Thursday, November 22, 2012

Early mural by Luis Gustavo Mena

Luis Gustavo Mena has been a Tucson muralist for decades. His best-known mural might be downtown where Broadway and Congress merge. (That post also has a link to a 2007 newspaper article about him.) A similar mural is harder to spot; it's along a parking lot for MATZ Truck Accessories on south 12th. One of his earlier works is even harder to spot: on a wall between two buildings at 3477 S. 12th Avenue:

(An easy way to get there from western and central parts of Tucson is by taking the I-10 frontage road past downtown, then following the center lanes that dump you onto South 12th in South Tucson. The mural is in the block past 44th Street, on the north wall of a hair stylists' building at the corner with Jetty.)

Because the mural is on a north-facing wall, this (and the narrow space between the buildings) probably have helped shield it from sun — and preserve it for more than 30 years. (Under the artist's name at the upper right is 8,18,81 — which I guess means August 18, 1981.) I'm hoping to meet Luis Mena some day. I had a long talk with another early Tucson muralist at Raices Taller 222 gallery, and I'm looking forward to sharing her stories with you sometime in 2013. She remembered this mural right away; it was in the time when Mena used a point-distance style, she said.

Happy Thanksgiving to you, your family, friends...! (I'm headed for one of my favorite Tucson Turkey-day traditions, the dinner at Govinda's vegetarian buffet. They usually have a live turkey or two wandering the grounds, looking for handouts! I'm not a devout vegetarian, but I do love the food and the setting.)

Update (June 28, 2015): Mark Fleming sent photos and gave the location as the El Gorrion Restaurant parking lot at 3459 South 12th Avenue.

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