Monday, January 11, 2010

Dressing up a drab corner

Got a boring brick wall on your business? Why not hire a mural painter to dress it up? That's what John Jacob's El Parador (2744 E. Broadway) did with the southeast corner of their building:

The works are signed "Tineo '09". I'm guessing this is David Tineo, the Tucson muralist. (By the way, he'll have a retrospective at the Tucson Museum of Art opening on February 27, 2010.)

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Undisputed urban art

Call it tagging on steroids, or ugly, or brilliant, or whatever you feel... but there's no missing the walls filled with murals at Undisputed Fitness & Training, 1240 N. Stone. Both sides of the vacant lot south of the building are wrapped with art:

Santa shows up a couple of places around that lot. Here's a bit of the building's south wall:

The building's east wall -- which used to have Arnold Schwarzenegger alone and with company -- has been repainted since the summer. It's a different style than the south wall:

Love it? Loathe it? Either way, the artist(s) put a lot of work into these walls.

Update: The venue for all of this graffiti art is the annual Winta Fresh. There's more in our post from July 6, 2011.

Mural in the mesquite

I just came across these photos from a year ago (January, 2009). I remember riding by this mural, which is on a wall around a storage tank on Treat at Waverly, and wondering which came first: mesquite or mural?

Did the neighbors decide mesquite looked better than the mural? Or has the mesquite grown taller since the mural went up? (The bushes seem too close to the wall for painters to do their work.) If you know the real story, please post a comment or send email.

St. Ambrose School

You'll find this mural above an entrance to the St. Ambrose Catholic School at 300 S. Tucson Blvd..

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Church art, part 2

Muralist Jim Ru (see Randy's previous post) told us that the mural he painted at American Evangelical Lutheran Church also has a flip side -- on the other side of the wall, inside the patio. So I stopped by 115 N. Tucson Blvd. (the corner of 10th) with my camera:

The church has more art outside, too -- though it wasn't painted by Mr. Ru. You'll see a rainbow at the end of the west-side parking lot... which leads to you the northern wall with painted panels:

Friday, January 08, 2010

Love One Another: A Muralist Comes Forward

This mural originally appeared on the Tucson Murals Project in March 2008. Here's the original post, followed by an update:
This Christian message can be found "on northbound Tucson Blvd just north of Broadway. This mural is still there."
Submitted by Neil R. Amstutz

Now the update:
The muralist is Jim Ru. He recently e-mailed to explain the inspiration. "Hey and thanks for [the Tucson Murals Project]. It's really great. I actually considered doing the same thing many years ago when I lived in Tucson. The city is so full of mural art and it was undocumented," Ru wrote in the e-mail. Ru said he painted the mural the week of the invasion of Iraq "as a message to those driving by." He also added, "I love showing off your web site to people showing them all the amazing murals in Tucson. More cities should be so lucky. Jim"
And thank you, Mr. Ru. I hope this encourages more muralists and/or mural enthusiasts to view the Tucson Murals Project, let us know the name of the muralist (if it isn't posted), and contribute or pass along our web site. Tucson's murals are a true asset to the Old Pueblo. Thanks, Randy Garsee

Saturday, January 02, 2010


Maybe you didn't know that the sounds animals make are written different ways in different languages? (See Derek Abbott's Animal Noise Page for a list.)

Anyway, I used to do a lot of traveling overseas. When I saw this mural of happy pets on the front of Creature Comforts Pet Resorts (2104 E. 13th St., at Olsen), I was thinking of (what turned out to be) the French spelling of the noise cats make, miaou... and then I thought of how a cat might say "mural". Once I got home, I found out that cats in the US say meow instead, but I decided to go ahead with that wacky French/English title for this post. Whatever...

(Hey, it's not easy to come up with titles for a hundred different murals! :)

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Mural or mess?

There are lots of different definitions of "art," and urban art (a.k.a. graffiti, a.k.a. tagging) can be tough to call. As I ride around Tucson on my bike, I see plenty of ugly graffiti. So what about something like this?

(This is on the back of the building at 3591 E. Golf Links, at the corner with Richey Blvd; I shot it from the vacant lot west of 3602 E. 34th St.)

I don't have an exact definition. If it seems to me like the painter(s) put some thought into the design, and it looks "artistic" (whatever that means), I snap it... and let you decide.

Happy 2010 — and new decade — everyone!

Friday, December 25, 2009

BBQ at Bristol and Bikeway

South of 22nd Street, between Country Club and Tucson, is Eastmoor Park. It has a playground, a big grassy area, as well as picnic tables with mosaic murals on the ends and grills next to them:

It's a good place for a (small) family barbecue — or to take a break from a bike ride along Aviation Bikeway, which runs along the south edge of the park. It was deserted on the cool Christmas Day I rode by on my bicycle, but it'd be great in spring and fall; there's not much shade at the tables in summertime.

The bikeway has bits of public art and murals along it, like these four mosaics... unfortunately, a tagger trashed one of them. (As always, you can click for a larger view. Use your browser's "Back" button to come back.)

Update (November 9, 2011): A memorial mural has popped up on the wall along the northwest edge of the park.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Thanks for the art

These sunny scenes decorate a home on Mountain Avenue, at the northwest corner with Seneca. (A great way to get a good look is on a bicycle — from the bike lane along Mountain.)

Thanks to the homeowner for brightening the block!

A long mural along Prince

My camera couldn't capture all of this lonngggg mural between a parking lot and the fields at Amphi Middle School. It's across the street from 332 E. Prince.

Update (July 28, 2019): The mural style, and that fact that it's at a school, makes me think that it was created by muralist David Tineo with help from students.

Bright spot along the tracks

The front of the building that houses Originate natural building materials, at 526 N. 9th Avenue (between 5th and 6th Streets), is lined with a scene of mountains under a blue sky:

Friday, December 18, 2009

Beautifying a brick wall

No matter what shape it takes, some paint can improve a plain brick wall — as you can see at 127 N. 2nd Avenue, near the corner of 9th Street.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

6,000 Tucsonans in the 4th Avenue underpass

It's not the crowd for the 4th Avenue Street Fair or the hundreds of runners and walkers from Meet Me at Maynard's. It's the faces of Tucsonans that (eventually will) line the walls of the underpass on panels.

The right-hand photo shows the title tile. It's at the southwest end of the tunnel. (As always, you can click on it for a larger view.)

The Tucson Portrait Project took the photos, and the murals are appearing one by one. Want to find someone? Type their first name into the search box at Then choose a face from the group of images you get to see a larger version and the person's name, as well as which of the panels you'll find it on.

You can see some of the photographer's favorite portraits and the artist statement on the Conrad Wilde Gallery page about the project.

Update (July 28, 2019): Those last two links are broken, but we've left them here for historical reasons. Unfortunately, the Project was never finished.

Rialto's short-time mural?

This mural on the Rialto Theatre greets people driving into downtown from the east. It's for the Sonic Youth concert on January 4th. After that, what will fill the space? (Check back with us... try the list of mural locations.) Joe Pagac painted it.

At the other end of the wall is another mural that's been there longer — and probably will stay longer, too.

Urban art on Herbert

You'll find this mural just south of 6th Street on Herbert Avenue (which is an alley a block west of Fourth Avenue).

First mural in "kindness corridor"

Last week, Philadelphia mosaic artist Isaiah Zagar led a team of volunteers to put up the first of a planned series of murals around the University of Arizona. The theme is kindness, and the murals should eventually stretch along University Blvd. and Fourth Avenue into downtown. The idea came from Ben's Bells founder Jeannette Maré-Packard. This first mural wraps around walls on the north side of a parking lot on Tyndall Avenue southeast of the corner with University (the back sides of the Campus Athletic store):

A closer view (two people; the one at left is wearing a hat):

And a closeup of the separate mural at the far right of the first photo above... I count at least three (or five?) animals in it:

Part of the mural are pieces of mirror. Stand close to see yourself and the scene behind you:

Update (May 13, 2012): There are new kindness murals in the works. See our post from earlier this morning, Kindness, part 2.

Update (August 6, 2015): Today we posted photos “A bit farther east…”

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Moving murals

On December 7, I spotted the Arizona Daily Star article Tucson Oddity: Graffiti-covered boxcars, site now store parts for old trolleys. About ten years ago, the story said, Old Pueblo Trolley let winners of a graffiti art contest paint the boxcars. The cars -- stored in a fenced lot at 10 N. Park Avenue, are about to be re-painted to look like they did in the mid-1950s. I grabbed my camera and got out there around noon yesterday:

The lot's fence is high, topped with razor wire, and you can't see much through it. Luckily, the gate was open. I walked in, chatted with two men who came out of the building that opens onto the lot, and I walked right up next to the cars. Here are two views of the mural on the south side (the far side of the right-hand boxcar in the first photo above):

The back of the other boxcar was harder to see -- close to the fence and half in shade. Here's what I got:

This is one more view -- facing the inside (northwest) corner of the two boxcars in the first photo, looking through a dilapidated trolley:

Soon these murals will be part of Tucson history. (By the way, a good place I've found to read and discuss Tucson history is at Vanishing Tucson.)

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Public Art at PCC East

The east campus of Pima Community College, 8181 E. Irvington Road, has public art around the grounds -- including modern sculpture along some of the central walks. Here are two murals.

Half-hidden mural

This tile mural at the William Clements Recreation Center, 8155 E. Poinciana Drive, was probably easier to see before the plants in front of it were as high as they are now.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Mystery murals

I call these "mystery murals" because I took a photo of them but didn't write where they were. I put a note on this blog, and mural-spotter extraordinare Warren V wrote back right away to tell me that they're on the east side of Stone, just north of Glenn. Thanks, Warren!

Tucson Mountains in Midtown

If you can't make it to the west side of town to see the Tucson Mountains close-up, try the southwest corner of E. Fort Lowell Road and N. Mountain Avenue. (This photo is from early morning on May 19, 2009.)

You can see this mural under construction in an entry from September 14, 2006.

Culture changes

Back in July, 2008, Warren V sent us a photo of Solar Culture Gallery at 31 E. Toole. Almost a year later, May 2009, that scene had changed. Here's a closeup of the new mural.

(Update: The mural had changed again by November, 2010.)

Monday, November 30, 2009

Arnold has company

Back in July of 2006, Randy snapped this photo of Arnold Schwarzenegger standing by himself on the back of the building at 1240 N. Stone Avenue.

This past May, as I was surveying all of the murals for the list of murals by location, I saw that the wall around Arnold was now filled with urban art:

(As always, you can click on the photo for a larger view. Use your browser's "back" button to come back here.)

This is one of a batch of photos I just found. I'll post more when I get a chance...

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Park along Park to see...

...this mural along a parking lot south of 375 Park Avenue. It's not easy to find, but here's a Google Maps satellite view that marks the spot. If you're driving, head along the Park Avenue Expressway and turn into the buildings just north of the Basket Bridge. Or, if you're on a bicycle, look east from the north end of the Basket Bridge — which is where I took this photo. (Remember that you can click on any photo for a larger view.)

Parking by an ocean...

...with a fanciful underwater (?) forest of saguaro and fish, or the sign of the now-closed Grande Tortilla Factory, or a train's smoke billowing a sea monster into the sky... it's all on the wall along the parking lot just west of the Tucson Museum of Art, along Paseo Redondo, east of Granada.

There are more murals around the corner.

You can't miss this mural...

…though somehow we haven't put it onto this blog yet. It's on the east side of the entrance to Hotel Arizona, just at the place where Broadway and Congress merge.

(Update: Luis Mena painted this. There's more about him and the mural in the August 14, 2007 Tucson Citizen article Buildings are his canvases. You can also find an earlier story — from September 28, 2000, as the mural was being painted — in the Tucson Citizen archives: A brush with history. Unfortunately, those photos were lost.)

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Seniors shine at Freedom Inn

Weekdays between 8:30 AM and 3 PM, you can walk in the entrance to the Freedom Inn at Ventana Canyon, 5660 N. Kolb, check in at the front desk, walk down the hall, and be taken away to New York, China, Egypt, and more. (San Francisco is coming soon.)

This is thanks to staff member Pam Stafford and, especially, the residents and their memories of the places they've been. (Many of the people who live at Freedom Inn are world travelers, Pam told me.)

Keeling neighborhood shines along Glenn

Glenn, just west of 1st Avenue is filled with public art. The photo above is part of a wraparound mural at the corner of York Place. (Yes, someone defaced that face in the foreground. Sad, isn't it, that some taggers have so little pride in their neighborhoods?) Just above the curb at the corners of the next two blocks west — Los Altos and Hopi — are small murals like this one:

As if the murals weren't enough, the island in the middle of Glenn is lined with colorful posts.

Thanks, Keeling neighborhood, for brightening a bit of Glenn!