Greg Brown is a Palo Alto-based artist who specializes in whimsical murals- I had grown up seeing his work downtown without putting together that there was a reason these aliens and burglars seemed sort of similar.Brown specializes in a technique called trompe l’oeil (“fool the eye”) which basically equals super-realistic shading and detail- murals so realistic that according to legend someone called the police department on the burglars Brown painted above a University Avenue storefront.
A few years ago I saw a exhibit he did called “Unlikely saints,” in which he painted some everyday characters as Orthodox saints, complete with gold leaf background halos- a barista, a landscaper. It was pretty cool.
- PDF description of the Unlikely Saints show
- press release from the same show, put out by the Palo Alto Art Center
- list of the downtown murals, with pictures and a map of their locations, all ready for a art crawl of downtown Palo Alto
- brief writeup (and his photo) from the Palo Alto Housing Corporation