Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Meat, bread, tortillas, and deer dancers

A long strip mall along South 12th Avenue has two stores at the same address: Mercadito La Unica, which sells meat, bread, and tortillas; and Alejandro's Tortilla Factory, which makes… you guessed it. I stopped by on April 3rd because I'd taken a bus to Mexico from the same shopping center during March, and I'd noticed the murals and signs interspersed across the top of the businesses:

The man's head with a deer's head on top looked familiar. Oh, I remember: I rode a bus from the Tucson location of the Mexican bus company Tufesa, farther along the same shopping center. Tufesa's logo is a deer dancer:

I asked a friend about that. He said it's a deer dancer (in the Yaqui language, maso). I searched online and found that the deer dance is part of the culture in Sonora and Arizona. In case you're interested, here's some of what I found:

I found this sculpture in a shopping area of Hermosillo, Sonora in March 2022.

About the rattles, the Britannica page above says: “In addition to container rattles, Native Americans make rattles from small objects strung together in clusters; these objects include deer hooves, seashells, seeds, seed pods, nuts, fruit pits, …”

End of lesson, class. :)

Monday, May 23, 2022

Cyfi, graffiti writer, ten years between

(Note: The Arizona Daily Star lets non-subscribers read only a couple of its free articles before you need to log in.)

Rock “Cyfi” Martinez travels the world painting murals. He started out in Tucson, years ago, writing illegal graffiti. I just found this 2018 article from the Arizona Daily Star: How Tucson artist Rock Martinez evolved from tagger to muralist

It reminded me of another article I saw years ago. I found it, too, from 2008: Local graffiti artist Cyfi has turned his hobby into a career

In between, Cyfi organized the WintaFresh urban art weekend. It drew artists from all over the US. You can see some of the art over the years in the 1240 North Stone section of this blog's page Layers of murals: histories of a few walls.

Friday, May 20, 2022

Walk across the street for...

…two gorgeous murals by The Desert Pen:
They're across Alvernon from the Randolph Park Recreation Center, at the northeast corner with Calle de Jardin. The big mural is on a wall that runs along a gravel driveway, and the small mural is on the side of the home at the end:
The long mural looks like this from the front of the home:
Let's walk along the mural from near (the north) to far (south):

I took those photos on April 22nd. David Aber spotted the mural and took this photo at sundown on February 28th, while it was being painted:

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Cyfi's Linda Ronstadt mural in her Music Hall

Tucson's Rock “Cyfi” Martinez now travels the world painting murals and makes his home in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis / St. Paul. He's come back to Tucson a few times recently. The best-known mural he's painted recently has to be the one inside the newly-renamed Linda Ronstadt Music Hall — formerly the Tucson Music Hall. Cyfi painted with Joel Valdez (his Instagram is @joel2valdez; you can probably see it without an account if you don't click on any photos). Here are photos from May 7th on Instagram @cyfione (to see more, click the arrow in the circle at the right edge):

The Arizona Daily Star has more: Photos: The Tucson Music Hall renamed for Grammy and Emmy Award-winner Linda Ronstadt

If you're a Star subscriber, you can read this story of Cyfi and the mural and see even more photos: Tucson muralist found inspiration from Linda Ronstadt's story

I'm hoping to get a chance to take a photo myself. If I do, I'll update this.

Friday, May 13, 2022


Mural by Alejandra Trujillo.  Found at 'The Historic Y', 300 E. University Blvd.  The mural is on the east wall facing N. Herbert Ave.

Click on the photo for a larger image.

Ruthette Kennedy sent another photo of the mural as well as this closeup of the artist's signature and website:
Thank you, Ruthette!

Tuesday, May 10, 2022

Las Dos CoMadres

Las Dos CoMadres is a thrift shop:
Wagon Burner Arts painted the sign and address. WBA's logo is at the bottom of the sign:
I stopped by on April 3, 2021.

Friday, May 06, 2022

Panaderia at a tortilleria

On September 20, 2019, we showed a mural by Jilmar Alaniz on Tortilleria Don Juan (where you can buy tortillas). The same building also has Panaderia La Providencia (where you can buy bread). There's also a small restaurant inside. When I stopped by on April 3rd, 2021, I found that the panaderia had its own mural, next to the front door, just to the left (south) of the Tortilleria Don Juan mural. It was partly covered over:
A closer look shows that they're riding a bicycle together:
(I joined the shadow and bright areas with my favorite free photo editor, GIMP.)

I'll keep an eye out for the mural to be repaired or replaced.

Tuesday, May 03, 2022

Skyline of the Imagination.

On April 21, 2022 I happened to be on Jerrie Ave. (for no particular reason) and found this mural:

  Click on the photo for a larger image.

Friday, April 29, 2022

Mural gallery repainted during BBQ

Update: I took these photos on April 3rd. Since then, the walls were repainted April 24th!
Thanks to Monty Ses Esposito (he goes by “Ses”) for inviting me to meet a lot of Tucson muralists, some of whose work I'd seen for years but hadn't met in person. It was a Grill & Chill BBQ with maybe 20 artists repainting the wall we showed in our November 2, 2021 post Graffiti mural gallery in South Tucson.

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 painting

The 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:
Next, photos of older :) artists at work:

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 wall

I 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.