2310 Ninth St. Photo: John Storey
2310 Ninth St. Photo: John Storey

In August, I posted a story and plea on Berkeleyside. I asked if a Berkeleyside reader might know something about the wonderful bas-relief tiles celebrating the Oakland A’s found on this 1916 West Berkeley garage/studio. Within minutes I had my answer. Go Berkeleyside!

Two artists live here — Jos Sances and Robbin Henderson. She is a painter and print maker.

Robbin Legerre Henderson. Photo: John Storey
Robbin Henderson prints and scratch boards. Photo: John Storey

Jos Sances was the driving force behind the tiles. He joined forces with Robbin (the squash tile), his son Dar and daughter-in-law Anissa (the seagull and peanuts), and grandchildren Max and Amira (the swirly kids art tiles).

Sances is the founder and art director of Alliance Graphics in Berkeley. A Sicilian-American, Sances worked for years with La Raza Graphics and Mission Grafica in San Francisco.  For the past 35 years he has made his living as a designer/printmaker/muralist. Here is a taste of his work:

Ronald Reagan Jack in the Box. Photo: John Storey
United Farm Workers comic. Photo: John Storey
Drinking water for Palestinian Children. Photo: John Storey
Jos Sances self-portrait for Day of the Dead panorama. Photo: John Storey
Leonard Da Vinci’s war machine and Popeye. Photo: John Storey
Leonard Da Vinci’s war machine and Popeye. Photo: John Storey
Left to right: Zapata, Ginsberg, Geronimo, Malcolm X, George Washington, Che, Marx, Lenin, Judas (fill in the face), Mao, Gandhi, and Dylan. Photo: John Storey

Sances’ murals abound in the East Bay. Unlike many muralists, his style is generally not evocative of Diego Rivera, although he describes his relationship with Henderson as a modern day Diego Rivera/Frida Kahlo. This Sances mural also celebrates the As, found at the Coliseum:

Oakland Coliseum mural. Photo courtesy: Jos Sances

It is a stunning mural, but I’ll take the imperfect tiles on Ninth Street over this perfection.

Tom Dalzell, a labor lawyer, created a website, Quirky Berkeley, to share all the whimsical objects he has captured with his iPhone. The site now has more than 8,600 photographs of quirky objects around town as well as posts where the 30-year resident muses on what it all means.

For a fuller version of this post and many more photos, see Quirky Berkeley.

Berkeleyside publishes many articles every day. To see all our stories in chronological order, and read ones you may have missed, check out All the News.

Freelancer Tom Dalzell has lived in Berkeley since 1984. After working for Cesar Chavez and the United Farm Workers for 10 years as a legal worker and then lawyer, he went to work for another labor union...