The massive piece was designed by artist and former nun Corita Kent in 1971. Despite the design being the brainchild of Kent alone, 20 other painters were required to bring her 8-inch model to life on the 140-foot tall tank.
Kent was a known Vietnam War protester, leading some to believe the innocent-looking painting is actually a political statement. The blue streak of paint does bear a resemblance to Vietnamese Leader Ho Chi Minh in profile, don't you think?
Kent denied the claim that the resemblance was intentional, but died in 1986 leaving the mystery forever unsolved.
In 1992, the original tank was destroyed and the Rainbow Swash was recreated on the second tank at the site. The new blue stripe is less pronounced, but does still bear a likeness to the controversial foreign leader.
The other stripes also seem a bit different in this writer's opinion. As a child, I distinctly remember seeing Frankenstein in the red splash...or was it the yellow one?? I guess my adult imagination just isn't as vivid as it once was!
Unfortunately, the tank is closed to visitors, but trying to make out images in the paint splashes is much more fun from a moving vehicle anyway!