Tag Archives: art

Another Horse

Standard

Since I wrote about a horse yesterday, I thought I’d stick with the theme and write about a horse of a totally different kind I saw in Truth or Consequences, NM.

I was house and dog sitting in a neighborhood near the hospital. One morning while walking the dog, I went down a street I hadn’t explored before. I looked over and saw a horse…a metal horse.

The sculpture was located in a fenced area between two houses. The fenced area was more of an empty lot than a yard. The fence was of the hurrican variety, so the horse was entirely visible. While the gate was open, I didn’t go into the enclosed area. I thought that might be a little too much like trespassing. Thankfully, I was able to aim my camera up and over the fence so I could get an unobstructed view.

There was no plaque to go with the sculpture, nothing about the artist or the medium or the technique used to create this creature. Maybe it’s a piece of yard art like I sometimes see being sold in tourist towns. Even if it is “just” yard art, I still like it. I like the horse sculpture in general, but especially the mane and tail. I like the jauntily raised hoof and the three-dimensionality of the piece. This is not some flat cutout! This horse has heft.

One of my favorite parts of house and dog sitting is exploring new neighborhoods and discovering their character. I like the spirit this metal horse adds to its block.

I took the photos in this post.

Valentine to My Own Dear Heart

Standard

Coyote Sue told me about the contest.

A local coffee shop was holding an art contest with the theme “Sacred Heart” just in time for Valentine’s Day.

Oh yeah, I thought. I can collage it up to that theme.

Wikipedia says,

The Sacred Heart is often depicted in Christian art as a flaming heart[3] shining with divine light, pierced by the lance-wound, encircled by the crown of thorns, surmounted by a cross, and bleeding. Sometimes the image is shown shining within the bosom of Christ with his wounded hands pointing at the heart. The wounds and crown of thorns allude to the manner of Jesus’ death, while the fire represents the transformative power of divine love.

I only had a vague idea of what I wanted to do when I started the project. I knew I wanted to make a collage, and I knew I wanted to profess the sacredness of my heart. As interesting as a heart pierced by a lance wound and surrounded by a crown of thorns may be, I decided not to go the Jesus route with my project. Yes, in the collage for the contest, I would make the sacred heart in question my own.

Most of my collages are small, usually about 4″ x 6″, postcard size. The minimum size accepted for this contest was 8″ x 10″. OH! This was going to be a big one.

I started gathering materials at my favorite purveyor of inspiration, the thrift store.

This is the original wall ornament I used in my project after I painted about half the border with red fingernail polish.

At the thrift store, I found an inspirational plaque with the saying “Home is Where the Heart Is.” I liked it because the words were written on a piece of heavy cardboard that projected from the frame. I also bought half a bottle of red fingernail polish which I used to paint a copper colored border. Finally, I found a big red cardboard heart to use as the focal point of the project.

After painting the border, I started collaging the areas within and outside the border. I used mostly images I had on hand. I also collaged the big red cardboard heart. I went back and forth between those two parts of the project.

Royalty Free Images Anatomical Heart Vintage

This is the royalty-free anatomical heart image I got used in my project.

I wanted my sacred heart to be somewhat realistic, so I found a royalty free image of an anatomical heart from “a Vintage Circa 1884 Science Book.” I used colored pencils to color the body of the heart red and the blood vessels a purply blue. Later, I used purple and red glass beads to accent the parts of the heart and the blood vessels.

My final touch on the anatomical heart was to add words of inspiration and aspiration next to the letters marking the different regions of the heart. For example, the letter H shows the part of my heart where “breathing with joy and ease” occurs. Part C of my heart is “joyous.” The letter I points to the area from where my compassion flows.

In addition to the images I cut from magazines and catalogs, I used real stones on my collage. I added turquoise (which is said to stimulate romantic love), rose quartz (the stone of unconditional love and infinite peace) and quartz crystals (a powerful healer and energy amplifier) I dug up in Arkansas. In the middle of the anatomical heart, I glued on a cubic zirconia a friend sent me last summer. The cubic zirconia and the self-stick “jewels” I bought at Wal-Mart give the whole project a bit of bling.

I pierced the representation of my heart with little skewers which once held tea bags from the shop sponsoring the contest. Those skewers sport little red hearts. I think the skewers evoke the piercing by the lance in the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

I attached  metal spirals which I painted with glittery nail polish, as well as a large red glass heart which had been crookedly glued to my dash. (I used three different kinds of glue to make this collage! Is that some kind of a record?)

The queen of hearts represents me, and the pink image of Guanyin (or Guan Yin) represents the compassion and mercy I want to offer to myself and others. (For those who may not know, Wikipedia says Guanyin

is an East Asianbodhisattva associated with compassion as venerated by Mahayana Buddhists. She is commonly known as the “Goddess of Mercy” in English.)

Since I’m a word person, I couldn’t let the piece go without a written explanation.

My heart is sacred, fragile, and precious.

I used the definitions from an old dictionary Coyote Sue gave me to explain the meaings of the words “sacred,” “fragile,” and “precious.”

I call this collage “Valentine for My Own Dear Heart.” It’s a reminder to me that my heart needs to be treated with reverence and care. Anyone who gets close to my heart better be prepared to treat it kindly.

I took the photos in this post.

Play Me, I’m Yours (Part 1)

Standard

img_5798

In the spring of 2016, I was exploring the public art on Main Street in Mesa, Arizona. One of the coolest things I saw was a Pepto-Bismol pink piano labeled “Play Me, I’m Yours.” What was this about? I had no idea, but loved the presence of a piano out on the street available for anyone to play. As I walked further east on Main Street, I encountered two more street pianos. Very interesting, I thought. I figured the pianos were part of downtown Mesa’s permanent sculpture collection and didn’t think much more about them until I sat down to write this post.

img_5797

Front view of piano #6

According to the Street Pianos website,

Touring internationally since 2008, Play Me, I’m Yours is an artwork by British artist Luke Jerram. Reaching over 10 million people worldwide – more than 1,500 street pianos have already been installed in over 50 cities across the globe, from London to New York, bearing the simple instruction Play Me, I’m Yours.

Located on streets, in public parks, markets and train stations the pianos are temporarily available for everyone to play and enjoy. Play Me, I’m Yours invites the public to engage with, activate and take ownership of their urban environment. Decorated by local artists and community groups, the pianos create a place of exchange and an opportunity for people to connect.

img_5799

Back view of piano #6

It’s really cool to find out the pianos I encountered are part of a global phenomenon. But wait, it gets better!

The page of the Street Pianos website dedicated to Mesa  says,

Mesa Arts Center presented Play Me, I’m Yours, from March 1 until April 9 2016, as part of the celebrations of a major milestone: 10 years at their beautiful location in Downtown Mesa, AZ.  24 playable and artistically enhanced pianos were featured, in Downtown Mesa and at other satellite locations throughout the city.

What? Those pianos were there for a limited time only, and I got to see them? How cool is that? (Very cool, I think.)

I’m going to do three blog posts about the three Play Me, I’m Yours piano I encountered in Mesa.

Today I am writing about piano #6, which was located on Main Street, east of MacDonald. According to the Street Pianos website (where you can also view videos of people playing this piano),i t was decorated by artist: Kyllan Maney  and students of the New School For The Arts and was donated by Myrna Horton.

img_5809

Left side view of piano #6

According to Kyllan Maney’s website, she

works with aspects of nature that reminds her of the feelings of tranquility, discovery, spirituality and awe that exist when looking at plants and objects closely.  The visual foundation of Kyllan’s work is rooted in scientific illustrations, religious icons, human relationships and inspiration from past and current artists. Kyllan enjoys the inventive, creative process of working with mixed media, oil painting and large scale murals.

There’s so much I like about this piano. I think its bright, eye-catching color is grand. I like the individual portraits decorating it. As I said before, I think it is so cool to see pianos out and about, available for anyone to play.

Unfortunately, I don’t know how to play the piano. Music lessons were not something my parents

Right side view of piano #6

Right side view of piano #6

could afford when I was a kid, and by the time I took a piano class in high school, it was too late. I realized I basically have no musical talent, and it was going to take way more effort than I was willing to exert to learn to play the piano (or anything else).

That evening in Mesa, I was sad I couldn’t sit down and coax a song from this instrument, but I was glad to know it was out there waiting for someone more talented than I .

I took all the photos in this post.
To read more about public art in Mesa, go here: http://www.rubbertrampartist.com/2016/10/07/the-big-pink-chair/, here: http://www.rubbertrampartist.com/2016/10/15/booked-for-the-day/, and here: http://www.rubbertrampartist.com/2016/11/14/quackers/.
Detail from piano #6 for all my Bowie homies.

Detail from piano #6

Street Art in The Mission

Standard
img_7135

An important question, written directly onto the sidewalk. What’s your answer?

I spent a few days in the Mission District of San Francisco this fall.

img_7284

Stencil art I encountered in one of the mural alleys.

According to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mission_District,_San_Francisco,

The Mission District, also commonly called “The Mission”, is a neighborhood in San Francisco, California, United States, originally known as “the Mission lands”[4] meaning the lands belonging to the sixth Alta California mission, Mission San Francisco de Asis. This mission, San Francisco’s oldest standing building, is located in the northwest area of the neighborhood.

I did a lot of walking between 16th and 24th streets and Guerroero Street and South Van Ness Avenue. Mostly I was looking at murals, but I was also enjoying the hustle and bustle of big city life. It had been a long time since I’d been around so many people and been able to do such intense people watching.

img_7210

Stencil art I encountered in one of the mural alleys.

There are murals all over the place in The Mission. I took a lot of photos of a lot of murals, planning to do a lot of blog posts featuring the often political art. Alas, while I was researching the murals, I found a disclaimer on the Balmy Alley murals page (http://www.balmyalley.com/Murals.html):

Please remember that murals are copyrighted works of art. Photographs are for your personal enjoyment only. Any photos OR video taken of copyrighted murals for the purpose of reproduction (including t-shirts, album covers, web sites, guide books, music videos, commercials, etc) can only be used with written permission from the muralist(s).

I’ve contacted the community-based mural arts organization, Precita Eyes Muralists Association, to get permission to use my photos of murals in my blog posts. Before they will grant me any permission, I have to complete a multi-page form. Completing the form is on my list of things to do, but I haven’t been able to get to it yet. There will be no photos of the murals of Mission District alleys for my readers for a while.

In the meantime, I will share some of the examples of street art I encountered while I was exploring the neighborhood.

img_7318

Mushroom drawn directly onto the sidewalk, on Mission Street, I think.

The artrepublic website (http://www.artrepublic.com/art_terms/39-street-art-html/) defines street art as

Street art is any art developed in public spaces. The term can include traditional graffiti art work, as well as, stencil graffiti, sticker art, wheatpasting and street poster art, video projection, art intervention, guerrilla art, flash mobbing and street installations.

Whereas traditional graffiti artists have primarily used free-hand aerosol paints to produce their works with ‘tagging’ and text-based subject, street art encompasses many other media, techniques and subject matter including: LED art, mosaic tiling, murals, stencil art, sticker art, street installations, wheatpasting, woodblocking, video projection, and yarn bombing.

(For a cool list of Top 10 Types of Street Arts, go here: http://listdose.co/top-10-types-of-street-arts/.)

Some people wonder if there is any difference between street art and graffiti. The Herron School of  Art and Design (http://www.herron.iupui.edu/blog/06042012/street-art-vs-graffiti) says,

Graffiti limits an individual to what he or she can do with a spray can, on the spot. Street art, on the img_7250other hand, while employing some of the application techniques of graffiti, often involves a finished product that is ready-made and brought to the location -think stickers, wheat paste prints, and stencils.

Street art and graffiti are both powerful forms of public art that use visually striking, bold images and metaphors to convey a message. And in both cases, artists are risking legal punishment for spreading these messages.

Most of the art pieces I saw were created from stencils and spray paint. According to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stencil_graffiti,

Stencil graffiti is a form of graffiti that makes use of stencils made out of paper, cardboard, or other media to create an image or text that is easily reproducible. The desired design is cut out of the selected medium and then the image is transferred to a surface through the use of spray paint or roll-on paint.

img_7283

I think these fish were created using multiple stencils.

The process of stenciling involves applying paint across a stencil to form an image on a surface below. Sometimes multiple layers of stencils are used on the same image to add colours or create the illusion of depth.

My favorite part of street art is the DIY (Do-It-Yourself) ethic. Street artists don’t need a museum or a gallery or an agent or a patron. Street artists just need their art supplies and an empty patch of sidewalk or wall.

I also appreciate encountering street art for free, while I’m out and about. I don’t have to pay admission to a museum; the whole neighborhood is a museum for a street art aficionado.

img_7342

Turtles swim across a white wall.

Folks who want to learn how to cut a stencil or to connect with stencil, street, and graffiti artists should check out the Stencil Revolution website (http://www.stencilrevolution.com/). To see examples of street art from around the world, go to the Street Art Utopia website (http://www.streetartutopia.com/).

I took all the photos in this post.

Teaching Children Since 1878

Standard

img_5844

I’ve written before about the sculptures on Main Street in Mesa, Arizona. (You can read past posts about The Big Pink Chair and Booked for the Day.) Today’s featured sculpture is called Teaching Children Since 1878.

According to http://collections.si.edu/search/results.htm?q=record_ID:siris_ari_316604,

The sculpture is the central piece of a larger plaza setting, which includes 16 bronze or brass relief plaques on surrounding stucco wall with inscriptions on the history of education in Mesa and 4 columns from the original Mesa High School (formerly known as the second Abraham Lincoln School).

The brochure with information about the self-guided tour of the Mesa’s sculpture collection lists the sculptor as James Avati, but the img_5842aforementioned Smithsonian Institution website lists three people as sculptors of this piece: James  R. Avati, C. L. Harding, and Dennis Tidwell.

While writing this post, I learned James R. Avati is from a family of artist. According to Wikipedia,

“His [grand]father was a professional photographer in New York City and his father was James Sante Avati…an American illustrator and paperbackcover artist. ”

James R. Avati’s biography on the Utah Artist Project website refers to Teaching Children Since 1878 as a “major commission.” It also says,

James R. Avati of Redbank, New Jersey, and Salt Lake City, is an excellent and sensitive sculptor who img_5845studied at the Newark School of Fine and Industrial Arts, at the Arts Students League in New York City, at Ricks College in Idaho, and at Brigham Young University. He was also a graduate student in the Department of Art at the University of Utah where he earned his M.F.A. in 1988. While there he worked with Angelo Caravaglia in the development of his frequently powerful art.

This life-size bronze sculpture is located on the south side of Mesa’s Main Street, on the corner of Sirrine Street.

I enjoy the juxtaposition of the fashions worn by the teacher and her students against the backdrop of modern buildings and cars, motorcycles and traffic lights. The teacher reminds me of a statue of a pioneer woman in Austin, TX a friend and I once used as the star of a short film.

Next time you’re strolling in downtown Mesa, be sure to checkout these scholars.

I took all of the photos in this post.

The Big Pink Chair

Standard

SAD UPDATE: I was in Mesa in mid March, 2018, and the Big Pink Chair was GONE. My friend and I walked up and down Main Street in the whole area where the permanent art pieces are and we found no Big Pink Chair. I was so sad. I was going to get my friend to take a photo of me sitting in it. I can only assume the folks who were loaning it decided to take it back.

img_5917

Mesa, Arizona is a very strange town in the greater Phoenix metro area. Mesa is full of Mormons and meth and…art. Well, at least downtown Mesa is full of art.

According to a brochure that goes along with the self-guided tour of the town’s sculpture collection,

Mesa’s Growing Permanent Sculpture Collection features 39 fine pieces, most of which are displayed downtown (four privately owned sculptures are also on loan). Enjoy a FREE self-guided outdoor walking tour of the sculptures any time of day or night, any day of the week.

(Do what you want, but I wouldn’t recommend hanging around Main Street in downtown Mesa in the middle of the night.)

My favorite piece in Mesa’s sculpture collection is The Big Pink Chair. The above photo does not do it justice. It’s not just a big pink chair. It’s a BIG pink chair. An adult sitting in it looks like a little child. When I sit in it, my legs don’t hang down. When I sit in it, my feet stick straight out.

And yes, folks can climb up and sit in the chair. It makes for a great photo op, so visit it with a group of friends (especially if you time your visit for 3am).

img_5918The Big Pink Chair is a work by Mary Consie. It’s located on the north side of Main Street, between Morris Street and Robson Street.

I took the photos in this post.

New Hats for Sale

Standard

I’ve been using up small bits of yarn in colors that don’t fit the schemes I have in mind for infinity scarves. In a few days, I made seven hats.

IMG_6735

Esmerelda is modeling a large white hat with a finished edge. In this photo, the finished edge is folded up. This hat features a variety of blues and is topped by a pompom. The hat costs $13, including shipping.

Sometimes I get so excited about making hats, I don’t want to do anything else. Who needs to sleep, cook, eat, clean? Not me! The most important thing in my life is making hats!

In this photo, Esmerelda is modeling a large hat with a finished edge. The edge is folded down in this view. It's a bright hat with lots of shades of oranges and yellow. The hat is topped with a pompom and costs $13, including shipping.

In this photo, Esmerelda is modeling a large hat with a finished edge. The edge is folded down in this view. It’s a bright hat with lots of shades of oranges and yellow. The hat is topped with a pompom and costs $13, including shipping.

In this view of the same hat, the finished edge is folded up.

In this view of the same hat, the finished edge is folded up.

Other times, I don’t even want to think about yarn, much less making a hat.

I can’t pinpoint any reasons for why I feel one way or another. Sometimes that hat benders are brief, and sometimes they last for weeks.

In any case, I’ve been making hats, and they’re all for sale. Each one costs $13, including shipping costs.

I know it’s September, and most folks won’t need a warm hat for a couple of months. But as fans of Game of Thrones are reminded, winter is coming. Now is a good time to prepare. Your head will thank you.

This large hat has a finished edge. In this photo, the edge is folded up. The main color of this had is purple, with some yellow, but the purple variegated yarn has some green in it too, so it won't quite make for the straight up LSU fan.

This large hat has a finished edge. In this photo, the edge is folded up. The main color of this hat is purple, with some yellow, but the purple variegated yarn has some green in it too, so it’s probably not for the straight-up LSU fan. The hat costs $13, including shipping.

 

The large hat Esmerelda is modeling in this photo has an unfinished edge. The color scheme is primarily blue, but it has some orange near the top as well. The cost of this hat is $13, including shipping.

The large hat Esmerelda is modeling in this photo has an unfinished edge. The color scheme is primarily blue, but it has some orange near the top as well. The cost of this hat is $13, including shipping. (This hat is NO LONGER AVAILABLE.)

 

This large hat has an unfinished edge. It is primarily yellow and orange, but there are some blue in it as well. The cost is $13, including shipping.

This large hat has an unfinished edge. It is primarily yellow and orange, but there are some blues in it as well. The cost is $13, including shipping.

 

This large hat features a variety of colors: blue, orange, yellow, purple. It has an unfinished edge and costs $13, including shipping charge.

This large hat features a variety of colors: blue, orange, yellow, green, purple. It has an unfinished edge and costs $13, including shipping charge.

 

This photo shows another large hat with an unfinished edge featuring a variety of colors. The hat is mostly a light blue, but it also includes orange and yellow. The price is $13, including shipping.

This photo shows another large hat with an unfinished edge featuring a variety of colors. The hat is mostly a light blue, but it also includes orange and yellow. The price is $13, including shipping. (This hat is NO LONGER AVAILABLE.)

Valentine for My Broken Heart

Standard

IMG_6408

This is an piece of art I made around the turn of the century. I think I made it when I visited friends in Utah, but I might be confused on that detail. I’m pretty sure I had the vision for it during my first trip to New Mexico, when I was crushing hard on one of my best friends.

The materials are red satiny fabric and silver gel pen on black construction paper.

It’s kind of impressive that after losing so many material possessions over the last 5+ years, I still have this piece. Thanks to the folks who saved it for me.

So Many Chickens, So Little Time!

Standard

IMG_6014

I was hanging out with Sue Soaring Sun of Sun Gallery fame.

(Never heard of Sun Gallery in Truth or Consequences, NM? Check it out here: http://www.sierracountynewmexico.info/shopping/a-z/name/sun-gallery/ and here: https://www.facebook.com/sungallerytorc/timeline. The gallery’s Facebook page says,

Sun Gallery is a folk art and antiques gallery in Truth or Consequences, a fun and affordable spa town in beautiful southern New Mexico.

The gallery is located at 407 1/2 N. Broadway.)

We were talking about a restaurant we both know, a place where the decor is heavy on chickens. One of us piped up with So many chickens…Sue’s boyfriend grinned and added in and so little time. When we quit laughing, we agreed it would be a perfect theme for an art show. Sue decided it would be a fun May show for her gallery, so she sent out a call for submissions.

Here’s the call, as it appeared on the gallery’s Facebook page:

CALL FOR ARTISTS
So Many Chickens, So Little Time

All artists of any age or ability are invited to each bring ONE piece of artwork to Sun Gallery for our May 2016 show, “So Many Chickens, So Little Time.”

You can price your work or just show it without offering it for sale. If it sells, the artist gets 100% of the sales price. Sun Gallery will not be taking a percentage for this show.

Have fun with the theme! There are no rules about the medium or size of the artwork.

Sun Gallery will be open for both Fiesta weekend and Art Hop weekend, so your work will be seen by many.

Drop off your work on TUESDAY May 3rd between 12 noon and 4 pm.

Pick up your sales proceeds or unsold work on SUNDAY May 15 between 11 am and 4 pm.

Thanks for your participation!

I responded to the call with a big ol’ chicken collage. First I bought a used canvas and a red and white checkered napkin at Goodwill. I ironed the napkin, then used a staple gun to attach it to the canvas. The napkin made a great background to fill in any gaps between chickens.

As soon as I knew the show was happening, I requested catalogs from several chicken supply companies. Unfortunately, only one catalog had arrived by the time I really needed to get working on the project. I needed to find another source for photogenic fowl.

I had credit at bookstore that buys used books, DVDs, magazines, video games, CDs, craft supplies, musical instruments, and knickknacks. I went to the store’s periodical section and found several copies of Grit, the magazine Celebrating Rural America Since 1882. Chicken photo jackpot!

One additional source for poultry pictures was a beat-up children’s book given to me by the Lady of the House. Called The Lifesize Animal Opposites Book, it afforded me with my rooster focal point.

I spent a few evenings cutting, arranging, and gluing photos of chickens while sitting in front of a television IMG_6012playing late 20th-century game shows. I even made a special artist bio card to go with my collage.

I ended up pleased with the outcome of my work. There are a lot of chickens in my collage. There are SO many chickens!

I decided to call my piece Chicken Tractor because I think that’s a hilarious term.

My collage will be on display at Sun Gallery starting tomorrow until May 15. If you are in the neighborhood, you should stop by and see it live and in person. (As usual, my photos don’t do justice to the real thing.) The collage (13″ by 15″) is most definitely for sale. If you want to add it to your very special chicken collection or display in in your heretofore fowl free home, please contact me and we can negotiate.

IMG_6006

I took the photos in this post.

Ajo Murals

Standard

During my first trip to Ajo, AZ, I saw a few murals on the south side of the Plaza when I drove by on Highway 85.

This is the one I saw the most often:

IMG_5579

I love the way the clouds and blue sky in the photo mirror the clouds and blue sky in the painting.

It faces the highway and is quite obvious. I saw it whenever I drove south past the Plaza.

This is the mural I saw as I drove north past the Plaza:

IMG_5581

IMG_5582

This is the mural to the left of the one with the coyote and the saguaro. The quote, attributed to Gandhi reads, “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”

During my second trip to Ajo, I decided to take photos of these two mural and the one to the immediate left of the one with the coyote and the saguaro, which I could just barely see when I drove by. As I stood at the entrance to the alley, I was quite surprised to see many murals painted on the walls on both sides.

As far as I remember, no one I met in Ajo or Why told me about this collection of murals. The lady in the thrift store didn’t mention it. I didn’t see any brochure about it at the visitor information center. Did Coyote Sue tell me about it and I forgot? I tend to enjoy looking at public art, so it seems to me if someone had mentioned these murals as an Ajo attraction, I would have gone to look at them right away.

When I did a Google search on “Ajo alley murals” (or something to that effect), I found an entry from April 6, 2015 on the Tucson Mural Arts Program blog. The date on this post shows the murals are fairly new.

At the top of the aforementioned blog post, there is information about the  Tucson Mural Arts Program.

The (TMAP) seeks to create a city wide outdoor gallery of original artworks by matching artists with wall owners. TMAP is a results-based beautification program that involves residents of all ages in the design and painting of murals. We offer a viable solution to social isolation and property damage by working with our community to collaboratively create works of art.

IMG_5587

I’m not sure if this stencil art is an officially sanctioned, but it’s in the alley, and I like it. I’m amazed by the depth of expression in the man’s face.

The blog entry, titled “Ajo Street Art Mural Project,” says,

Muralists from Tucson joined with artists from throughout the border region helped to enliven an alley between two historic warehouse buildings in the heart of the Sonoran Desert, Ajo, AZ.

Artists spent a week painting murals throughout the day and night creating a festival like atmosphere in the once barren alley way.

The blog posts shows “before” photos of the alley, as well as photos of the artists at work.

The post continues,

…Arts Brigade artists had a ton of fun working with the local high school students and their teacher. Students created a series of individual and group murals. TAB [Tucson Arts Brigade] artists taught students the basic tools and techniques needed to make a mural.

IMG_5596

The TMAP website identifies this piece as “Alice Glasser Mural.” Alice’s signature is on the lower left of the piece.

IMG_5602

This is one of my favorite pieces in the alley. I appreciate the way the pipes and the breaker box seem to disappear into the art. I wish I could hear the music these men would create. Who is Don? Is he one of the men represented here? And who is the artist? (I don’t think I cut the artist’s signature out of my photo, but that is a possibility.)

I’m surprised the town of Ajo or the International Sonoran Desert Alliance or TMAP or somebody hasn’t produced a brochure giving information about each piece. This art is beautiful and important and deserves to be seen. Is there such a brochure and I missed it? How could I have missed such a thing?

IMG_5604

This mural made me sad because it’s been sketched out but never completed. What happened to the artist(s) who started this piece? Will it ever be finished?

IMG_5588

I like that not all of the murals show off lofty themes or extraordinary artistic talent. This mural is by and for the people.

In any case, I was glad I stumbled upon the murals. In a way, it was more magical to find them on my own. I found them because I was paying attention, not because I saw it on a list of things tourists should do or because some guidebook or website or brochure recommended it to me.

I documented the whole alley, and now you can have a look at the art and decide on your favorites. (Feel free to write a comment to tell me which piece is your favorite and what you like about it.) I took all of the photos in this post, but of course, my photos never truly do justice to the subjects. IMG_5608

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_5583

IMG_5584

I tried to move the piece of metal visible on the bottom right of this photo so I could capture the full mural, but the metal was HEAVY. I enjoy the juxtaposition of the soothing blues and greens of the art next to the utility pole and the old door.

IMG_5586

There is so much to love in this piece: the person composed of the yin-yang symbol, a heart, a peace sign, and the infinity symbol; the landscape with mountains, trees, and cacti; the reminders that “all life is sacred” and “end racism.”

IMG_5592

The edge of this piece is visible on the left of the previous photo. I like the way this piece blends in to what’s around it.

IMG_5591

If you don’t know Spanish, “eres el sueño” means, “you are the dream.”

IMG_5589

Hometown pride…

IMG_5593

IMG_5594

IMG_5595

IMG_5600

I believe this piece represents the of three nations of the Sonoran Desert – the U.S., the Tohono O’odham Nation, and Mexico.

IMG_5601

IMG_5603

This piece is equating pre-unification Germany with the the Tohono O’odham Nation, which has been divided by the border between the U.S. and Mexico. From the Tohono O’odham Nation website: “From the early 18th Century through to the present, the O’odham land was occupied by foreign governments. With the independence of Republic of Mexico, O’odham fell under Mexican rule. Then, in 1853, through the Gadsden Purchase or Treaty of La Mesilla, O’odham land was divided almost in half, between the United States of America and Mexico… the new border between the United States and Mexico was not strictly enforced…In recent years, however, the border has come to affect the O’odham in many ways, because immigration laws prevent the O’odham from crossing it freely.

IMG_5606

The TMAP blog post identifies this piece as “Kat’s Mural, ‘Heart of the Desert’.”

 

IMG_5609

The TMAP blog identifies this piece as “Doors of Perception” and says it is “by Valeria and Isabella H. (TAB [Tucson Arts Brigade] youth artists).”

IMG_5610 IMG_5614

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_5612

IMG_5617

IMG_5618

The TMAP blog post identifies this piece as ‘Flip.” It was painted by Michael Schwartz.

IMG_5624IMG_5623

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_5619

I find this mural so moving. It depicts the work of The Ajo Samaritans, a humanitarian aid group that works to prevent death in the desert by leaving food and water for travelers walking through the harsh terrain.

IMG_5621

The words in Spanish say, “Take them if you’re thirsty.”

I took all of the photos in this post.