Friday, June 30, 2017

Murals being made, part 46c: Tucson's biggest

This project, which has taken around three months from start to finish (with muralist Joe Pagac's wedding and honeymoon in the middle), was finished a week ago! This is the third of three blog entries showing the changes as he worked. In case you haven't seen the earlier two entries, Part 46a covers March 27 to April 9, and Part 46b shows April 12th to the 25th. (His wedding was on the 22nd, so I assume he was outta town by the 25th.)

(By the way: Media reports have claimed that this is Tucson's biggest mural. Maybe that's true when you count the height, but I wonder whether the huge mural on 9th Avenue is longer? And, if you count groups of murals as one big mural, places like Oury Park (made of mosaic tiles, which may have fallen apart by now); the block-long group of murals that run in the wash between 1st and 2nd Streets near Alvernon & Speedway; and of course the super-long murals along Stone Avenue north of Limberlost: All may be bigger by some measure. But I digress. :)

Let's start with the lonely-looking scene on May 8th. The gravel parking lot at the left edge has typically had at least a couple of cars in it as Joe worked. Joe's van would be parked a bit past the parking lot, farther from the left edge. And his “cherry picker” (hydraulic lift) would be somewhere near the mural. But, for a month or so, the scene looked a lot like this (without the clouds...):

The right half:

I think Joe's honeymoon lasted about a month. I stopped by from time to time for signs of progress. May 29th, around 3pm, the hydraulic lift was on-site again. But I couldn't see any obvious changes:

June 1st, I could tell Joe was back in town. The bicycle wheels on the right half had been painted in:

We've been following the javelina's bicycle outline coming and going. Here it is, still missing its frame and handlebars:

The tortoise's front wheel has bits of spokes, but the back wheel doesn't:

By early afternoon on June 4th, the bicycles on the left half were taking shape, and bikes on the other side had shadows. (In real life, the shadows would all be pointing in the same direction — not spread around in an arc. But this isn't real life, is it?? :)

The javelina's bike had a frame and handlebars by 4 pm on June 6th:

And both wheels of the tortoise's bike have the same ghostly spokes as other bikes do:

In this overall view, the lift in front of the left side frames the bikes that are taking shape there:

I walked over to the lift and grabbed a few shots:

The next morning, June 7th, Joe posted a sunrise photo on Facebook. He'd worked through the night of June 6th. Here it is, courtesy of Damion Alexander:

Near 1 pm on June 8th, the bikes on the left side looked almost finished. The man's road bike is missing part of its frame. The woman is missing her left hand and the pedal of what looks like an old one-speed bike.

This view of the left half, taken from the right side, shows almost everything looking finished except for (maybe) the woman's left pedal on June 10th. (Maybe it's behind the piece of wood or whatever seems to be in front of that part of her bike? I never walked up to check.)

Here's the whole mural on June 11th. This photo is a fair amount bigger than most of the ones in this blog entry, so it's especially worthwhile clicking on it for more detail:

Let's jump back to our first entry, Part 46a. Here's a replay of the first photo, which shows Jennifer Martinez on March 27th holding Joe's idea of how the mural would look a few months later. (I've straightened the mural print and removed everything around it — including Jennifer.):

When I compare this original version with the basically-finished version on June 11th, I don't find many differences. One looks like what seem to be multiple suns, one between each of the peaks of the mountain range that starts behind the animals and merges into the woman's dress; they're higher in the sky on the final version than the original. (By the way, don't you love the way that different parts of this design flow into each other — like the mountains into the woman's dress and her hair into a starry night?) The suns are a white-hot color instead of the saturated yellow in the original. And the shadows on the right side are more blue than gray.

On Facebook June 16th, I found a photo that he posted at 8am: Joe in a hazmat suit ready to spray clearcoat over the mural to preserve it. I asked his permission to show the photo here, but I haven't heard from him. You can click there to be taken to the photo on Facebook.

Now for the last part of this saga. I'd been watching a blank rectangle near the bottom right corner. Here it was on June 11th:

It stayed the same each time I checked it in the next week. But, on June 18th, names appeared:

I had thought that this might be the place Joe would sign his mural. But these must be the names of the people who made financial contributions to get the mural onto the wall! On the 18th, the bottom two-thirds had been filled with Silver Donors and Bronze Donors.

On June 19th, a photo popped up on Facebook:

Grace Celeste posted that photo with her fiance Thomas Sullivan, and she gave us permission to show it here.

Look more closely at the bottom of the panel full of names. It seems that Joe painted a wedding proposal from Grace to Thomas:

(Obviously, Thomas accepted.) What a romantic story!

I watched Facebook for news from Joe saying that he'd finished, but there wasn't any. I stopped by on the 19th and found the same panel (with no sign of Thomas and Grace …); the top part was still empty. But, around 7 AM on June 21st — almost two months to the day since he'd hoped to have it finished (April 22nd, his wedding) — the panel was finished:

(To help you see individual names, that photo is especially large. I've also sharpened it and added some contrast to make the names easier to read. The actual panel has more muted color.)

And Joe had signed his name at the bottom left:

Here it is — again, especially wide to show detail if you click on the photo:

Whatta project!! Congratulations to Joe Pagac, all of his sponsors and Epic Rides. Once the Downtown Links road goes through this area, I'll bet there'll be a phenomenal view of this mural and CyFi’s huge one a couple of blocks away.

Next time (Monday, July 3rd), I'll post some closeups.

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