Sunday, December 30, 2012

Changes around 7th & Toole, part 1 of 4

The mural on the southeast wall of BLX (on the northern corner of 7th & Toole) was of five faces on May 28.

When I rode my bicycle by that same spot four and a half months later — on October 18 — the scene had changed:

So that mural was painted sometime between May 28 and October 18. (I found out later that the artist was Tommy Chambers.)

November 21, I saw a different mural here. This one (I found out later) was by Yerba:

On a long ride (after a big Christmas dinner :) December 25, I found yet another new mural on that corner. The mural follows the same theme, blocks, and also has a head at the left side facing into the mural, but looks completely different otherwise. Muralist John Flood painted this one:

Murals change. Years change. Happy 2013! I'll continue this series on January 1.

Friday, December 28, 2012

October to December at 6th & Toole

The building on the northwest corner of this three-street intersection (I've been calling it the northeast corner in earlier posts; gotta fix that!) is always changing. Like an artist painting over an old canvas and starting again, old murals are wiped out and new ones pop up. (You can see earlier incarnations on the Downtown-University section of the table of murals. It currently isn't completely up to date, but there are no missing entries for 6th & Toole.)

When I rolled by on October 18th, almost all of the southwest and south sides (except Skrappy's and the Toole Shed) had been painted white...

...and there was just one new mural on top of the fresh white. It's hidden behind the right side of the tree in the photo above:

Now let's jump ahead to December 20th. Mara Pierce wrote to tell me about a new mural on the southeast side of the building. It was painted by her students. On the 25th, I rode over to have a look.

First I noticed that some of the lamp posts along the east side of 6th Avenue had been painted. (Maybe they've been that way for quite a while? I've been paying more attention to the building than to the posts.) Here's the view from east of 6th:

(Most of the white area on the rest of the building — see the first photo above — has been painted red. I think we need to watch that empty white space at the top of the southern corner.) Here's a closeup of the new mural Mara told me about:

The "NO CLASS" is made from snippets of typewriter-style letters. I didn't look closely enough while I was there, but I'm pretty sure they're HB 2281. You can click on the photo for a larger view to see that and other panels more clearly.

Thanks, Mara, for letting me know! Also, thanks to your students (and your coaching) for the art.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Rialto in progress (Murals being made, part 10)

For years now, the north end of the east side of the Rialto Theatre (318 E. Congress) has had an ever-changing series of murals announcing concerts there. When I rode by on December 25th (Congress Street is partly re-opened now, by the way!), I saw something different there. It didn't look like the previous multi-panel concert announcement murals.

(To see more of them — though we didn't catch them all! — look for the above address in the Downtown-University section of the table of murals) or type rialto into the Search box at the right side of this page.)

Here's the new mural I spotted yesterday...

...and a close-up of (most of) the right panel (not including some of the side that's behind the rusty-iron planter):

You can see a grid with numbers at the bottom, and the outline of something at the right side.

The man holding the sign at the right end has been there for a lot of the murals Joe Pagac has painted, I'm guessing that this mural is Joe's too. We'll see after he (and/or whoever else) signs it.

(To see more of Joe's work, type Joe Pagac into the Search box. He also has a new website. And, of course, you can look for his work with a search engine like Bing or Google; try their Image Search feature.)

I met an artist yesterday outside the Solar Culture gallery who pointed out Joe Pagac's studio a bit farther along the same building, at 19 E. Toole. I'll try to catch him in person sometime soon. Stay tuned for a report!

Monday, December 24, 2012

News from Mary's street

A gloomy, cloudy day (October 11, 2012, when I took the photos below) is kind of appropriate for this holiday blog entry. I was near Glenn & Country Club on that gray day two months ago, and I decided to brighten things up by visiting some of my favorite murals in Tucson on Mary's street (at 2939 E. Monte Vista... click there for an aerial view from Google Maps).

As I rode in on my bike, I realized that I hadn't photographed the east side of the house. Here's what I saw:

The left side of that photo is on my 2010 blog post, but I hadn't included the wall on the right (east) side. The house, in the background, looked really interesting. So I walked along the east wall to check it out. What I found was...

...overgrowth, no water in the swimming pool, peeling paint... how sad. At that point in time, though, I didn't know why the creatively-painted home looked run-down.

Fast-forward to December 18th — six days ago. I got email from Blogger saying that someone named Crystal had commented on the 2010 post. She'd also sent me a personal email message. I approved the comment and also posted a reply. (If you didn't notice them, you can jump to the comments by clicking there.) I was happy to know the story of another mural in Tucson [so many murals have no story, not even the artist name(s)]... but I was saddened to read that Crystal's mother Mary had been evicted from the home that she'd painted so lovingly... even worse, near Christmas. Crystal says that her mother is struggling to find a place to live.

She also told me about Mary's Facebook photo page filled with her mom's exuberant art. Please have a look!

I drove by the home again two days ago (the 22nd) to take some photos for Crystal and her family (including Mary). There was a passenger truck in the driveway, so I guessed that someone has moved in — and that Mary is out for good. If you know better, though — or you have any advice for artists who've been kicked out of their homes — please email me or post a comment below; I'll send your news on to Crystal.

The holidays aren't always joyful :(, but I hope yours are great! Thanks for reading this blog... your interest encourages me to keep doing it.

Update (January 11, 2013): Crystal wrote to say her mother “has received some possible ‘leads’ for some painting jobs and she’s eager to get started.” She asked me if I'd share Mary's phone number: 520 991 5336. And she mentioned Mary's Facebook gallery (click there if you'd like to see it).

Update (March 26, 2013): Mary has been evicted. A message and poem from her daughter Crystal — as well as some photos of their former home — are on today's post, Sad news from Mary's Street.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

A porch on North Dodge

In the past five years, I've posted a few murals painted on the front porch of Tucson homes. (I wouldn't post a mural on a home's back porch... we only show art that's visible to the public.) If you'd like to find those murals, type porch into the box titled "Search This Blog" in the right-hand column.

This one is at 1902 North Dodge:

I rolled by on October 16th.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Next door to Frida

On October 2, I was driving west on Prince Road, past the familiar Frida Kahlo mural, when I noticed a new mural just west of there. I pulled in quickly — fast enough to park in front of Frida — and I noticed that her paint was peeling. (I made a note to send email to the muralist. He doesn't live in Tucson.) Then I walked next door to check out this mural:

It's on the fence just west of aQua Salón & Barbería. (I think I got that right... yes, there's a capital Q in the middle of aQua.) There wasn't an address on the front of the hairstyling shop, but I can tell you that it's next door to Carnicería La Noria (which has the Frida mural); the carnicería (a meat market) is at 704 East Prince.

(As always, you can click on the photo for a larger view.)

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Esperanza Elementary School, part 2

Two days ago, we posted murals on the north side of the school. (The address is 2353 E. Bantam Road.)

Along one edge of a patio on the south side of the campus is a long mural painted by students with help from Tucson mural legend David Tineo:

Close-ups from left (north) to right:

That last one is marked "Parents Mural" at the bottom; the tree trunk has Esperanza / Hope (the English translation of the school's name).

Nice, isn't it? I took the photos on September 28th.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Esperanza Elementary School, part 1

On September 28th, when I was on the overpass that crosses Tucson Boulevard south of Irvington, I looked into the schoolyard just west of there and spotted a part of a mural. Kids were going into the school, and the grounds hadn't been locked up for the day, so I stopped into the office to ask permission to look around. (The school's official address is 2353 E. Bantam Road. Here's a satellite map from Google that shows the campus — and the overpass, just east of the school.)

There turned out to be lots of murals. I'll show half of them today — around the north half of the campus. In the next post I'll show the spectacular David Tineo mural that I glimpsed a bit of from the overpass.

The school's mascot is an eagle. This mural is across the hallway from the school office:

On a building housing restrooms, north of the main school building:

The west and east ends of a mural on a long building north of the parking lot (which is to the west of the main school building):

Our December 18 post shows the other mural on campus.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Mountains on Stone and Speedway (almost)

Here's the alpine view from the southwest side of Tommy Tucker Enterprises, 930 N. Stone. I was there on September 29th.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Maybe a mural, part 41: Box office, PCC West

This wall surrounds the box office at Pima Community College, West Campus. I'm not sure you'd call it a "mural," but it's unique — and it makes for a fun self-portrait in the middle of a bunch of star athletes. :)

I took the photo on September 29th.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Maybe a mural, part 40: Mitla mosaics

These Mitla mosaics are by G. Schoon, dated 2003. They're outside the Rincon Building F, at Pima Community College west campus, off Anklam Road. I took the photo on September 29th.

Saturday, December 08, 2012

Thursday, December 06, 2012

Maybe a mural, part 39: 630 North Alvernon

It's not paint on a wall, and it's not made of mosaic or tile, but it is on a wall. Is it a mural? (You can decide for yourself!)

From time to time, I post a photo puzzle like this. The last time was November 27th.

This is toward the south end of the west side of 630 North Alvernon Medical Center (located, surprisingly enough, at 630 N. Alvernon Way). I took the photo on September 26th.

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Arizona Senior Academy

The Arizona Senior Academy, at 13701 E. Langtry Lane, has talks and concerts you can attend. Last year, I gave a talk there on Tucson's Public Murals. While I was there for the talk, people pointed me to the murals around the building.

The light wasn't good then. So, when I came back to attend a talk on September 20th, 2012 (with the sun high above the buildings), I tried again.

This mural is at the south entrance:

Next, at the north side of the dining patio:

And along the back of the grill on the south side of the dining patio:

Sunday, December 02, 2012

Mr Head's patio

We don't usually show murals that aren't in a public place (where you have to pay or know someone to get in). But you can look over the front wall of the patio on the south side of Mr Head's Gallery & Bar, 509 N. 4th Avenue, to see this mural. I was there early in the morning of September 18th.

[By the way, I'm going to switch back to posting murals every other day. I'm getting ready to re-launch, Tucson Art Information. The site has listings of artists and photos of public art (not including murals, which will keep appearing here on the blog... there are lots more!). If you'd like to keep up with what's happening both here and on that site, you can check @TucsonArt — visit that link from time to time, or follow it on Twitter.]

Friday, November 30, 2012

Plaza San Judas (sort of)

This half-hidden mural is on the wall at the east end of a parking lot, just north of the building at 4115 S. 6th Avenue. I took the photo on September 16th.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Yerberia San Judas returns

Back in the spring of 2000, there was a store at 4107 South 6th Avenue named Yerberia San Judas. When I rode by during December, 2010, the store was named La Orquidea.

On September 16, 2012, I found Yerberia San Judas here again — but with a different building color and a different mural of San Judas:

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Maybe a mural, part 38: Plastering Lathing Stucco

I've ridden by the corner of South 10th Avenue & West 39th Street a zillion times on my bicycle. Somehow, though, I never noticed this wall:

I titled this post "maybe a mural" (as I do from time to time) because a wall that's so obviously advertising might not be "artistic" enough to be a mural. Or it might be. Either way, thanks to Mark Fleming for noticing, taking a photo, and sending it in!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Found on a fence in the Barrio Viejo, 2004

I snapped this photo on June 19, 2004. Unfortunately, I didn't write down where I took it... maybe Meyer Street? If you know, please leave a comment below or send me email.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Say what?

I spotted this speechless mural on the front of 51 N. 6th Avenue on September 18th. (The sidewalk in front of the store says Kelly's.)

Saturday, November 24, 2012

17th & Meyer in 2004

I've been looking through some of my older photos. (One was of the Luis Mena mural that we posted on Thursday.) In 2004, before I joined the Tucson Murals Project, I took several photos of this home at the southwest corner of 17th Street & Meyer Avenue:

I took this photo on June 19, 2004, from the building's southeast corner (along Meyer Street). I have a few others, too; if you'd like a copy, just ask!

Friday, November 23, 2012

McKenzie and the Chicago Store

This mural is gone — along with most (all?) of the other Chicago Store murals — thanks to construction that we showed on our September 30th post. We originally posted the mural photo, by Warren V, on November 23, 2008 — exactly four years ago. Here's more of the story.

The person in the mural was named McKenzie; I saw photos of her (including one of this mural, which I recognized right away) November 17th on a Día de los Muertos altar in Raices Taller 222 gallery. Her father was Mike Harrison; you can read about him in the Tucson Weekly article “The Mayor of Fourth Avenue.” I found an obituary of McKenzie Haggerty-Harrison on As the mural says (in lettering just to the left of the Chicago Store sign), she lived from September 23, 1987 to September 7, 2004. McKenzie died tragically after an amazing life. For instance, the mural's background is a Mayan design because the lived with the Mayans in Guatemala.

(The stories that murals tell... if only they all came with a history page attached! We'll do our best to find the stories and post them here on the Tucson Murals Project.) If you have anything to share about McKenzie or this mural, please leave a comment below or send me email.

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, of Mexican president Benito Juarez, 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 means August 18, 1981.) Mena was about 15 years old when he painted this mural! 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.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Centro del Sur

These murals are on the northeast corner of 27th Street & 10th Avenue. I took the photos on September 16th. The first mural is in the center; the second is at the north end, and the third is at the south:

Monday, November 19, 2012

House of Neighborly Service, front gate

We've posted three murals at the House of Neighborly Service, 243 W. 33rd St. in South Tucson: on building 1, building 2, and building 5.

This mural is newer than the others, I think. I found it on the front gate on September 16th.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Sweet Disney murals on Dulceria Arco Iris

At 135 W. Ajo Way, these murals of Mickey Mouse and Snow White lurk (sligntly) behind the bushes near the entrance to Dulceria Arco Iris.

I snapped these on a long loop ride through South Tucson September 16th.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Cartoon characters, balloons, and bears, oh my!

That twisted version of a childhood saying fits Balloon Land, at 137 W. 29th Street. They've upgraded their murals from the ones I photographed in 2010. Here are views starting from the north side and wrapping around to the south end of the west side:

I took these photos on September 16th.