Tag Archives: murals

Mural Row

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Nolagirl and I were walking on Main Street in Mesa, AZ, looking for the Big Pink Chair. We approached a building at McDonald, on the south side of Main. I saw murals painted in large, shallow alcoves on the east side of the building.

I’ve never seen these before, I said.

The murals show Arizona natural landscapes and other snapshots of the state’s natural scenery.

I love the vivid sun and the way this painting seems to invite the viewer to stop right into those mountains. I don’t know who painted it.

The mural below was painted by Matlock the Artist, as we can see from the stenciled “signature” on the bottom left of the piece below. Matlocktheartist.com seems to be out of commission, but I traced the moniker to Mark Matlock, artist and owner/curator of (possibly defunt) Fragment Gallery in Tucson. The most current information I could find (2015) is that Matlock left Tucson and moved to Mesa.

This larger-than-life rendering of saguaro blossoms is my favorite of the nature scene murals. The desert is extra beautiful when the saguaros are in bloom.

I think it’s great when the artist has an element from one painting invisibly span the empty space between the two murals and pick up in the adjacent painting. I think this technique helps show the relationship between the murals and make them seem less like isolated pieces. In the pieces above and below, you can see how the artist has used this technique with the the tree branch that runs in front of the saguaro and ends up in the top right corner of the mural featuring the young woman.

Only one of these murals includes the human form, in the person of a young woman standing under the phases of the moon. Who is this woman? Who does she represent? Why is she standing under the changing moon? Those are questions I can’t answer.

I also wonder who painted this mural. I can’t see a signature anywhere. Can you?

I don’t see a signature on this mural either, but it reminds me of a small painting on the other side of Main Street, just down from the Smith-O-Lator cookie store.  Perhaps the same anonymous artist created both paintings.

The spines on these cacti look wicked!

The following mural is called Three Riders and was painted in aerosol by Kerry Niemann of Apache Junction, AZ. Niemann

studied painting, drawing, and sculpture at the University of Kansas in the early 1990’s…

Currently, [she is] most interested in drawing the people and places where [she] live[s]…in Apache Junction, including the mountains, rodeos, restaurants, cars, bull riders, spectators, actors, horses. [She] also paint[s] murals of similar subject matter.

I like the juxtaposition here of a very traditional Western scene topped by an abstract representation of the sky. I wonder if the three figures on horses are perhaps riding off into hell.

Chuck Wan signed this mural of larger-than-life birds, but I can’t find any information about him, other than his collaboration with Carlos Mendoza on a mural for sale through Phoenix Center for the Arts.

Anyone know anything about Chuck Wan?

On the other side of the building, where a wide alley bisects the block, we found more murals painted in large shallow alcoves. While the first murals we saw depict scenes of the state’s natural beauty, the second set shows aspects of mid-20th century American Southwest civilization such as advertisements on Route 66 and other highways and byways of a pre-interstate era.

 

I don’t see a signature on this depiction of the Buckhorn Baths sign.

These are all places in Arizona, Nolagirl said in awe.

She was right, according to information I found about these murals in a December 2015 article in the East Valley Tribune. More specifically, the murals depict places in Mesa. The article, “Downtown Murals Evoke Mesa Memories” says,

Murals that depict neon signs on businesses that previously operated in the city [Mesa] have been painted on the west wall of Surf and Ski building at 137 W. Main Street.

According to the East Valley Tribune, Anthony Galto re-created three vintage signs in this mural.

According to the aforementioned East Valley Tribune article, the next mural was painted by Jesse Perry. On his website, Perry says,

Using an abnormally bright color pallet to deliver my New School Pop Art Style, my work is both bold and versatile, often filled with humor and fun loving characters of the Southwest, commonly laced with hidden messages that speak to the idea of unity and community.

Jesse Perry’s website says he painted this mural with spray paint. I love the Arizona sunset sky.

Also featured in the East Valley Tribune article was this mural by Mark Matlock, aka Matlock the Artist. According to the article, only black and white photos of the sign he chose to paint were available ,

 so he had to choose colors for the mural. His desire was to make the mural look like an old post card and look like neon. He used a wash to rub over the final work…

My favorite of the neon sign murals is this one by David “Dski One” Oswoski of Mesa. I like the slightly blurry edges which gives the piece a dreamlike quality. I can imagine being a little kid in the backseat of the family Buick, eyes half closed after a long day of fun and seeing this sign beckoning me to spend the night in one of their clean, comfortable beds.

I was glad to spend some time with these murals; they really help beautify the two walls. It’s nice to have these downtown reminders of Arizona’s colorful commercial past and its fragile natural beauty.

The Grand Theatre (Tracy, CA)

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When I was out walking the self-guided tour of the historic buildings of downtown Tracy, CA, the coolest place I saw was the Grand Theatre.

img_7412According to the walking tour brochure,

The Grand Theatre was built in 1923 by German born John Droge to present vaudeville acts and then-silent motion pictures. The first “talkies” were show in 1929. Remodeled in 1940 in an Art Deco style, the movie house continued until 1977. In 2007 the city restored the theater complex and it was reopened as The Grand Theatre Center for the Arts.

According to the theatre’s website,

The classical Grand Theatre, designed by architect Albert W. Cornelius, opened on August 11, 1923 as a premiere vaudeville half-house in the area.

The facility received a major remodel during its heyday between 1939 and 1941 (under the Allen’s ownership), garnered with bold new art deco features including a sculptural marquee designed by Alexander Cantin and futuristic mural by Anthony (Antoon) Heinsbergen.

The 37,000+ square foot facility opened in September of 2007, hosts 50,000 patrons a year and is currently celebrating its 10th Anniversary Season.

img_7400I went inside to have a look around, and was surprised to find free Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) activities underway. I grabbed a free piece of pan dulce and exited the building.

There were some cool murals on the theatre’s 7th Street wall. They caught my attention, and I stopped to give them a good look.

The murals are part of the Tracy Mural Project. According to the project’s website,

The Downtown Tracy Mural Project began in the summer of 2015 in conjunction with the Tracy Artwalk.  The Project invites local and regional artists to create murals and street art at 7th Street and in Jackson Alley on the walls of the Grand.  This innovative project features temporary murals owned by the City of Tracy. They remain on display from weeks to years, rotating as new works are presented.  The public appreciation of these projects has led to futhur interest to create murals at other locations in downtown Tracy.img_7397

I really liked the robots decorating the wall during my visit.

I also liked the mural featuring the wolf and the crow. The mural was painted by Ilena Finocchi. According to Finocchi’s website,

In nature, the wolf and the crow can be frequently found in each other’s company. They have been linked together in play and in foraging for food.

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The other cool mural is “Planet of the Apes” Kenney Mencher.

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According to the Tracy Press,

Mencher, who is the Grand’s artist in residence this summer [2016], will create a streetscape with a “Planet of the Apes” theme on Seventh Street. Wilson said the piece will provide a photo opportunity for visitors to pose on a bench with the mural wrapping around them.

From what I surmise, Mencher painted the robots too.

The Tracy Press also reported in the aforementioned article,

The murals are designed to be temporary projects, lasting from a few weeks to a few years.

I’ve grown to think of murals (especially murals approved by a municipality) as permanent. As the Merry Pranksters proclaimed, art is not eternal. Apparently the murals in Tracy prove this idea to be true.

I took all of the photos in this post.

 

 

 

La Reyna Panaderia

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I like the old-school style of this sign. I wonder if the lights are turned on at night.

When I was in San Francisco, I spent a lot of time walking around in the Mission District. The Mission is a vibrant, bustling neighborhood with great opportunities for watching people . I enjoyed getting a glimpse of folks living their lives in a metropolis. Being in the Mission made me remember how it feels to love a city.

In addition to people watching, I looked at the murals that are all over the Mission.  My Computer Guy says the Mission has been known for its mural since the 1970s, and and the SF Tourism Tips website (http://www.sftourismtips.com/mission-district-murals.html) backs him up. In previous trips to the Mission, I did see murals, but during my recent visit, I saw so many murals I had never seen before. Maybe I hadn’t been looking in the right places during previous visits. Maybe there really are more murals now. In any case, I spent much of my visit walking around the neighborhood, finding and admiring and photographing outdoor murals.

img_7158I spent an entire afternoon walking around 24th Street, ducking into alleys to take photos of the amazing murals located throughout this neighborhood. From across 24th Street, I saw La Reyna Panaderia and decided I would pay it a visit after lunch.

“Panaderia” is the Spanish word for bakery, and there was a wide selection of sweet treats available at La Reyna. I don’t know much about the pastries of the Latino world, but everything on display looked really delicious. I wanted to try everything!

I tried to joke about wanting to try everything to the woman working behind the counter, but she wasn’t having it. I don’t know if she was having a bad day or if she was just tired or if her English comprehension was limited and she didn’t understand my banter, but she didn’t seem amused by me in the least.

So this is how it works: Customers get a tray and a set of long tongs from the counter and serve themselves from the cases filled with a variety of pastries. Only a few of the pastries were labeled, so I didn’t really know what most of the varieties were. In theory, I guess I could have asked the woman working, but she did not act as if she wanted to be bothered by me. So I picked a big, soft-looking cookie that was obviously chocolate and another that  was sprinkled heavily with toasted coconut and had a red circle that looked like jelly in the middle. There was no indication of the price of anything, but my two cookies ended up costing $1.30. img_7159

While La Reyna’s sign does say “coffee shop,” I didn’t see or smell any coffee brewing. Maybe the lady behind the counter whips something up after an order is placed. I wasn’t interested in coffee, so I didn’t really look for it.

La Reyna also seemed not much like a coffee shop because there are no tables or chairs, either inside or out. It’s not a hangout kind of place. One goes in, buys one’s pastries and leaves. This is a great place for folks who like Mexican pastries, but it’s strictly a “to-go” situation.

Like many other buildings in the area, the one that houses La Reyna has murals painted on the side of it, including one of the Virgin Mary. La Reyna (also spelled “La Reina”) is the Spanish term for “The Queen.” The Queen in question might be the Virgin Mary (you know, as in “the Queen of Heaven”) which could explain why she’s painted on the side of the outside wall. However, The Queen might refer to someone else, and the Virgin Mary’s on the side of the building because she’s a popular art motif in the Latinx world.

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The words “La Reyna” written under this mural of the Virgin Mary on the side of the building housing La Reyna Panaderia indicate my idea that the bakery is names after the Queen of Heaven is correct.

My two cookies were big, and I savored them over the course of the next couple of hours. I ate a few nibbles while leaning against a tree outside of the bakery, listening to cops question a man sitting at a bus stop. I ate a few more nibbles while sitting at a bus stop bench on Mission Street and watching city people live their lives. Both cookies were delicious, flaky and crumbly.

La Reyna Panaderia is located at 3114 24th Street in San Francisco, CA.

I took all of the photos in this post.

More Ajo Murals

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I’ve written about the murals in Ajo, Arizona before, but even in two posts, I wasn’t able to cover them all. (Read my other posts about the murals of Ajo here: http://www.rubbertrampartist.com/2016/04/15/ajo-murals and here: http://www.rubbertrampartist.com/2016/04/24/ajo-copper-news-mural/.) In this post I’ll include photos and information about more murals in the small desert town.

The first mural here is one that didn’t make it in my post about the Art Alley. The day I walked through the Art Alley (the alley immediately to the south of the Plaza) taking photos of the murals, a truck parked right in front of this piece, and I wasn’t able to get a picture of it.

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I believe the next three pieces were all painted by Ajo muralists Mike “DaWolf” Baker. (If I’m wrong about that, someone please correct me.)

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I was told the homeowner commissioned Baker to paint this scene on his house. I was also told this scene is from a movie, but my informant (I’ve always wanted to say my informant) didn’t remember the name of the movie. The crosses symbolize the homeowner’s loved ones who have passed away. This house is at the corner of Solana (Highway 85) and and Cunada streets. The mural is very easy to see when driving south through Ajo, not far after the main drags curves to the left.

The next mural in on a store, the aVita Boutique in the Raven’s Nest, which is located at 801 North 2nd Avenue.

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Did you notice that the spheres on the front of the building are painted in the colors of the rainbow? Yep, there’s good ol’ Roy G. Biv: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet.

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This sign for the store is  closer to the road. It might be what a driver sees first, as the store is set back.

North 2nd Avenue is another name for Highway 85, the main drag through town. Since the store is set back quite a ways from the street, you do have to be on the lookout for it when driving through town.

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I can just about hear the howling coming from that wolf!

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This photo shows the complete image on the south side of the building.

Something I really like about this mural is how the image on the left side wraps around the building. I think the wrapping makes the image quite dynamic. I also really like the bright, vibrant colors the artist used in this piece.

Of course, the Raven’s Nest needs a raven and the artist painted a nice one.

 

 

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I love the rays of energy radiating from this bird.

The last mural is a sneak peak of tomorrow’s post. This mural has enough of a story for its own post, so that’s what it will get.

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Yep, that’s the mural depicting The Night of the Lepus, and it’s painted on Roadrunner Java (932 North 2nd Avenue).

I took all of the photos in this post.

 

Ajo Murals

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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:

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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:

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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.

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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.

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

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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?

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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?

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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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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.

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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.”

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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.

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

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Hometown pride…

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

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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.

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

 

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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).”

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

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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.

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

I took all of the photos in this post.

More Art in Truth or Consequences

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Walk around Truth or Consequences, New Mexico, and you’ll see not only galleries full of art, but art covering the walls of buildings and decorating the alleys.

I’ll get this party started by sharing my least favorite piece of public art in Truth or Consequences. This is a tile SDC10039mosaic on the front of the Bank of the Southwest at 509 N Broadway Street. It’s a nice enough (although somewhat bland to my eye) mosaic, except for the caption, “Our Heritage.” Sure, it’s supposed to be inclusive, with the Spanish Catholic guy on the left, the Native American fellow in the middle, and the white cowboy/rancher man on the right, but what about women? Did only men play a role in the heritage of Truth or Consequences/Southern New Mexico/the Southwest? I think not. I roll my eyes every time I see this piece of work that renders invisible the women who played a role in the town’s history.

(After doing some basic Google searching, I was not able to find the name of the artist who did this mosaic, nor when it was completed. If you know the name of the artist and the history of this mosaic, please leave a comment with the info.)

A piece I like more is this one, located in the alley behind the storefront on Broadway that once housed the CHF thrift store.

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Notice the mural around the windows of the white house in the background. Mural and mixed-media piece by Mary Kinninger Walker.

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Detail of the above piece. I like the smaller objects attached to the metal lids.

It’s a mixed media, found object, three-dimensional collage. For a long time, I didn’t know who’d done this piece, but two readers wrote in and told me the work is by Mary Kinninger Walker.

There are so many murals in T or C, I didn’t have a chance to get photos of them all, even though I was in town for about three weeks during my last visit. (In my defense, it was cold out, and I didn’t walk around a lot.)

Another mural I like is this one of a IMG_3948black bird (crow? raven? I can never tell the difference) on a building on Main Street, near the Passion Pie Cafe. I like those puffy little clouds against the light blue sky too. According to the Spring 2015 Sierra County Artist Directory (volume 13), the bird and the sky were painted by Bonita Barlow in 1999.

IMG_3999I also like this painting of the Virgin Mary. (Love those spirals on her cheeks!) She’s painted on a building that’s behind a hurricane fence, so was difficult for me to get a good shot of her, but she is surrounded by color and intricate patterns. The Virgin was also painted by Mary Kinninger Walker.

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Perhaps this manifestation of the Virgin was painted by one of the artists mentioned on the Sierra County, New Mexico website (http://www.sierracountynewmexico.info/attractions/art-in-truth-or-consequences-hillsboro-and-more/).

Truth or Consequences is also home to a growing number of outdoor murals; you’ll find them painted on bath houses, shops, homes, and even vacant buildings located in increasingly colorful alleyways.

I wish that website had shown some of those murals and shared the name of the artists.

I took the next three photos during my first visit to Truth or Consequences in March of 2014. This mural is painted on the back of a building and can be seen from the alley. I was attracted by the bright colors, the turtles, and the skeleton with wings. I found a photo of the skeleton in the above-mentioned Sierra County Artist Directory, and the piece was attributed to Mary Kinninger Walker and Donna Monroe.SDC10033SDC10032

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The next three pieces were also painted by Mary Kinninger Walker.  All of these are located on the back of buildings and can be seen from alleys.

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When Pigs Fly is a shop in T or C. I think this mural must be on what was the back exit to the store when it was located on Broadway.

 

 

 

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I like art that pretties up plain or ugly things.

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Love these super bright colors!

 

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These brightly colored pieces were also painted by Mary Kinninger Walker.

IMG_4003The photo to the left is a detail of a jungle-scene mural that covers the entire back wall of a building. (If I remember correctly, the front of this building is on Broadway.) I love the way the building’s actual window becomes the window of the jungle hut. I love the alert black cat on the roof of the hut. I love the way the swing fits right into the scene. Anyone know who painted this one?

 

 

 

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Information about this mural from http://www.ohwy.com/nm/w/wattanmu.htm

Just about anywhere downtown, one can see this big water tank on the hill and the mural by Anthony Penrock that wraps around it. According to the Online Highways website,

Artist Tony Pennock of Las Cruses, New Mexico painted three water tank murals in Truth or Consequences in the early 1990s. [This] One shows Apache horsemen traveling to rest at the hot springs.

 

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These tags are on a (retaining?) wall on Main Street, near the old post office and the Geronimo Springs Museum. I think graffiti is as legitimate as any other art form.

IMG_3978Sometimes art is functional, like this blue door on Main Street. I really like the intricate design highlighted in that soft yellow.

I hope to go back to T or C someday and take more photos of public art to share here.

I took all of the photos in this post.

Art in Truth or Consequences

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Truth or Consequences is not just a hot springs and bathhouse town; it’s also an art town. In addition to the art in the town’s multiple art galleries, there’s lots of art to see outside too.

According to http://www.sierracountynewmexico.info/attractions/art-in-truth-or-consequences-hillsboro-and-more/, those colorful flower murals adorning the exterior of the Ralph Edwards Civic Center at 400 West Fourth Street are the work of Delmas Howe. IMG_4114 According to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Delmas_Howe,

Howe (born October 22, 1935) is an American Painter and muralist whose figurative work depicts mythological and archetypal – sometimes homoerotic – themes in a neoclassical, realist style. IMG_4110

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Another public building with murals is the Lee Belle Johnson Senior Center, at 301 South Foch Street.  IMG_3980According to http://www.torccenterforthearts.org/homeblog/archives/08-2013, these murals were painted by a group called “the Young da Vincis.” This group of young artists (made up of Reed Tische, Megan Burke, Bethany Walker, Jannelle Knaus, Josh Candelaria, Kyle Cunningham, Jeannie Ortiz and Hannah Goldman) was organized and named by Jia Apple.

According to the above website, four months and at least 2,160 work hours went into these murals. Nine people worked on them about 12 hours a week for 20 weeks. The theme of the murals is local flora/fauna/habitat. The integrity of the historic adobe building–a WPA (Works Progress Administration/Work Projects Administration) project–had to be preserved.

IMG_3982The boarded-up windows of differing shapes were used as insets for the murals.

Again according to http://www.torccenterforthearts.org/homeblog/archives/08-2013

Repeated design elements gave consistency and rhythm. The habitat was strongly delineated in curvy shapes and diagonals that pull you into the picture. Land, water, mountains and sky were depicted in a consistent palette of alternating oranges and blues.IMG_3984
The animal life was consistently depicted two ways—as strong black silhouettes, or set apart in a tondo/circle form, painted in “grisaille” or in shades of black and white with some tans.

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Not all of the outdoor art pieces in T or C are murals. One of my favorite pieces of art in town is the sculpture of a steer called Joy, by R. William Winkler.  IMG_4005This sculpture stands in the parking lot at the corner of Main and Pershing streets. According to New Mexico Curiosities: Quirky Characters, Roadside Oddities & Other Offbeat Stuff,

the statue is made from cedar planks, car parts, and other discarded items. The creature takes its name from the word ‘joy’ cast into the grill of an old wood-burning stove that the artist…scavenged from a cattle ranch along Percha Creek and integrated into his creation.

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I took all photos in this post. I’ll share more examples of outdoor art in T or C tomorrow.

Truth or Consequences, NM

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As I was writing this post, I learned that the game show “Truth or Consequences” began every week with the words, “Hello There, We’ve Been Waiting for You!” Now this sign at the T or C tourism and information center seems a little less creepy.

Truth or Consequences is a small town with a population of 6,246 (as of 2013, according to https://www.google.com/search?q=population+truth+or+consequences&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8.) T or C (as locals commonly call it) is located in southern New Mexico off of Interstate 25 between Socorro to the north and Las Cruces to the south. The town lies within the Chihuahuan Desert and is the county seat for Sierra County.

According to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Truth_or_Consequences,_New_Mexico, major settlement in T or C did not begin until the early 1900s

with the the construction of Elephant Butte Dam and Reservoir in 1912. (Elephant Butte Dam was a part of the Rio Grande Project, an early large-scale irrigation effort authorized under the Reclamation Act of 1902.) The town was originally incorporated as Hot Springs. It became the Sierra County seat in 1937.

(According to http://www.sierracountynewmexico.info/about/, Sierra County was founded in 1884 and has a population of 12,000.)

So how did the town end up with such an unusual name? According to http://www.sierracountynewmexico.info/blog/a-town-named-after-a-game-show/,  it all started with Ralph Edwards’ popular game show, “Truth or Consequences.”

The show aired on the radio from 1940-57, and on television beginning in 1950.

In 1949, as the radio show’s 10th anniversary approached, Edwards asked co-workers for ideas on how to mark the occasion.

“Why not find a town or city somewhere in America that would be willing to change its name to ‘Truth or Consequences,’ and do the anniversary broadcast from that city?” said a staffer.

Edwards liked the idea. The word went out. A number of cities responded. But one stood out from the rest: Hot Springs, New Mexico.

The show’s producer visited Hot Springs to work out the details with the mayor, the Chamber of Commerce, and other local big-wigs. A special election was held on March 31, 1950, and the name changed passed, 1294 to 295.

Edwards promised to come back the following year, and did – but further cemented his relationship with the town by returning every year for the annual Fiesta celebration, bringing Hollywood stars along for the event.

Though Ralph Edwards died in November of 2005, his spirit lives on as T or C celebrates “Ralph Edwards Day” every April 1st, and continues to hold its annual Fiesta the first weekend in May. The city’s largest park and its auditorium are also named for Mr. Edwards. IMG_3937

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This is the logo for the Healing Waters Trail in Truth or Consequences.

Truth or Consequences is a hot springs town (hence the original name). According to http://www.sierracountynewmexico.info/attractions/truth-or-consequences-hot-springs/, “since before recorded history, the therapeutic benefits of the hot springs in this area have drawn people” to what is now Truth or Consequences. (To read about my experiences with the healing hot water at the bathhouses in T or C, go here: http://www.rubbertrampartist.com/2016/02/06/truth-or-consequences-hot-springs-my-experiences/ and here: http://www.rubbertrampartist.com/2016/02/08/truth-or-consequences-hot-springs-my-experiences-part-2/.)

In addition to hot springs, T or C is also an art town. According to http://www.sierracountynewmexico.info/attractions/art-in-truth-or-consequences-hillsboro-and-more/, all of

Sierra County is home to an extraordinary and eccentric group of artists. Traditional arts and crafts flourish alongside cutting-edge contemporary art, creating a lively creative environment.

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This is one of Delmas Howe’s flower murals adorning the Civic Center in T or C.

Works by local painter Delmas Howe are on view [in T or C] at the Geronimo Springs Museum, as well as at Rio Bravo Fine Art Gallery, the largest venue in the county, which was founded by contemporary artist Harold Joe Waldrum (1934-2003). Howe’s colorful flower murals also adorn the exterior of the Truth or Consequences Civic Center.

Local art is the primary focus of  Truth or Consequences‘ Second Saturday Art Hop, held monthly in the [town’s] downtown…

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This photo shows one of T or C’s outdoor murals.

Truth or Consequences is also home to a growing number of outdoor murals; you’ll find them painted on bath houses, shops, homes, and even vacant buildings located in increasingly colorful alleyways.

(To see more of my photos of the art in T or C, go here: http://www.rubbertrampartist.com/2016/02/10/art-in-truth-or-consequences/, here: http://www.rubbertrampartist.com/2016/02/12/more-art-in-truth-or-consequences/, and here: http://www.rubbertrampartist.com/2016/02/07/artwork-from-la-paloma/.)

Truth or Consequences is one of my favorite places, and I think, well worth exploring. If you are wondering where to stay during your T or C adventure, check out this post: http://www.rubbertrampartist.com/2016/02/13/where-to-stay-in-t-or-c/.

I took all of the photos in this post.

Gallery in the Sun (Part 1)

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I first heard of Ettore “Ted” DeGrazia in Phoenix in early 2015. Nolagirl took me to see murals DeGrazia had painted decades before. The building the murals were in was soon to be demolished and the paintings were not going to be preserved. The building was open for a limited time only so folks could see the murals before they were gone forever. (Read about my experience viewing the murals here: http://www.rubbertrampartist.com/2015/10/22/little-known-painting-by-ted-degrazia/.)

At the end of 2015, I spent a few days in Tucson after I got too cold in New Mexico. When I asked Nolagirl what I might want to do in Tucson, she told me there was a DeGrazia gallery in the city. The gallery is located at 6300 North Swan and is open every day (with the exceptions of New Year’s Day, Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas) from 10am to 4pm. There is no admission charge.

According to the informational brochure I picked up at the gallery,

DeGrazia Gallery in the Sun is a 10-acre historic district in the foothills of Tucson’s Santa Catalina Mountains.

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The Mission in the Sun against the Arizona Sky.

IMG_4281I started my visit at the adjoining Mission in the Sun.

According to the brochure,

it was built in 1952 in honor of Father Kino and dedicated to Our Lady of Guadalupe, patron saint of Mexico.

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This door is the entrance to the Mission in the Sun.

 

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This message is painted on the back wall in the main part of the chapel.

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DeGrazia’s painting of Our Lady of Guadalupe in the Mission.

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Unlike in most Catholic churches I’ve visited, Jesus on the Cross is not at the front of the Mission in the Sun. Here, DeGrazia’s Lady of Guadalupe is front and center. Visitors have left tokens of their loved ones on the alter.

The chapel has an open-air ceiling. DeGrazia said

The roof is open to the sky, as it should be. You can’t close up God in a stuffy room!

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This photo of the Mission was taken while I was standing in front of the alter. It shows the entrance door at the back of the room and the open-air ceiling. Some of DeGrazia’s murals are also visible in this photo.

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When one looks up through the open-air ceiling, one sees this cross made from cholla cactus rising above the Mission.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DeGrazia painted several murals in the Mission of the Sun.

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This mural by Ted DeGrazia is on one side of the door leading into the main part of the chapel.

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This mural by Ted DeGrazia is on the other side of the door leading into the main part of the chapel.

Angels

Jehovah's favorite choir?

Jehovah’s favorite choir?

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The brochure says

Next to the mission are the artist’s orginal home, his grave-site, and the Little Gallery that hosts visiting artists during the winter months.

I visited the Little Gallery and met the visiting artist Silvia Hogue, who works in watercolor, pen and acrylic.

Next I visited DeGrazia’s original home. IMG_4258

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Horseshoe art outside the house’s front entrance.

I was immediately struck by how small the house is. The front door opens into a main room. To the right is a smaller room (a bedroom?). To the right of that room is an even smaller, darker room. Straight ahead from the main room is another large-ish room divided by a counter into a cooking area (wood stove still in place) and what was probably a dining area. When I visited the house again later in the day, I realized there is no furniture in the house! That house must have seemed really small when there was furniture in it.

 

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Unfortunately, I did not realize DeGrazia’s grave was on-site, so I did not visit it. Next time I’m there I’ll know to look for it.

On the grounds is a large mosaic mural DeGrazia created.

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From a distance, the casual observer might think this is a painting, but up close, the small tiles are visible.

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Many desert plants grow on the grounds. I don’t even know the name of all the plants I saw there. IMG_4341

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IMG_4336According to the brochure,

In October 2006, the 10-acre foothills site was added to the National Register of Historic Places.

Tomorrow I will share my experiences in the actual art gallery.

To learn more about Gallery in the Sun, visit the website: http://degrazia.org/.

I took all the photos in this post.

Little-Known Painting by Ted DeGrazia

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I took this photo of a little-known painting by Ted DeGrazia in a building in Phoenix that was soon to be demolished.

Don’t know who Ted DeGrazia is? I didn’t either until Nolagirl took me to the building (which was open to the public for the weekend) to see this work and another long piece that covered an entire side wall. (I didn’t think I could get a good shot of that piece, so I didn’t even try. I couldn’t get the entirety of the piece in one shot, and the lighting was poor.)

According to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ettore_DeGrazia,

Ettore “Ted” DeGrazia (June 14, 1909 – September 17, 1982) was an American impressionist, painter, sculptor, composer, actor, director, designer, architect, jeweler, and lithographer. Described as “the world’s most reproduced artist”, DeGrazia is known for his colorful images of Native American children of the American Southwest and other Western scenes. DeGrazia also painted several series of exhibitions like the Papago Legends, Padre Kino, Cabeza de Vaca.

According to http://degrazia.org/about-degrazia/bio/,

The son of Italian immigrants, Ettore DeGrazia was born June 14, 1909, in the Morenci mining camp of Territorial Arizona. His early childhood experiences in the ethnically diverse community evolved into a lifelong appreciation of native cultures in the Sonoran Desert and a passion to create art depicting their lives and lore.

DeGrazia’s paintings, ceramics and other artwork steadily attracted media attention including the NBC newsreel “Watch the World” and a profile in the 1953 National Geographic article “From Tucson to Tombstone.”

From 1960 to the mid-1970s DeGrazia became wildly successful and the gallery flourished with hundreds of thousands of yearly visitors. To protest inheritance taxes on works of art, DeGrazia hauled about 100 of his paintings on horseback into the Superstition Mountains near Phoenix and set them ablaze in 1976. This infamous event was reported in such publications as The Wall Street Journal and People magazine, becoming part of DeGrazia’s legend before his death in 1982. By this time, the artist had established the DeGrazia Foundation to ensure the permanent preservation of his art and architecture for future generations.

As for the murals in the now demolished building?

According to http://www.phoenixnewtimes.com/arts/say-goodbye-to-ted-degrazia-and-lauren-lees-roosevelt-row-murals-6573461,

Despite public outcry, including a protest and an online petition, only the smaller of two Ted DeGrazia murals, the one portraying a dancer[photo above], inside the 222 building will be salvaged.

DeGrazia painted the murals, the larger of which depicts the history of alcohol, more than a half-century ago.

According to http://www.azcentral.com/story/entertainment/arts/2015/03/05/degrazia-murals-open-to-public-at-green-haus-in-phoenix-during-art-detour/24402531/,

DeGrazia painted the 47-foot mural of cancan girls, alcohol distillation and flying women with chalices 65 years ago to pay off — legend has it — a bar tab at a Phoenix lounge. Experts estimated it would cost at least $250,000 to save. Although there was a public outcry, no one stepped forward with funding or a concrete plan to preserve and re-install the mural elsewhere.

The Observer reported in January 2015,

The larger mural has been protected by a wall since the building became a working studio. The smaller one is painted on drywall that apparently could be moved to a new location, but the big mural is drywall-on-brick and probably can’t be moved. (http://www.observerweekly.com/content/historic-phoenix-bar%E2%80%99s-ted-degrazia-murals-facing-bulldozer)

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This photo by Catherine Slye shows part of DeGrazia’s larger mural that was demolished along with the building.

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Another photo by Catherine Slye shows a different section of DeGrazia’s larger mural.

I was glad to have the opportunity to see these murals before they were demolished along with the building to make room for more housing for rich people in Phoenix. I guess that’s progress.