Derek &
The Magic Murals

You can immediately become acquainted with Derek DiOrio’s work when you stroll through Fort Bragg’s downtown. He is the artist behind the street banner series and the accompanying Walking Tour of Fort Bragg map – available at most downtown businesses and Fort Bragg hotels. He is the designer behind that campaign and many other notable commercial projects in the North Coast area.

Originally from New England, Derek migrated to the North Coast for college at Humboldt State, where he studied the visual arts. This migration west led him up and down the coast of California including Los Angeles, to South America and Europe where he painted murals along the way. When it felt time for his nomadic chapter to end and the desire to put down some roots began, he landed back on the North Coast. As Derek frankly puts it, “I came for the ocean, but I stayed for the people.”

Derek describes a tightly knit and unpretentious community of artists and makers of many kinds in Fort Bragg, from woodworkers to butchers to painters and cobblers, that feels like one big extended family. Derek’s art has taken flight over the last few years – his commercial graphic design projects and his multiple other artistic pursuits in painting and woodworking. He has a small fishing boat and studio space and wood shop in Westport, just north of town. “I chose to base my life on where I wanted to be and what makes me happy, and to make the artist’s life work, no matter what.” Which he seems to be doing well at, while making a name for himself among the North Coast artist community.

“There are so many things in this tiny community that is an art form. It inspires me to want to work with my hands more and pursue different artistic paths. Artists, and all people, want to have the space to pursue what they are passionate about. You can do that here. It’s freedom.”

Local Tip:

Visit Derek’s murals in central Fort Bragg: on the alley that transects E. Redwood Avenue between Franklin and MacPherson Streets, and another mid-way along the Coastal Trail.