Curious and admiring visitors are drawn to the brightly decorated building, which encompasses eight apartment units above three ground-floor businesses: Wild Flour Cafe, which specializes in locally sourced salads, egg dishes, sausages and organic ice cream; the Cap City Squeeze juice bar, which serves smoothies, parfaits, açaí and pitaya fruit bowls and other healthful foods; and Toasted, which prepares flavorful creations of avocados, lox and other toppings over toasted bread.
The new imagery on the Metropol, across from Sam’s Market and just up the street from the CADA office, is among many changes to take place in coming years along the O Street frontage. The mural is the work of artist Jose Di Gregorio, a CADA-area resident who studied art in France and whose work has graced structures in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Miami, Detroit, Mexico City and Helsinki, Finland, as well as numerous locations throughout the Sacramento region. The imagery was created with art direction by Karen Ulep, CADA’s marketing and creative services manager. Di Gregorio, who finds canvases confining, favors large areas to express himself visually.
Evoking the whimsy of tie-dye imagery, the Metropol mural is titled “Sonder,” derived from a coined term listed in the Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows, a compendium of neologisms. “Sonder” is defined as “the realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own—populated with their own ambitions, friends, routines, worries and inherited craziness—an epic story that continues invisibly around you like an anthill sprawling deep underground, with elaborate passageways to thousands of other lives that you’ll never know existed.”
Di Gregorio hopes that the immersive mural he created for the Metropol building will help establish connections among the people who gaze upon it and allow it to saturate their imaginations. Social media outlets are buzzing with comments about the “Sonder” mural.
“That is just absolutely breathtaking. So gorgeous! Goosebumps,” wrote a fan named Elysha. “More beautiful than dreams,” Eric wrote. “This is sooooo amazing!!!! Love it!” commented Amber. “I happened upon this last week while on a walk and just had to stand and marvel,” Rebecca said. “That’s awesome art! Fabulous! Thank you,” Jay added.
Those and the remarks of many other admirers confirm that Jose Di Gregorio and his inspired artwork are making a difference at 14th and O.