Painted Picture Walls of Phoenix   3 comments

Do other cities do this?  Paint giant murals on the walls of their business establishments?  I haven’t seen it, but then I don’t imagine the casual visitor to Phoenix would see these either.  It seems to be an Hispanic thing–these wall paintings tend to appear in primarily Chicano neighborhoods and on the walls of Chicano organizations or businesses.

Civic Pride? Surely this is a Phoenix bird rising above the mountains of the Southwest.


One picture like this on a wall would be striking enough, but these pictures tend to appear in gigantic murals that cover one or more walls of the building involved.  Here’s the rest of this panorama which is on dispaly about 1900 E. McDowell Road, about 3 miles from my house.

Buildings, mountains, and cloudy skies? Why cloudy? It doesn't rain that much here.


Turning the corner, we learn it is a bright desert day at a Mexican restaurant. I have never even been inside here.


It has to be sunset. You only get these colors when the sun is going down.


Phoenix used to do a lot of spotlights in the night sky, but hasn't been doing that for several years now. This appears to be not the bat-signal, but the Gonzalez signal.


While most of what I intend to show you is epic in scale, sometimes you get just a single short section of  wall all painted up.


Look!  There’s a gigantic Olmec head lurking on the side of this picture.

Some murals go around corners and have messages on them.


Because of the way I arrived at this location, and because of heavy traffic on 16th Street, I had to take these pictures from across the street.


The message is above and below the pictures.


Sometimes the picture gets obscured by later additions. I'm sure the shaded bus stop came long after the mural.


The eight panels of this mural are only half a mile from North High School, a school that is about 80% Hispanic.  How many thousands of young minds are influenced by it every year?

It may be worth mentioning that everything in the blog today is located in the east Central section of the city, which is the section where I live.  There are such paintings in other parts of the city, but it’s harder for me to find them, and I didn’t go to those parts of the city when I took these shots.  It’s just as well, because my camera’a batteries failed on me before I finished even this one corner of town.

Here’s another set of message pictures, and this one is a lot easier to read.

Desert landscaping made it hard for me to get a straight-on, unobscured shot of the first panel.


Celebrating ordinary life but with an inspirational theme . . .


Eight panels for this diorama, and there's a winged butterfly person in the last one. Weird.


Not all the ejpic dioramas are so inspirational.  The next one, which was just a mile down the road is flat-out psychelic bizarro.

The trash dumpster is painted too, although that's hard to see from this angle.


This kind of thing makes my eyes hurt.


The artist has a lot of skill, and quite an imagination.


This is the shop window of the building with the psychedelic wall. I still had no idea what kind of business was inside.


I have gone by this place a thousand times at least.  It’s right on the way between my house and the main library downtown, and you all know how connected I am to the library.  This time I was on foot, and I went inside to see what the hell it is.  The psychelic building is a hair salon.  No, I didn’t stay for a haircut, but if I ever decide to dye my beard and put a purple streak in it, this is where I will take my business.

That’s all I have for you right now, although there are many more painted walls in the city.  I like them, even the weirdest ones.  They are a tribute to the human spirit, the urge to beautify and tell stories with art.  Nothing shown in this blog qualifies as great art, but it’s all larger than life.  It brightens the city and lifts my spirits when I see it, and I’m glad that there are painted picture walls in Phoenix.  If I get more pictures I may revisit this scene. 

Please leave a comment if your city also has painted picture walls like these.


Posted November 25, 2010 by atroll in Uncategorized

3 responses to “Painted Picture Walls of Phoenix

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  1. How does your city prevent anti-social elements from spoiling these works of art by spraying things on top pf them?

  2. There are graffiti removal squads in Phoenix Parks Department, but tagging isn’t a very big deal here in Phoenix. Perhaps because most of the pictures come from Hispanics, and most of the gangs are Hispanic, a certain kind of civic Hispanic pride keeps them from defacing their own art. Or, maybe it’s snipers on the rooftops.

  3. Pingback: The Heart of Phoenix, Part two « Atroll's Entertainment

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