Guerra, who suffered from Lewy body dementia in recent years, died on May 28. He was 81. (The mural in his honor, as seen in the top photo, went up on the store's gate here this past week.)
Frustrated with the quality of paints available to muralists, Guerra launched the specialty paint and pigment store in 1986. In 2000, Jody Bretnall and Seren Morey joined the business, and the two will carry on after Guerra's death.
Here's part of a tribute to Guerra on the shop's Instagram account:
Art was an institution in and of himself. A true original, one-of-a-kind character. They broke the mold after they made him. Wild man straight out of Haight-Ashbury, painter, lover of life, good Spanish wine, great Mexican food, art, artists and art materials. He was a chronic saver of homeless animals and a connoisseur of pigments and classical music.
Forever a kid at heart, Art's boundless energy for art, art materials and the teaching and sharing of his knowledge knew no bounds. We will sorely miss his laughter and his presence. He was not only our partner but our friend.
As his business partners for 20 years, we would like to assure you that the business that he founded and so loved is secure and will go on in his name. Though right now we are crying we will continue the teaching mission of this business to supply artists with the highest quality paint components possible to make the best paint possible. This was his vision and it is ours as well.Some longtime East Village residents will recall Guerra's mural on St. Mark's Place of John Spacely, aka Gringo, from 1983 (it was up through the early 2000s) ...