May 16, 2024

The Story Behind Splash Café’s Clams

Splash Café is famous for our award-winning Clam Chowder, but did you know about our adorable Clam Characters?

You can find them hanging out on the outside wall of our Pismo Beach restaurant. We love when our Splash Fam take selfies with them and tag us on social media! You can also find these marvelous mollusks on our menus and merch, and even on our website!

Splash Café visitors and regulars often ask, “What’s the story behind the Clams?” To answer that question and more, here’s a fun Q & A with the Clams’ creator and local artist, Lin Mercer!

What’s your process for creating Splash Café Clams? 

It starts with the request from Splash Café and what they want the character to be doing. We share ideas about the request, which spurs more inspiration and ideas shared back and forth between Joanne and the Splash Café team. Sometimes these inspirations and/or suggestions have come from the customers as I’m painting these clams in the murals. Love it!

After that, the fun begins! I create sketches on paper or computer, adding details like clothing, facial expressions, and water splashes. It’s all about the details that express their characters! Making graphic designs of clams for merchandise like mugs or T-shirts, painting murals inside or outside of clam characters surfing or even clams suntanning on the beach, without their shells and clothes (naked as a clam! lol) all still have expressions, poses, and red sunburns.

Do you have a favorite Clam?

Yes, I have several favorite clams! At the top is our classic Surfer Clam. He’s on some of our merchandise, mugs, and murals, wearing his wetsuit and carrying his surfboard. Another is the Hippie Clam Dude. Creating him was a blast from the past, with his long hair, the tie-dye T-shirt and headband, beaded “Peace” sign necklace and bell-bottom jeans with the flowered patches on the knees. 

More faves that I enjoyed working on are the three Halloween Clam Characters, dressed as a pirate, Supergirl, and Frankenstein posed on our Holiday Mugs.

Do you have a favorite merch item with a Clam on it?

Yes! My favorite is the T-shirt that says, “It’s Chowder Time at Splash Café!” with all of the Clams. I wear that shirt a lot.

How did the Clam Characters come about?

If memory serves me right, Joanne found me at the time when I was just beginning my journey as a self-employed artist full time. I was going to have my hair cut and talking to the hairdresser about what I do; one thing leads to another and the hairdresser hires me to turn one of her bedrooms into looking like the inside of a log cabin. 

I think it was by chance that she was my connection to Joanne, who was looking for someone to do some murals at Splash Café! Joanne had some great ideas for some murals that we discussed back and forth, I came up with some sketches, and the rest is history!

How did you get started as an artist?

It was at a very young age; maybe I was 4 years old. My Mom and Dad learned of my talent for drawing when they discovered my first masterpiece drawn directly on the wall behind their bedroom door going to bed that night. Well, there’s a moral to the story: I learned to always tell the truth from then on, and that was the start of my career as an artist. 

I couldn’t have had better loving parents who both—being performing artists of the entertainment business doing what they loved to do—had a big influence on my life. They instilled their positive attitudes in me by being the best examples. Mom and Dad gave me and my sister and brother the support to discover what we wanted to do.

My Dad, Bud Mercer, and my Mom, Vanita Wade Mercer, each have a dedicated page on my website showing off their life stories in show biz. Check it out! Oh, and you can see other art, murals, book covers, and even “Painted Cows” from the SLO County cow parade that I painted on the website as well. 

Want your own Clam Character merch? Visit us at the Pismo Beach store or order from Goldbelly.com!

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