Studio created many significant public artworks in the Los Angeles area.
José Luis Gonzalez directed the The Short Life of John Doe (La Vida Breve de Alfonso Fulano) mural project and Robert Arenivar (1931-1985) created the design. Robert Arenivar was born in Pittsburg, California but grew up in East Los Angeles and became a self-taught artist. When Goez formed, José Luis Gonzalez invited Arenivar to join the Studio. Arenivar quit his factory job and eventually became Goez’s head mural designer and illustrator.