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The Return of the Bridge Muses: Artist starts restoring two popular murals beneath Royal Park Bridge

Updated: Feb 12

THE ROYAL PARK Bridge muses are returning. 

Sean Yoro, the internationally acclaimed artist known as Hula, returned to downtown West Palm Beach on Feb. 9 to restore the two murals he painted eight years ago beneath the Royal Park Bridge. 

Both murals should be completed before the end of the month, he said. 

"Clara,'' a mural painted in 2015 under the Royal Park Bridge in West Palm Beach. (JOE CAPOZZI)

The murals, hyperrealistic portraits of women, were painted in 2015 and 2016 in a way that makes them appear to rise from the water — unexpected visual surprises for fishermen, boaters, joggers and cyclists.

But they disappeared last summer, painted over with a plain coat of beige by state contractors as part of a $2.3 million bridge repainting project that wrapped up late last year.

June 2023 (JOE CAPOZZI)

The last step of that project is restoring the artwork, originally painted during the CANVAS Outdoor Museum art shows

On Friday, Yoro started re-doing "Clara," the mural he painted in 2015 near the sidewalk that winds beneath the west end of the bridge. He said he expects to complete it this coming week. 

After that, perhaps by next weekend, he will start restoring the mural he painted in 2016 in the center of the Intracoastal Waterway. Like it was seven years ago, he said, that project will be tricky since it will require Yoro to ferry his supplies via paddleboard to a makeshift platform over the water. 

Sean Yoro, known as the internationally-acclaimed artist Hula, at work Feb. 11 beneath the Royal Park Bridge in downtown West Palm Beach. (JOE CAPOZZI)

Yoro has painted dozens of hyperrealistic murals around the world including one on an iceberg and another on the rusted side of a partially submerged shipwreck. 

He said the Royal Park Bridge murals are the first ones he has been asked to restore, which worked out for their many admirers: Before they were painted over, both murals showed signs of wear and tear over the last eight years from exposure to the outdoor elements.

“It’s definitely my first time repainting the exact same design, which is a fun little puzzle,’’ he said Sunday as he prepared to paint. 

“I didn’t realize how much of the skin tones I’d used. I will have to make sure it’s all the exact same pattern as before.’’

When he’s done in West Palm Beach, Yoro said he has mural projects in Canada and Italy. 

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About the author

Joe Capozzi is an award-winning reporter based in Lake Worth Beach. He spent more than 30 years writing for newspapers, mostly at The Palm Beach Post, where he wrote about the opioid scourge, invasive pythons, the birth of the Ballpark of the Palm Beaches and Palm Beach County government. For 15 years, he covered the Miami Marlins baseball team. Joe left The Post in December 2020. View all posts by Joe Capozzi.


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