Monterey, California: Historic Cannery Row and John Steinbeck Walking Tour
Turn left onto the Monterey Bay Coastal Trail / John Cerney Mural Mack and the Boys
Turn left on to the Monterey Bay Coastal Trail. Do you see the mural on the back of Mackerel Jacks? Walk over to the mural for a closer look. This mural of Mack and the Boys is by local artist John Cerney.
Remember how I told you that cannery workers would just hang out on the row waiting to hear the whistle that called them to start their shifts? Well, this mural was created from an actual photograph of a group of friends doing just that on Cannery Row.
The black and white photograph that inspired this mural was taken in 1935 by Grace Aieillo of her soon to be husband Frank Bergara and his friends. In the mural Frank is center in the lower row. His good friend Gabe Bucknell is on the left in the top row.
After you have viewed the mural, continue walking along the Monterey Bay Coastal Trail.
Once again, this is a bicycle as well as pedestrian trail so be mindful of bicycles speeding by and stay on the far right of the trail.
While you walk, I will tell you more about this mural and the artist John Cerney. The mural Mack and the Boys brings us back to Steinbeck’s novel Cannery Row.
Mack, who is a fictional character in the novel, is the leader and mentor to a group who according to Steinbeck, “is the exploiter of a little group of men who had in common no families, no money, and no ambitions beyond food, drink and contentment.” Mack is actually a fictionalization of Steinbeck’s good friend in real life Gabe Bucknell. Though Gabe’s life didn’t completely emulate Mack’s, there were similarities. Gabe had a serious drinking problem and because of his alcoholism only held jobs for short periods of time.
The artist of this mural, and two others along the Monterey Bay Coastal Trail, were created in 2008 by John Cerney. We will view the others later on this walk. Cerney, whose work is legendary, is a Monterey County based artist who has been creating larger than life painted plywood figures since 1995 and placing them around Salinas Valley in agricultural fields. He also designed and created the life size mile markers for the Big Sur International Marathon which takes place every April.