Monday, June 13, 2016

(Downtown) Murals being made, part 31: Niki Glen

Starting with an introductory meeting on April 28, the Downtown Murals Project brightened downtown with eight new murals. This entry and the next seven will show the murals from start to finish.

In this first entry, we'll see artist Niki Glen's mural being made. It's at the corner of 5th & Toole Avenues. Here's a part of a Tucson 12 video on the Downtown Murals Project showing an interview with Niki, and she and her friends working on the mural. Click on the video to view it fullscreen:

Tucson Mural Program (you can click there to view the whole video fullscreen) from City of Tucson on Vimeo.

Niki's mural is special because it wraps around a box-like airshaft to something underground (parking, maybe?). Let's look at photos. The mural started the same way that all of the others did: a white primer coat applied (and supplied) by Graffiti Protective Coatings. Here are the south side, then the north side, on May 1st:

The south side has a jog in the middle; the north side has a pole at its middle.

As you'll see in the next blog entries, different artists worked at different paces. Fast-forward a week to May 8th. The north side has the design sketched on the left (east) end of the wall:

The south side was partly blocked by porta-potties at the right (east) end — probably for an event that weekend — but the design at the left end was really taking shape. Here are an overview and a closeup showing the middle of the left half:

I drove by on May 10th and saw artists at work. Naturally, I pulled over in a hurry :) and introduced myself. Niki and another artist, Judy Van Naerssen, had some nice shade set up (which most of the other artists didn't). Here are Judy sketching with charcoal and Niki applying paint to the design:

May 14th, there was lots of color on the south side (where you saw Niki painting, above), an outline on the east side, and some color on the north:

(As always, you can click on a photo for a larger view.)

Near sunset on May 19th, the mural looked almost finished. Here's the north side, left (east) and right (west) ends:

In the next photo, you can see that the east end isn't painted yet; the rest of the photo shows the right (north) side:

The last views of May 19th are of the south side — first the west (left) end and then the east:

May 30th: Right on schedule, I think we're done! (I didn't ask Niki, but the mural looks complete to me.) I'll start with a view from the southeast:

(The nice illumination and color balance are thanks to the great RAW mode in my Panasonic Lumix “point-and-shoot” camera and the compensation I can do in the free Silkypix Developer Studio 4.4 SE editing software.)

Next, from the southwest corner, looking east:

(Here's another photo-geek note. The shade/sun balance in this photo is thanks to the Lumix HDR mode — which lots of digital cameras have these days. I used the free GIMP editor to juice up the saturation, which made the mural look more like it actually did to me.)

Last, the north side of the mural: left (east), then right (west). I took one photo, but I'll split it into two pieces so you can see more detail:

I can't wait to show you the other seven murals! Stay tuned these coming four weeks.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

The man who has no imagination has no wings...

Google Alerts caught a Friday story on Tucson News Now:

       Tucson artist honors Muhammad Ali with mural

I emailed a link to David Aber. He lives not far away from Smitty's Car Wash (off of Sarnoff and Broadway), and he just sent me two photos…

I searched the Web for muhammad ali quotes and (of course :) came up with plenty. The title of this blog entry is one of them.

Here's Dave's close-up:

If/when we get a photo of mural with the bottom completed, I'll update this blog entry.

Update (June 28, 2016): David sent a photo of the completed mural yesterday. It wasn't easy to fit the whole mural into a single photo, but he did it.

(You're “the champ,” David! Thanks!)

Saturday, June 11, 2016

IMDS' pop-up mural on Sixth Avenue

Yesterday, I saw a photo and tweet about a new mural:

(Blogger didn't want me to use Twitter's “Embed Tweet” feature, so I copied the photo and made a screen grab of the tweet.) Anyway, I tweeted back to Becky to ask where the mural was. But then I zooomed in on the photo and saw a “Congress Street” sign in the background, which was a good clue. I was downtown this evening; I found the mural just after sunset, across 6th Avenue from the Ronstadt Transit Center, just north of Congress:

The “imago dei” at the right side was enough to lead me to this Facebook entry from Imago Dei Middle School:

Imago Dei Middle School, Tucson added 5 new photos.
June 7 at 12:23pm

The exuberant students on the right side of the mural echo a photo of graduates at the top of the IMDS Facebook page.

The mural looks to be on a construction wall in front of the old “The Arizona Hotel” (which I found on a Google Street View image from April 2015). So, see it while you can.

Thursday, June 09, 2016

Skateboarding danger!

There used to be a skateboard shop named BLX on this corner. They had different local artists paint a mural, every month or two, behind a skate-able bench. You could jump your board onto the bench and ride across the front of the mural.

If you'd like to see the BLX murals, use the mural search box (at the right side of this blog — or, more reliably, the box near the top of the murals page)… then search for BLX.

BLX is gone. (Last I saw their place, they'd moved closer to 4th Avenue.) Their (literally! :) rotating murals are gone, too. In their place for the past months — starting, at least, when I snapped this photo on March 5th — is this menacing (I'm pretty sure it's a) leopard. (I made my guess by doing a Bing Images search for leopard jaguar panther difference.)

I don't think I'd be too comfortable riding a board past that. :)

Update (June 17, 2016): The Arizona Daily Star article 9 new murals in downtown scream TUCSON has a long sidebar with much more information about the mural and artist Kati Astraeir (who — at least, a couple of years ago — had a studio in that building… see her amazing rotating artwork for Burning Man at the end of our blog entry here: New on Toole in 2013 (and Happy 2014!)). Although Kati's mural was included in the article as one of the new downtown murals, the article didn't include other recent murals downtown — for instance, Joe Pagac's mural, and another artist's stencils, commemorating Prince. Whatever… the article has lots of great information about muralists and their work downtown.
Update (December 2, 2017): I just found the Center for Biological Diversity 2016 page about this mural's unveiling: Tucson Mural Honoring America's Only Known Jaguar to Be Unveiled May 19.
Update (August 19, 2019): The mural is gone; there's just a rough patch of wall in its place.

Monday, June 06, 2016

Tile surprise at Pima County Extension

A fun tile mural is near the parking lot at Pima County Extension on Campbell just south of the Rillito. (Click there to open the page with more photos and details on the gardens. It's part of the Tucson's Pocket Parks blog.)

I snapped the photo on May 14th during one of the Saturday tours.

Thursday, June 02, 2016

A few bold underwater humans and alien fish (?)

The mural on the northwest wall of 191 E. Toole (next to the parking lot) used to have a bizarre but also oddly welcoming scene of what looked like exterrestrial beings mixed into classic Tucson Scenes. That was back when the Skrappy's youth center occupied the building. That mural mostly disappeared around the time that another organization took over. Then the “Be Bold.” mural appeared, with parts of the formal extraterrestrial mural around the edges. Here's the photo I snapped on March 5th:

(I'd actually seen the Be Bold mural before the newer one, which is in the back of that photo above. You can see the Be Bold mural at the end of the May 5th entry.)

Here's a closeup. (As always, you can click for a larger view.)

Update (March 29, 2017): The underwater mural with the clown fish is by Joe Pagac.

Updates (November 24, 2017): Today's entry Much better photos of Joe Pagac's underwater mural has closeups.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Maybe a mural, part 68

From time to time, we come across a flat piece of art that isn't actually painted on the wall. Or maybe it's on a wall, but it has a three-dimensional part. What's a mural purist to do? I don't know about you, but I throw up my hands, say “whatever”… and let you decide what you think. (To me, this question smacks of the typical academic discussion “That isn't art!” “Yes, that is art! Consider [some art expert]’s definition.” I say: If you look it it, and you like it or don't, at least you'll have seen something you haven't before… fairly flat and probably on a wall. ;-) In the meantime…

This was on the outside east wall of the building housing George Strasburger's studio, March 5. It was hung on a wooden frame, so who knows when it will go? (I saw it again a few weeks ago.)

Friday, May 27, 2016

When we update murals...

… we usually add a note at the end of the old blog entry, titled “Updated:”, with the date we added the update and a sentence or two about it.

Blogger seems to have changed that. It used to be that an updating a post would simply change the page. Now Blogger has started emailing a copy of the entire updated article, as if it were new. (If you don't recognize the post, look at the bottom of it for the update (which I add by hand) and the original posting date (which Blogger adds), such as:
Update (January 7, 2014) Mark Fleming came back to shoot photos of some new murals here in WintaFresh 2013 revisited.

Posted By Jerry Peek to The Tucson Murals Project at 2/16/2013 10:46:00 PM

Thursday, May 26, 2016

So long, WintaFresh

When muralist Rock Martinez lived in Tucson, he hosted a yearly weekend of mural painting — with artists from around the country — on the vacant lot south of Und1sputed Fitness on Stone (a bit north of Speedway). The walls have been filled with great urban art every year. But Rock moved to Minnesota a year ago or so. Some of the murals from WintaFresh 2013, including some later murals that Mark Fleming found in January 2014, stayed (mostly?) up for a while. When I stopped by on February 4th, 2016, some of the murals had changed and some were the same.

The north side of the lot (the south side of Und1sputed Fitness) looked about the same:

But the south side of the lot was completely different. Here it is, from left (east) to right (west):

When I drove by a couple of weeks ago, I noticed (out of the side of my eye… I remember landmarks by their murals) that (at least) the south wall has changed. I'll go back, when the friendly people at Und1sputed let me into their lot (they always do), then I'll show you what I find.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Rain Crow Gallery

The gallery also has Web listings as Rain Crow Coffee. When I was there on February 4th, I didn't smell any coffee…

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Edge High School, part 10 of 10

We've been trying for more than two months — since our first entry on March 11th — to show all of the murals around this place that's basically an art overload (in a good way, of course :). I'll bet there are more murals inside, but I didn't try looking for those. (I've been hoping for a few years now to get permission from TUSD and other schools to photograph murals inside their buildings. But we keep finding so many murals outside other buildings that there never seems to be time.)

This last part of the series shows the far right-hand side of the long wall mural(s) along the alley behind the eegee's on that south side of Speedway. The first of these four shows pretty clearly that eegee's and Dunn Edwards sponsored the mural. (Dunn Edwards contributes to a lot of murals around Tucson. As a result, I try to buy all of my home paint from them. Good people.)

I think that some of those graffiti-like letters aren't artists' initials, but rather taggers trashing these students' exuberant work. Sigh.

P.S. This blog's tenth anniversary is coming in July. Watch for a special series of murals then!

Monday, May 16, 2016

Shoe tree

Here's a fun play on words… or art… or both. In case you don't recognize a shoe tree, this fun mural has another take on it.

It's on the east side of Alan's Shoe House. I hoofed it over here (after spotting it from my car and slamming on the brakes) November 28, 2015.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Monterey Court

Monterey Court was a motel. It now consists of studio galleries, specialty shops and a cafe.

Click on the photo for a larger view.
Photographed on 1/21/2016.

Monday, May 09, 2016

Edge High School, part 9 of ??

In Part 8, we were showing a series of murals along the alley wall between the school and the eegee's location on the south side of Speedway. Here are another few murals farther along (to the right of the previous murals):

As you can see, that last panel shows artists' names.

We'll wrap up this series (photographed November 6, 2015) next time. See you then!

Thursday, May 05, 2016

Prince tributes from Tucson artists (and stencil-ists)

The musician (sometimes known as) Prince, who lived in Minnesota’s Twin Cities, passed away last month. His death brought an outpouring of love. Muralists commemorated him. One was Tucsonan Joe Pagac who tweeted (from ‏@JoePagac) April 29th:
Just finished my #prince mural downtown. #princemural #princeart
The photo he tweeted looked like the side of the Rialto Theatre, where Joe has painted murals (on the northeast corner) for years. I rode over on May 1st and found it next to his always-changing event murals:

A close-up of the Prince mural:

The first story I heard about murals dedicated to Prince was a story about muralist Rock Martinez. I searched more today. Rock moved to Bloomington, Minnesota — in the Twin Cities area — a year or so ago. As Rock told me last week, his Prince mural in Minneapolis went viral online after the singer's death. Two news articles:
I also found a couple of stenciled tributes to Prince on the walls of the building at the northern corner of Toole and 6th Avenues. South first, then north:

The second stencil is near the bottom-left corner.

Tuesday, May 03, 2016

Murals map updated!!

This blog has been online for almost ten years (since July 12, 2006). For most of those years, we've tried to help you find murals with both a map of the whole city and a table with details about individual murals. (You can find these, and more, on the murals page.) Eventually, though, the volunteer trying to hold together this whole project — me, Jerry — ran out of time to take photos, upload and edit them, update the table, update the map, and more. So I concentrated on keeping the blog going.

(The map and table of murals are also useful for those of you who want to contribute mural photos but don't know whether a particular mural is already on the blog. So I've been sad that I couldn't keep them up to date.)

When David Aber joined the Tucson Murals Project, his energy and enthusiasm for murals has been a big boost for me just as I got even more busy with other things. He took on the job of updating the murals map. Last week he finished. The map is up to date; I, and he, aim to keep it that way as we add new blog entries.

There's a small view of the map above, but it's only a snapshot of the map today. To see the real map anytime, go to this address:

The map shows both current murals and historical ones (murals that don't exist anymore). When you zoom in and click on a pin, you'll get a popup box with the address of the mural and a link to click to see the blog entry (with a photo and more information). There's also a list by address in the left-hand column… though it's in no particular order, so it may not be much help.… on the desktop view, shown above, you can click the three dots at the top-right corner of that area and choose “Collapse map legend” to get rid of it.

David spent many hours going through years of this blog and updating the map. I hope you'll congratulate him for his hard work! (Post a comment below, if you'd like, or contact him through his Google+ page.)

The table of murals is still out of date. It's also confusing to use. I'll try to replace it with a long list, ordered by street name, searchable and easy to update, “real soon now.” :-/ If you have time to spare, I'd be glad for some help!

And now back to our previously scheduled murals…

Monday, May 02, 2016

McKenna Park

The complete name is the Alfonsa McKenna-Luis Redondo Park. It is a very nice pocket park with a 1/2 basketball court, a playground, a covered picnic area with charcoal grills......and 14 tile murals. Four of the murals are on the exterior wall along an alley and the rest are inside the park.  Six of the murals have already been posted on April 09, 2014.

There are photos of the park itself in today's entry Alfonsa McKenna-Luis Redondo Park on the Tucson's Pocket Parks blog. Here are the murals that haven't been posted yet:

Photographed on 12/28/2015.
Click on any photo for a slide show of larger views.