This Slaughterhouse Mural Is Really, Really Creepy
Photos by Nate Miller
Some tours of L.A. stop in a sketchy industrial area called Vernon to show people the bucolic murals on the walls of a Farmer John pork processing compound called Clougherty Packing Co. This is where the famousDodger Dogs come from. They also convert pigs into stuff like morning sausage and sliced ham for various West Coast grocery store chains.
When you see it from your car, the mural is a shock to the system. It’s clearly a slaughterhouse and covered with artwork that looks like the painted backgrounds from Hee Haw. Which is partly because the piece is an incomplete work called “Hog Heaven” by the TV set painter Les Grimes, who died in a fall while finishing it in the 1960s. It has since been completed and retouched by painter Arno Jordan and other visionaries through the years at the request of Hormel Foods Corporation. It has also gone off the rails, sanity-wise.
These cartoony pigs are pretty close together, as I assume they really are on the other side of that wall. Though I’d imagine the seven thousand real pigs inside that building are probably smiling a lot less.
One of the many painters who’ve taken a crack at the mural over the years had a tendency to make their faces much too human. Like this terrifying lil’ guy.