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Dodgers: Catching Up With the Artist Behind the Joe Kelly Mural

If you haven’t seen the Joe Kelly mural painted on the wall of Floyd’s Barbershop, then you’re probably not in Los Angeles. Dodgers fans have been braving smoke from fires and a pandemic just to get a peek at this iconic painting located in Silverlake.

I got to sit down with the artist behind the Joe Kelly painting this week and find out the motivation for getting it done. Jonas Never is an artist based out of Southern California, and Dodgers fans might recognize some of his previous work.

Jonas, tell the readers a little bit about yourself!

I grew up in Los Angeles on the west side. I was a baseball player, and actually, when I was playing at UC Riverside, it was a quarter system school and I never really took art seriously. I was into graffiti…being quarter systems meant you had 8 weeks to study for a class and I was like this is not happening with baseball practice and conditioning all day. When my shoulder finally fell apart I kind of jumped into art full time. I started doing a lot of sports stuff which I knew and understood.

Did you grow up as a Dodger fan?

Yeah growing up in LA and just playing baseball the 80s teams were just so good with Orel, and Fernando, and Gibby and all of them. As I got older and started playing with these guys that actually started making it to the big leagues, it was really cool to become friendly with guys like Justin Turner, who were like the face of the Dodgers, he was at Fullerton while I was at Riverside. So I’ve always cheered for anything local and everything LA (not the Angels). 

How did this painting come together? What was the motivation for it?

I was painting in Atlanta when the first series against the Astros happened. With Joe playing for the same college as me, it means you gotta cheer for him. Then when he went after Correa and the whole Astros team, it was really nice to see that kind of heart and that kind of fight from the team. And I was really proud to be a fan of the Dodgers at that point. Since I was in Atlanta, I painted it on a canvas and posted it on Instagram, JT hit me up and asked me if I could do one for Joe. When I looked at the Dodgers schedule, I was like the series is coming up if I can time it right I can get it done by then. I really wanted it to be by the stadium so I talked to Floyd’s about a wall in Silverlake. Labor Day weekend I happened to be off so I painted the wall.

On Joe Kelly coming out to see his mural: 

He was thrilled. He brought his whole family. It was really cool just to see him come by and just the way everyone reacted. Watching his son Knox look up and seeing his dad 16 feet tall. He couldn’t have been a nicer guy. I already was a fan as a ballplayer and everything but now, he’s definitely one of my favorites. 

For Dodgers fans wanting to get to see the mural in person, we recommend making sure to wear your masks and wait your turn from a distance. Fans have been flocking to the mural by the dozens hoping to get to see Jonas’ beautiful work of art. 

If you would like to follow Jonas on his social media accounts, he can be found @Never1959 on both Instagram and Twitter. 

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