Echo Park is about fifteen, traffic-congested miles from the sea. But that fact did not stop the owners of a new neighborhood gas station from decorating the building with an underwater motif, complete with mosaic murals of fish and mermaids. In fact, there are two mermaids at the new United Oil station that is a few weeks away from opening at the the corner of Sunset Boulevard and Portia Street. One of the mermaids floats high on a wall inside the station and convenience store; the other mosaic mermaid, mounted on an exterior wall by the front doors, will wave out at motorists pumping gas.
This is the site of the former Megna station that served as unofficial street art gallery after that station went out of business. United Oil bulldozed the buildings last year and built a new gas station from scratch. What inspired United Oil, which is known for operating a chain of fancy and fanciful gas stations, to come up with an underwater theme for their Echo Park station? Designer Marla Sher, who worked on the project, explains
The Owner of United Oil, Jeff Appel, is the guiding force who determines the direction and theme of his many stores and stations. Jeff never likes to repeat design solutions. Therefore each of his stores offer something different to his customers. The Echo Park station was inspired by his love of the ocean. His niece, Chelsea, was the inspiration behind the mermaid in the mosaic underwater scene left of the main entrance.
United Oil officials expect their Echo Park gas station mermaids to be greeting customers in a few weeks.