Tag Archives: PHX

Little-Known Painting by Ted DeGrazia



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)


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


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.

The Walls of Phoenix


I was going to sell jewelry and shiny rocks in a parking lot craft market near Roosevelt Row during First Friday. I arrived early, so I walked around a bit and took some photos of the murals painted in the area.


This mural is on the wall of a very small parking area. If a car had been parked in this spot, I’d have never seen this mural, much less gotten a photo of it.

The paintings in the next several photos are on a building on 4th Street, almost on the corner of Roosevelt. The actual corner of 4th Street and Roosevelt is a vacant lot, so this mural is visible from Roosevelt Street.


This is about one-third of the full mural.


This is a detail of the detail.

This is a detail of the detail. I really like the Day of the Dead-meets-flapper look, although I’m not sure how a skull could possibly have lips and eyelashes.



And how could a skull have eyeballs? I do like this dapper skull guy.

The other two thirds of the mural has a different vibe, more ethereal and dreamy.

IMG_2304        IMG_2305


I found out online that this portion of the mural was painted by Tato Caraveo. http://www.thelostleaf.org/Murals.aspx



This portion of the mural is also by Tato Caraveo. To see him working on it, go to http://www.thelostleaf.org/Murals.aspx and scroll down.



I especially like this cat and its shadow.

The next piece has more of a graffiti vibe to it. It was painted just under the rafters of what seems to be an abandoned house.

I believe I took this photo between 4th and 5th streets on Garfield, but maybe it was between 5th and 6th Streets.

I believe I took this photo of cow graffiti between 4th and 5th Streets on Garfield, but maybe it was between 5th and 6th Streets…definitely on Garfield though.

The last piece is at 3rd Street and Roosevelt, and I took the photo the next afternoon when I was out and about with Nolagirl.


This mural was painted by Lauren Lee, and it’s called Three Birds.

The building this mural is on is scheduled for demolition. By the time you read this post, this mural will probably be forever gone.

(I took all the photos in this post.)

Los Olivos Park



In February 2015, I had a house/dog/cat sitting gig at a home across the street from Los Olivos Park in Phoenix, Arizona. On the first morning I was there, I took photos while the dog and I were out for our morning walk.

IMG_1744  This was the sunrise we saw as we started our walk.

Los Olivos Park was originally an olive grove.  IMG_1785      Hence the name. Hence the olive trees growing in rows.

The park has a really nice, big, covered playground for kids. IMG_1773     IMG_1772     IMG_1758

There are many picnic tables scattered throughout the park and even some barbecue pits. Unfortunately, only two of the picnic tables are under a shelter. (That’s two tables under one shelter.) So in the long, hot Phoenix summer, if you and your friends want to sit at a picnic table, you might get some shade from a nearby tree, but you’re mostly going to be in the sun. The woman I was house sitting for told me that on weekends she sees one person stake out the covered shelter territory early in the morning in preparation for a party later in the day.


The park also boasts a disc golf course. On Friday afternoon, there were several groups playing disc golf.

A concrete jogging/walking path winds through the park. Along the path, there are exercise stations where folks can stop and do a specific workout.

There are two sand volleyball courts too. It’s hard to get a good photo of a net, so I didn’t even try.

Even with the big playground, picnic tables, a walking/jogging path, and disc golf and volleyball courts, there’s still plenty of room in the park to toss a Frisbee, kick a soccer ball, play catch, or just run around and spin in circles. Los Olivos is a huge park.

If you have to use the facilities while in Los Olivos park, there are facilities to use. This is the restroom building.IMG_1754

It kind of looks like a jail. I didn’t actually have to use the facilities, but I peeked in, just to see what it looked like. It wasn’t horrid or terribly dirty. It was better than park restrooms I’ve seen in New York City and Richmond, Virginia. As the dog and I were wandering around the park before 8 o’clock on a Saturday morning, a city truck pulled up to the restroom building. Workers were cleaning the restrooms.


Along with the olive trees in the park, there are some palm trees. Palm trees are not native to Phoenix. Well, neither are olive trees, for that matter. Learn more about the palm trees in Phoenix here: http://www.examiner.com/article/the-palm-tree-story-of-phoenix and the olive trees in Phoenix here: http://www.garden.org/regional/report/arch/inmygarden/3656.

Dogs are allowed in the park (obviously, or I would not have been walking the dog there). There are signs in the park stating that all dogs have to be leashed at all times. Not everyone follows this rule, so anyone visiting with a dog companion should be cautious and alert.

The park is open from 6am until 10pm. There is plenty of parking on the streets on both sides of the park, but there are signs saying it is illegal to park in those spots from 10pm until 6am. Parking is also allowed in the two good sized lots behind and on the side of the senior center. The entrance to the back lot is off of Devonshire and the entrance to the side lot if off of Glenrosa.

On Friday evening, an older, brown Dodge van that had been retrofitted with the proper accessories to be an ice cream truck stopped on the street alongside the park. While it was parked, the song it played was the instrumental version of “Union Maid” by Woody Guthrie, particularly the part that goes

Oh, you can’t scare me, I’m sticking to the union,
I’m sticking to the union, I’m sticking to the union.
Oh, you can’t scare me, I’m sticking to the union,
I’m sticking to the union ’til the day I die.

I thought that was a little bit weird, but it made me happy too.


Self-portrait with dog.

I took all of the photos in this post.

Encanto Park



Encanto Park is on 15th Avenue in Phoenix, Arizona. I spent a couple of hours there one afternoon.     IMG_2022

The coolest thing about Encanto Park is the Community Fishing Water,  IMG_1937 otherwise known as a pond. Maybe it’s a lake. It’s pretty big. I guess it’s cool for desert city dwellers to be able to fish.  IMG_1943

There are islands in different parts of the lake, like this one:   IMG_2026            Some of the islands have waterfalls, like these  IMG_1975     IMG_1976.

There are lots of water birds in the lake.




Duck, Duck, Duck, Duck, Duck, Duck…..





Some of the water birds get out of the water and walk around on the land. IMG_1968           IMG_2042      That’s why there is bird shit all over the ground in Encanto Park. There are a large number of pigeons in the park as well. It is important to watch not only where you walk, but also where you sit. There is much bird shit in Encanto Park.

IMG_1979 Encanto Park has a large, covered playground for kids. There were actually kids playing on it when I was there, so I took a photo from a distance. I didn’t want the parents to think I was some kind of pervert taking pictures of their playing kids.

IMG_2016     This is the building housing the restrooms. These were the cleanest restrooms I have ever seen in a park. The doors to the stalls locked securely, and there was soap in the dispensers. No creepy vibe here!

There are several bridges crossing the lake so folks can get from one side to the other. IMG_1954

This is the Little Red Bridge. It has a story.      IMG_2023                   The original Little Red Bridge was constructed between 1935 and 1938. People took family pictures and wedding photos on the Little Red Bridge. In 2008, the bridge was barricaded because of structural decay; then, during a storm, a large tree was uprooted and fell on top of the bridge. The city of Phoenix decided to tear down the bridge and not replace it. BOO! Then folks got together and rebuilt the Little Red Bridge. Yippee! Read more about it here: http://www.structuralgrace.com/featured-project-details.asp?ProjectID=27.

IMG_2035 There is an amusement park on an island within Encanto Park. The Lady of the House told me it’s really geared toward little kids. IMG_2031 There is a train that leaves from the amusement park and takes passengers on a trip around Enchanted Island. IMG_2037

There is a dusty, shady sitting area within the park which, according to these bricks, is called the Garden of Dreams.


The middle brick on the top row reads, “Welcome to the Garden of Dreams.”

IMG_2029     On the benches inside the sitting area were these two plaques.     IMG_2028     This larger plaque was in the ground.    IMG_2027    The Compassionate Friends is a group which supports families after the death of a child.  Find out more about them here: http://www.compassionatefriends.org/home.aspx.

Here is an article (http://www.azcentral.com/news/articles/2011/09/25/20110925phoenix-encanto-park-garden-dreams.html) which tells how the Garden of Dreams came into being.

Near the entrance to the park, there is a statue dedicated to “World Progress Through Scientific Research in the Laboratory.”     IMG_1983     IMG_1985     You can find out more about it here: http://arizonaoddities.com/2014/01/encanto-park-statue-dedicated-to-scientific-progress/.

IMG_1977     As seems to be the case in most (all?) Phoenix parks, there are a lot of palm trees in Encanto Park.

I witnessed only two mildly interesting events while I was in Encanto Park.

A man offered to sell me a old-school Singer sewing machine. I was in the parking lot, walking towards my van, and I saw a man pushing one of those collapsible metal carts that people who live in big cities and don’t have cars use to bring home their groceries. The cart was packed full of stuff, and at first I thought the man (a fellow probably in his early 60s) was homeless. Then I realized the cart was packed with fishing gear: rods and reels, tackle boxes, a chair…everything he needed for a couple of hours utilizing the community fishing water. We said hello and he asked me if I knew anyone who was looking to buy a sewing machine. He said it was an old Singer, and gestured over to his truck. The sewing machine was in the bed of his pickup, up against the cab. He said he’d gotten it out of a storage locker. I asked him what he was asking for it, and he said $100. He told me that new Singers are running $500 (he called the Singer store, he told me), and they’re only guaranteed for one year. I told him I wasn’t looking for a sewing machine. (Where would it go in my van?!!) However, if I had been looking for a sewing machine, I would have been interested in this one. (He left the sewing machine in the back of his truck, with a sign on it saying it was for sale for $125. He must be a trusting man to leave it and not worry that it would be stolen. Maybe it’s too heavy to be carried away.)

The other event happened while I was sitting at a picnic table under a ramada near the playground. I was looking through the photos I had taken, deleting those I didn’t like. A grandmother deposited her two grandbabies on the playground and sat at the other table under the ramada. I wasn’t paying much attention to her until I hear the unmistakable click click noise of a nail clipper. I looked over to find that Abuela had kicked off her flip flop and was trimming her toenails while she had a moment’s peace.