Thursday, December 30, 2010

Luis Mena's Columbus and America

This long mural of Christopher Columbus is at MATZ Truck Accessories, 4535 S. 12th Avenue. Across the ocean from Columbus and his ships are Native Americans. It's worth a closer look! (If you can't see it in person, remember that you can click on any photo in this blog for a larger view. Use your browser's "back" button to return.)

There's more about Mena and his murals in the August 14, 2007 Tucson Citizen article Buildings are his canvases.

A classic car by Luis Mena

Muralist Luis Mena has painted plenty of murals around town, including a big one downtown next to the Hotel Arizona. A simpler mural of his is on a wall at Desert Suds Car Wash, on the southwest corner of S. 12th & Ohio:

(Update, March 24, 2011: There's another car wash mural at Watch while you wash.)

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Maybe a mural, part 12

I'd call this a tag, not a mural. It was on a vacant building, the former UA Plumbers & Steam Fitters Local No. 741 at 2475 E. Water, on December 8... and it was gone the next time I rode by, a few days later.

Of course, what's graffiti to one person might be art to another. I thought of this as I read a couple of recent newspaper articles about tagging in Tucson. (Here's the one from Tucson Weekly.) What if someone reports a piece of "urban art" as graffiti? I'd guess the company that cleans Tucson walls, Graffiti Protective Coatings, has experience with that.

Maybe a mural, part 11

There are a couple of low brick walls with tile along Seneca Street. This one is just east of Palo Verde:

You'll find another one farther along the street at the corner of Seneca & Chrysler.

Maybe a mural, part 10

The front of Ramon M Wrought Iron, 307 E. Grant, is covered with painted wrought iron.

Maybe a mural, part 9

From time to time I see art on a wall that you might or might not call a mural. (The previous post was July 19.)

What do you think about this wall and mailbox at 4364 E. 4th Street?

Monday, December 20, 2010

Mural map!

With nearly 300 murals on this blog — and hundreds more to be added — browsing through the blog's posts (almost five years' worth!) is fun. But it isn't a very easy way to find murals in a particular part of town.

I've mentioned the table of murals several times. It helps me keep track of which murals had been posted and when. But it's gotten big, as well. What we really needed was a map with all of the murals pinpointed. This fall, Melodi King took on that project for her mapping class at Pima Community College. (It was her idea, by the way.) She's has put a tremendous amount of work into the project, and it's finally ready to announce... just in time for your holiday mural-hunting.

The map comes in two sizes: small (for your phone or a netbook computer) and large. From the map, you can click on any of the mural locations. A pop-up window will appear with a photo of the mural, details about it, and a link you can click to read the blog entry about it. There's also a page of suggestions for using the map.

Though her class is over, Melo and I will keep working on the map design. The map software is being developed, and it sometimes doesn't work quite the way you might expect. The design of the map pages is also very basic at this point. Please send your comments!

To go to the map pages and the table of murals, click on "Map and table of Tucson murals" under "Favorite links" in the right column of this blog.

Good fences make good neighbors...

...and good mural fences are better. (In this case, it's a wall.) Here's the neighbor-pleasing view at the front of 4664 E. 5th, which is just west of Swan:

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Underwater on First Avenue

Just as the Rillito (usually) doesn't have water, this new store just south of River Road doesn't (really) have any either. But the murals could fool you. The store is Planet Scuba at 4837 N. 1st:

I've driven by a few times; there are always cars in the parking lot, blocking part of the view. Luckily, though, I've met the artist, Alexandria Winslow. She sent me close-up photos, including these:

Her website,, shows more of her art.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

¡Mariscos Chihuahua!

On April 15, 2008, Warren V. sent our first photo of these local restaurants which are as famous — well, maybe — for their murals as for their Mexican-style seafood. (Mural lovers pronounce the name mar-ees-cose chi-wah-wah — with the emphasis on ah, for the huge murals on most of their buildings.)

Warren's photo was of 999 N. Swan. In the past couple of months, I've snapped photos of the other Tucson locations:

356 E. Grant, on a cloudy October day... check out the bench with a big shell backdrop.
Part of the south wall at 1009 N Grande
2902 E 22nd, at dusk, with the west side illuminated
At 435 W Irvington, the walls are all white — except for this door. I wonder if there used to be more?

Update (July 30, 2011) I replaced the photo of the Grande store with a better one. (You can still see the original photo if you'd like to.)

Update (July 23, 2015): The 22nd Street location has a new sign next to the mural.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Friday, December 10, 2010

May in December

It's hard to keep up with all of the murals around Tucson! Tonight and tomorrow (mid-December!) I'll finally post the last of my photos from May.

Here's the Fathead Shop at 513 N. Fourth Avenue:

Thursday, December 09, 2010

(Solar) Culture changes (again)

Some murals change; others stay the same. One that keeps changing is in front of Solar Culture Gallery at 31 E. Toole. We posted a photo from May, 2009 in Culture changes. Here's the view on November 23, 2010.

Monday, December 06, 2010

A cut above

When I opened my copy of the Arizona Daily Star on November 27th, the front-page photo of a mural caught my eye. The headline underneath was Icon of hope has faded, but barber brings it back.

Three years ago, Erik S. emailed Randy photos of the mural as it was before — on the west side of what was then Menlo Park Video. Now the building is a barber shop named Money Cutz, and the mural is freshly painted. The article quoted Eddie Urias telling the story of growing up in his neighborhood, Menlo Park, how the mural was a bright spot between two liquor stores at that corner: Grande and Congress. This year, as the shop owner, he wanted to restore the image of the Virgen de Guadalupe. What a great story!

I mentioned the article to Melo King. She told me that she'd caught a photo of the mural as it was being repainted, on October 21 of this year:

Fast-forward to this afternoon, December 6, when I drove by to see the mural. The shop was closed, so I got this view without any cars:

If you're on the west side of town, if you're passing by on Interstate 10, or if you're downtown (just on the other side of I-10) — well, or wherever you are — stop by to see this beacon of hope in the neighborhood. And if you need a barber, come inside to meet the owner and thank him for what he's done — definitely a cut above.

Update (August 7, 2011): Here's a photo of the back side of the store.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Adios para siempre...

...though it will live on with collectors — and in all of our memories. Come to the despedida on December 19 for David Tineo's mural at the Tucson Museum of Art. It will be removed next month. (Randy's post about it in 2006 was "You Could Spend Hours...") Here's the announcement and photo from the museum's e-news:

Farewell to an Icon
Sunday, December 19, 3:00 - 5:00 pm

Join us for Mexican hot chocolate and pastries as we bid a fond farewell to the mural Nuestro futuro/Nuestras raices humana and honor artist David Tineo's contribution to this iconic work of art. The mural will be de-installed in January.

Bring your mementos and memories to this despedida and share your stories about the mural with the artist. Filmmaker Angela Soto will be documenting the event and de-installation of the mural.

Nuestro futuro/Nuestras raices humana, by David Tineo. Photo by Carter AllenPhoto by Carter Allen

There are more details, and mural history, on the museum's press release (a PDF file). Here are parts of it:

Unveiled in 1992 as part of CARA Chicano Art: Resistance and Affirmation, a temporary exhibition celebrating the Chicano art movement that traveled nationally, the mural was created by applying paint directly to untreated plywood. Originally intended as a short term installation, the long term exposure to Tucson’s weather has made it unstable and a public safety risk. “The mural was commissioned by the Museum and made with the intention of having it on display for a few months,” says Ann Seirferle-Valencia, Curator of Latin American Art, “although we have tried to stabilize it over the years, the plywood has warped to the point that it is separating from the frame. It is with David Tineo’s blessing, and in the best interest of the art and safety of our visitors, that we have decided to take it down.”

“It has fulfilled its purpose more than I could have expected,” says David Tineo, “It’s a piece of history and has been embedded in many hearts. I see this as a transition from public display back into the community.” The mural will be cut into sections and framed by Galeria Mistica, Tineo’s gallery representative and the home of much of his work. Once framed, the sections will be offered for sale to benefit the students at the Museum School for the Visual Arts. “The most important thing to me is that it benefit the kids at the school,” states Tineo.

I'll hope to see you there on the 19th.

(Update: Several Arizona Daily Star articles say that Antonio Pazos worked on the mural too. There's more information in the East Valley Tribune story Tucson mural, artist battle ravages of time.)

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Mary's street

Murals like these are the kind that keep me hunting for more. I found them at the end of May, just west of Country Club around a home at 2939 E. Monte Vista. The top one is titled Mary's Wonderfully Whimsical Ways:

The second mural also looks like something Mary painted, doesn't it? Some day I'll head back to the neighborhood to see if I can get the story. (If you know, please tell me...)

Update (December 24, 2012): Thanks to the comment that Mary's daughter Crystal left recently (see below), we've got the story of the bottom mural. The top mural of a woman with paintbrushes must be Mary herself! I've also posted more details today.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Studio 220, Got All Your Marbles?

Thanks to Melo King for this photo of 220 E. Congress. The sign says Studio 220, but there's also a business named Got All Your Marbles? that sells interchangeable marble jewelry.

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you mural lovers!

Update (August 4, 2013): Mark Fleming just sent another photo of this same mural. It seems to be in good shape (which quite a few murals aren't these days: many are being trashed by taggers... sigh). I'm guessing that its position above the store's window helps protect it.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Farewell, Print Well

Something about this humble image — a mural in the style of the store's front sign — caught my eye. I shot the picture back in August, but didn't post it until today. And now the Print Well store, formerly at 2310 E. Broadway, has moved to the back of the building. The sign on front is gone, and mural (and the tag) are covered with a fresh coat of white paint.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Exceptional elementary

Howell Elementary School has two mural-covered buildings near the corner of Longfellow & Holmes (just south of 5th Avenue). Classes weren't in session while I was there in May, and the gate was open:

The walls are covered with desert scenes of critters making music:

Above them all is the slogan "Opening Minds Through The Arts":

Monday, November 08, 2010

Down under (Speedway)

Mural-spotter extraordinaire Melo King sent photos of two longggg murals by the bus stops/underpasses along Speedway at the U of A. The first is over Olive, between Mountain and Euclid:

The second is over Highland, between Mountain and Cherry:

Update: As always, you can click on an image for a larger view. Use your browser's "Back" button to return. And you might want to try that on the last photo above. On February 16, 2011, while I was waiting for a bus at the stop next to the mural, I spotted some UFOs that weren't on Melo's original picture. Did the original muralist add them, or was it a clever tagger? I snapped the photo below...

Update (January 21, 2016): For more-detailed photos of the Olive mural more than five years later, see today's entry Over Olive again.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

(Not a) ratty mural

This fun mural fits the business as well as the building. It's at Desert Rat Truck Centers, 3705 S. Palo Verde:

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Beautiful mural in a surprising spot

Melo King spotted this wild and gorgeous wraparound mural at 901 E. 12th Street, behind the Sonoran Plant Nursery — (which is behind the OfficeMax store on Broadway, just east of the Diamondback Bridge).

She took the second photo after asking permission to come inside the fence. The muralist was Martin Q. Chamanacux. What a great find!

Around the corner...

...from the huge mural on one side of the building, Paseo Redondo, east of Granada... is another wall with two murals that Melo King photographed. First, at the right side of the wall, a continuation of the previous mural:

The rest of this wall has a big graffiti mural:

Update (April 15, 2022): A new mural covers the whole wall. See it in today's post Art near Tucson Museum of Art.

More from Melo

A week ago I mentioned Melodi King — also known as Melo. She's working on a map of downtown Tucson murals that could grow into a much bigger project. If it all works out, I'll let you know about it here!

In the meantime, she's been revisiting downtown mural sites and taking more photos. Here's a scene from Fourth Avenue: Creative Ventures at 522 N. 4th:

At left side, you can see part of Breakout Studios, 526 N. 4th. Earlier this year, I posted a photo of the mural on front of the then-vacant building. Now the building is neatly painted, but without the mural. Things change...

Update (September 28, 2012): Here are more photos.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Big Brothers Big Sisters needs a muralist... help this weather-beaten mural on the Toole Avenue side of the Big Brothers Big Sisters Angel Youth Center:

It's at the corner with Alameda. (The shadows are from early-morning light.)

Here's the same mural back in July, 2006.

Updates: On Saturday, June 25, 2011, Joe Pagac painted a new mural. The new mural is in our June 30 post.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Armory Park Center

Here's another of Melo King's photos: the front of the Armory Park Center on 5th Avenue.

Look up!

Melo King sent this photo of the top of one of the new buildings downtown. It's east of the Ronstadt Center, just north of the corner of Arizona Avenue and Congress:

Bicycles on stage

My May 2009 post Murals past and present showed murals on both sides of the outdoor stage at Winsett Park, 316 N. 4th. Melo King noticed that I hadn't shown the mural behind the stage itself. Here's her photo:

Country in the city, part 2

Last year's post Country in the city showed the mural on the south side of the Tucson Yoga building at 12th Street and 4th Avenue. For some reason, I didn't include the mural on the east side of that same building. Here's part of it — and parts of two bicycle-parking loops:

The photo is from Melodi King (better known as Melo). She's building a clickable map of Tucson murals. I'll post more of her photos next. Thanks, Melo!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Next along the block...

...from the Dunbar/Spring Neighborhood Garden murals is this mural in the neighborhood playground, a bit north of 11th Avenue & University. It's too long for one photo, but here are the center and right sections: