Monday, June 28, 2010

Mural streets in San Francisco

A year ago, while Randy was in Iraq, he posted photos of murals in Baghdad. Although this blog focuses on Tucson murals, I agree that it's good to have some variety once in a while!

I'm in the San Francisco area this summer. The City's Mission District is absolutely packed with murals... especially on the mural streets like Balmy:

Residents here contribute by, for instance, decorating their windows to fit with the murals on the walls outside.

(By the way, one great place to see more details of the Bay Area is Naomi Pitcairn's Citi Wallz. She's a website client of mine. Still, if you're into urban art, I think you'll agree that her photos are outstanding.)

Balmy Street drew a steady stream of tourists and local visitors while I was there. Tucson could do more of the same...

Monday, June 21, 2010

Tasty murals at La Indita

The murals on the front of La Indita restaurant, 622 N. 4th Avenue, are as good as the food:

Monday, June 14, 2010

What It's All About

The Tucson Murals Project is all about beautifying Tucson and encouraging tourism, so we'd like to tell you about another blog that is doing the same thing, but in a different way. The Urban Peach blog describes itself this way: "Our speciality is in the restoration and development of some of the town's historic buildings to fit modern surroundings, while maintaining their original ambience." We've also added a link to Karen's Urban Peach blog in the column on the right. When it's about beautifying Tucson, the Tucson Murals Project is always excited to hear about it. Randy Garsee

Monday, June 07, 2010

Mighty mural at 6th & Perry

This mural covers the west side of the Steinfeld warehouse along the little piece of Perry Avenue, just south of 6th Street. (The actual address is 101 W. 6th.) I took this shot near sunset; that's the shadow of a tree at the bottom.

Update (October 30, 2014): You can see more photos on today's entry Steinfeld Warehouse revisited (and re-energized).

Monday, May 24, 2010

Tile on brick at W.V. Whitmore Elementary

Tucson-area schools are one of the best places to find murals. (Click on the "Search This Blog" button in the right column and type school.) W.V. Whitmore Elementary, on Glenn west of Craycroft, is no exception.

With all of the brick buildings in Tucson, though, Whitmore is different because their front-wall mural is tile on top of brick instead of paint. I'm not sure when these murals were created, but their message — and the message from the art on the other side of the windows they surround — is still relevant.

After months of posting mural photos most days of the week, it's time for me to take a break. I have a backlog of murals to post; I'll put one online here every week or so. If you'd like to contribute to everyone's enjoyment of Tucson's many murals, please send photos of your finds to Randy or me!

Update (February 15, 2014): Artist Robin Riley,, worked with students on this tile.

Update (July 25, 2016): Here are more murals at Whitmore.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Excess land with murals (and graffiti)

The Arizona Department of Transportation has been unloading downtown land and buildings. (Another example is the former Art's BBQ.)

This plot, tucked between 538 N. Stone (the first photo) and 546 N. Stone (the second), includes wraparound murals and a few "bonus" tags.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


This mural, on the side of a gallery at 1416 S. 6th Avenue, is about as simple as you can get. (To me, it's more than a generic "wall treatment" because the design isn't regular and it fits the wall and the windows.) The live cactus in front look great — especially with all the rain we've had this spring.

Update (November 15, 2012): Yesterday's post shows the east side of the building.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Ochoa Elementary, north side

Tucson muralist David Tineo helped students paint a building on the north side of the school in 1997:

A spot on the side wall lists students' names.

Update (October 23, 2012): There are more murals on the west side and the east side.

Ochoa Elementary, west side

Unless you're there during the school day, you'll see the long west wall of Ochoa School from a distance... you might want to bring binoculars. It's covered end to end with murals.

We're looking from 7th Avenue between 25th and 26th Streets... click for a bigger view (use your browser's "Back" button to come back):

Here's a part from near the middle of the wall.

Update (October 23, 2012): don't miss the long mural on the east side or the north-side mural by muralist David Tineo and students.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Goodbye, Casbah

I'm not into smoking hookahs, which was one of the main attractions of the Casbah Teahouse and Restaurant, 628 N. 4th Avenue. (If that's what you're looking for, maybe the best spot now is a block north and east at Smiley's Ultimate Hookah Lounge.) Still, this was one of the best places in town to enjoy a night outdoors — sometimes with entertainment from belly dancers, or simply from the other people who were there in the evening you happened to stop by.

Here are photos of the four pieces of art along the north-side passageway of this former Tucson nightspot. The top-right mural is signed signed Nov. 1993 P. Schricker and the one at the bottom right is signed J. Hartmann (c) '94.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Balloons on 29th

Here's one of the bright spots along 29th Street in South Tucson: Balloon Land, at the corner with 8th Avenue.

Update (November 17, 2012): There are new murals.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Hidden David Tineo

Tucson muralist David Tineo has works all over town. (To see more of them, search for Tineo in the search box near the top of the right column in this blog — and check back as we add more of them.) If you haven't seen his retrospective at the Tucson Museum of Art, it's open through July 4th.

This mural, on an empty building at the corner of 28th Street & 7th Avenue, is one of the projects he did with students. It's signed Rico mural project and Tineo 93.

(Update: An Arizona Daily Star article on July 6, 2008 by Ernesto Portillo Jr., Kids repaint graffiti-marred landmark mural: Youth-to-Youth program is rescuer, tells the story of kids repainting the 1993 mural.)

Friday, May 14, 2010

Next at the Rialto...

Joe Pagac's mural to the right of the (current) Cypress Hill mural (on the east wall at 318 E. Congress) is for Cage the Elephant on June 10th:

The shadows are from early-morning light.

Joe's website is

Update (May 15, 2010): Today the Arizona Daily Star published a story about Joe's murals — including this one. It's This Tucson artist sees the big picture.

Canceled mural

Muralist Joe Pagac has been painting a series of concert murals on the side of the Rialto Theatre, 318 E. Congress downtown. (You can find others in the table of murals.)

He painted one for the Cypress Hill concert on May 21... then, after Cypress Hill canceled the concert, he (or someone) painted a notice over the mural. The before-and-after views:

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Topping taggers

Got graffiti? You could try what neighbors at 10th & University did — painted murals over the black tags:

Update (July 3, 2017): The shaded spot in front of the dragon now has a table and some benches. (You can click there to see it on the Tucson's Pocket Parks blog.)

Trash replaced by tags

In September, 2008, Randy wrote about a mural on the corner of E. Toole Ave. & N. 7th Ave. (119 E. Toole) that was half-hidden by trash. The trash has been there every time I've gone by -- until this morning. Here's the view today:

Instead of garbage, there's graffiti. I've wondered whether there's some kind of tagging-resistant overcoat that muralists could paint onto their work when they're done -- like the graffiti-stopping paint that's used on some downtown walls? It's too late in this case, I'm afraid...

(Update: When I rode by on November 25, 2010, the mural was gone.)

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Maybe a mural, part six

In the past month, Randy and I have been talking about exactly what a mural is. That's part of what got me started on this "maybe a mural" series of posts. Yesterday I finally came up with a definition. I wrote "I've thought of a mural as art applied directly to a wall — as long it's not hung on (like a framed picture) or basically just a repeating pattern (like the geometric designs of mountains and etc. that run down some of the walls and bridges on freeways)."

So, of course, this morning I'm out on my bicycle in the Dunbar/Spring neighborhood (a great place for murals)... and what do I see?

Right: a mural with a wooden frame around it, mounted so it looks like it's hanging on a galvanized metal wall — on Ferro Avenue at 7th Street. (It's signed LA Hook.)

Whatever. :)

Maybe a mural, part five

The building at 191-197 East Toole is covered with contradictions. Are these tagging, doodles, or art? Here's the northeast wall, from the top of the 6th Avenue underpass:

The southeast side has these three:

Brilliant? Blasphemous? Boring? What do you think?

(The building also houses Skrappy's — and has another wild mural on its northwest wall.)

Maybe a mural, part four

Back on April 21, I posted the first three of this "maybe a mural" series. (If you missed them, you can go to the April posts and scroll down a bit.) Here's another example. I might call it a doodle instead of a mural: smoke-like curls and a business name. It's on Hoff, at the southwest corner with 7th Street.

(Update: I rode by here again on October 19, 2010. The wall is covered with white paint.)