That trompe l'oeil depiction of bookshelves on a garage door spotted in the Hollywood Hills a few weeks ago by author Robert Crais has a backstory, of course. And there's a media angle. Barbara Thornburg, the former style editor of the Los Angeles Times Magazine, wrote about the Mulholland Highway sighting in 2009, about a month before she left the paper following the shutdown of the magazine. She came upon the garage door while walking her dog.
The trompe l'oeil is the brainchild of Lee Dembart, a former editorial writer and book reviewer for the L.A. Times. (I swear I didn't know when I knocked on his door at 8:15 in the morning.) He had the mural painted in 2005 by artist Don Gray, who now resides in Oregon. How come? "I love books," was Dembart's answer. "They're my passion." Seems like a good enough reason to me.
Dembart also was a science writer at the LA Times (and briefly my editor on the education desk.) He had come to the LAT from the New York Times.