Ses told me the story of the place (on the north side of the wall; you can see the south side in that previous post). There used to be a house that burned down. The site became more and more run-down until a group of muralists got together to clean it up and paint. The group when I was there on April 3rd was chill: I felt right at home with a bunch of friendly people, ages from children up to (I'm guessing) 50s and 60s.
I'd never heard of Barrio Restoration until Ses told me that they came to the site after the big cleanup and hauled away the mountain of trash. Here's their Facebook page. A year ago, KOLD-TV News 13 and Casino del Sol named Barrio Restoration one of “Arizona’s Heart and Sol.” After the day's painting finished, Barrio Restoration posted the video below, “To the hood from the hood. Carne Asada vibes with the homies today.” (If you can't see it, here's a link to their Facebook video.)
Like several other muralists I met there, Ses has been painting in Tucson since the 1990s. He said that, back then, when Tucsonans saw people painting urban art, they'd be afraid, as if they were in danger. That's completely changed: Now people stop by, say hi and visit for a while. (He's also painted more-traditional murals, like the Greetings from ARIZONA mural we showed on October 8, 2021.
Artists paintingThe mural theme was outer space. I took some photos while the artists were painting, then came back after it was done. First, during painting. As I said, the artists were of all ages:
It looks like the artist in the last photo was painting a galaxy or something else spacey within the letters. I was interested to see the finished mural — actually, all of the murals — when I came back in a few days.
(Note that although everyone was painting legally here, some graffiti artists don't want their faces shown. So I took all photos from behind.)
The finished wallI came back on April 5th and 6th to take photos of the completed murals. Let's start with a three-photo overview:
The wall is L-shaped; the short side runs from north to south, then turns at the corner with the long side from east to west. When I came back on April 5th, a homeless man had set up camp in the corner of the L. The past weekend, the artists gave him one of their tents, he told me. The tent covered some bits of artwork, but nothing as finished-looking as the rest of the murals. He does the same as the artists: walks the alleys and cleans them up. They come by fairly often to paint; he gets to watch.
Below are photos from the left (north) end to the right (west). First, two murals near the ground with a subway car mural at the top. The top mural was there so each artist can paint their tag on a car — just like a subway car in, say, New York City. (I don't support painting ilegally, but it's true that a lot of muralists got started that way. I talked with a couple of artists here who did. Another is Rock “Cyfi” Martinez… I read his story in the old Tucson Citizen newspaper many years ago.)
The two murals above, under the train, by themselves:
The next three from left (north) to right (south):
Along the long wall, from east (left) to west (right):
The artists keep refreshing this wall — and the other (south) side too. When you're on 6th Avenue, turn west on 36th (there's street parking) and check out the latest.