Tuesday, May 09, 2023

Ready to Rock (the Spot)

October 14-16, 2022, talented artists from around the US got together to fill the blank walls in this parking lot with murals:
That's from the current front page of RockTheSpotAZ.com. “The Spot” is the Pueblo Parking Systems lot between Congress and Pennington, just east of Stone.

Our previous blog post — Tucson graffiti art, 1994 — tells some of the story behind Rock the Spot. For instance, Albert Soto of TPAC (a predecessor of today's Arts Foundation for Tucson and Southern AZ) arranged a trip to Italy; there are details in the Albert Soto tribute page on the Rock the Spot website). The trip connected Tucson artists with others from around the world.

For a long time, Monty “Ses” Esposito had the idea of muralists painting an area — which later happened in the parking lot now known for Rock the Spot. Ses talked with many people, but the idea never resonated with anyone until he talked with Demo (Joshua Behshad).

Nothing came of Ses’ idea until he helped paint a wall on Grant west of Campbell… see our October, 2021 blog entry Día de Los Muertos on Grant Road. That mural got news attention. A woman approached Ses to say that they had space to paint downtown and showed him the parking lot. Time passed. Ses remembered the parking lot owners (Pueblo Parking Systems); they loved the idea of Rock the Spot. Another important player was Demo, a guy who gets things done, Ses told me. Demo was a big part of Rock the Spot.

A mostly empty lot

On to 2022. Until the painting, there were two murals at opposite ends of the Pueblo Parking Systems lot: Danny Martin's mural at the far right — and, behind the camera, at the northeast end of the parking lot, a mural by Rachel, Tim and Alexandra. Here's a video “tour” of the parking lot before it was painted:

Links to the video above: Sequence 01 (Rock The Spot parking lot) from Joshua Behshad on Vimeo.

Before the lot was painted, the Google Maps Street view shows it mostly empty. These two angles show it first from the south side along Congress, then from the north side along Pennington:

On this blog October 10th, we announced the upcoming event. The post has a promotional ”poster” and overall info: Rock the Spot: Graffiti art festival October 14-16

Parking lot primed

Before artists started working, the walls were painted with dividing lines to show where each artist — or group of artists — could paint:

Thanks to Ses for those four photos.

Another Rock the Spot is planned for this year (2023). The date should be announced in September.

Our next blog post will show photos of the finished murals. Here, I'd like to acknowledge the artists who came to paint in 2022.

The artists

I don't have a complete list of artists. Below are the signatures I could spot when I took photos just as most of the painting had been finished, October 17, 2022. I mostly walked clockwise around the parking lot, starting at the next mural north of Danny Martin's PARKING mural — but not every signature is in order. A lot of the signatures are Instagram account handles (starting with @, like @tucson.art):

(@jeks_nc painted the mural with three views of Linda Ronstadt. If you haven't seen it already, it's in our next post. His Instagram page — click there — shows lots of similar murals.)

Next: The (almost) finished murals

In the next post, you'll see the murals almost done — most of them finished, and leftover equipment etc. around the parking lot.

Update (May 12, 2023): The 30+ finished murals (and a few not finished) are in today's post This Spot (was) Rocked.

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