Archive for the ‘street art’ Tag

Painted Walls of the Roosevelt District   Leave a comment

I have written before about the painted walls of Phoenix. Artists, especially Chicano artists, but I suspect all artists have this trait, just love to find large open spaces they can fill with their pictures.  Phoenix has a lot of murals and larger than life paintings done on sides of buildings, fences, and stone walls. I knew there was some art on Roosevelt–the half mile street between McDowell and Van Buren, but I never knew how much there was until I went down there yesterday, parked, and looked around. I found more stuff than I can show you in a single blog.

My curiosity was aroused by this piece of art as I drove past it last week in an attempt to get across town during rush hour. The freeway and the mile roads were bumper to bumper, so I tried to make better time on the half mile road. And as I neared 3rd Street going west, I saw this:

I saw all the tentacles, and my first thought was Cthulhu.

I saw all the tentacles, and my first thought was Cthulhu.

Yeah, there’s a fence in the way, so I couldn’t get a really good picture of it, but you have to admit that this is a pretty bizarre thing to find on a wall in downtown Phoenix, Arizona. When I first saw it, I knew I had to come back and look more carefully.

One of the great myths of pre-Columbian Mexico is the story of Aztlan, the primordial homeland of the Aztec people (and several related tribes as well). Themes drawn from pre-Conquest Mexico often show up in Chicano art–it is part of the heritage of Mexico and the Mexican people. I found a lot of that in the Roosevelt district.

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These six panels covered a fence just east of 3rd Street. The top two are the most clearly Aztec in inspiration. The first one is a very good representation of the Quetzalcoatl figures carved into Mexican stonework, especially in Teotihuacan (technically Toltec, but it is a precursor to the Aztecs who arrived on the scene some 500 years after the City of the Gods was abandoned). The second one down shows a woman in the native costume of the natives of Central Mexico. The artist is Gennaro Garcia, an immigrant from Mexico. The man is prolific and has several pages on the internet, including Facebook. I may track him down and ask him to explain this series. I’m sure there are stories behind each picture.

Another distinctive Mexican theme is to represent people as skeletons. This is related to the Mexican Day of the Dead holiday (actually a 3 day holiday from October 31 to November 2). That ties it into Halloween and All Souls Day from the Catholic religion. Mexico is a very Catholic country, but the older native mythology has persisted and underlies some of the Catholic celebrations.

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The watery theme may be a reference to Venice, or to Tenochtitlan, now known as Mexico City, a city built on a the big lake that was the center of the Valley of Mexico before the Spaniards arrived.

As you can see, the art is very colorful, fantastic and amazing. There is a great deal more in that part of town to see, but I’m not going to try and cram it all into one blog.  I close this with one final picture. I don’t know whether this represents the Phoenix bird (this is Phoenix, Arizona), the Mexican Eagle, the American Eagle, or even the Thunderbird of the Southwestern tribes. Perhaps it can stand for all of them. That’s the glory of symbolism.

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If you have seen this art, or great wall art in your own city, why not leave a comment?

–end

Posted January 29, 2015 by atroll in Arizona, murals, Phoenix Arizona, Uncategorized

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Journey to the Film Bar   3 comments

I have been aware of an independent movie theater for a couple of years now called the Film Bar, but I had never visited it. I found out last week that this fantastic Chinese film called JOURNEY TO THE WEST was being shown there all this week, and decided that I had to see it. Sunday afternoon, April 6, 2014, Corencio and I headed off to check out this fabulous place.  I took the camera along, and this is what I found.

 

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The time is about 6 p.m. There is still plenty of daylight. The wires visible above the building suggested something to the downtown painter and this wall has been turned into this rather bizarre scene. i got this picture because I wound up parked across the street from it, and it is too strange to ignore.

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I am parked in front of this building. Mr. Piano Teeth is also watching the poles.

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My desintation is across the street. I think I’ll walk around and check out the neighborhood.

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Looking towards the center of town on 2nd Street.

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Hotel Westward Ho, a survival from early Phoenix, is about 2 blocks away.

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The area is protected by an angel. She also serves drinks.

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Perhaps she is the owner of the Angels Trumpet. She adorns the south wall of it.

2014-04-06 06.15.52Front door to the Film Bar. No external box office here.

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Another view.

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Some people inside were singing and dancing.

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The walls are full of art, and also hung with art.

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The sports lounge in the bar. Buy a drink, walk around a corner, and watch soccer.

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Yep! It’s a real bar.

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Art for sale. Meant to appeal to a Bohemian crowd, but the painters want real money for this work. I don’t see anything here that I would pay 2 or 3 hundred dollars for, but what do I know? These originals may be worth fortunes some day.

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More art. The naked blonde is somebody’s muse. She appears in more than one picture on the walls.

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Bathroom doors.  I love it when artists get creative around the bathroom.

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The Grinch plays chess!  Who knew? See the blonde. She doesn’t seem like a happy muse.

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Entrance to the theater. I bought our tickets at the bar, got admitted here. They only staff it when a movie is about to start.

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Blue screen and theater seats. Cameras aren’t allowed, but I’m not trying to photo their movie.

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 There is a back way out. We didn’t use it. The movie was very enjoyable, and I find the Film Bar a pretty cool place, but at $9 a ticket, I won’t be going there often. However the film opened my eyes to a whole world of Chinese fantasy I only vaguely knew about before, and thanks to youtube, I will be watching a lot of it in the future.

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If  you’ve ever gone to an independent or art theater, or if you’ve seen Journey to the West, or would like to, why not leave a comment?

–end

Little Shop of Horrors in Phoenix   3 comments

On my way home from gym class Wednesday afternoon, I took a different route, and I found something very different.  I decided to come back and document it, so Thursday, Feb. 13, I returned with camera and this is what I found.
Self portrait of the artist? Or, is it Seymour?

Self portrait of the artist? Or, is it Seymour?

This guy appears to be in some pain. I am thinking it may be the artist, seeing himself as  Seymour, the protagonist. This all came out of a 1960 film by Roger Corman called Little Shop of Horrors that was written by Charles B. Griffith. Here’s a link to explain it all if you haven’t seen the play or the movie.  (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Little_Shop_of_Horrors).  What I love most about the pictures that follow is that these giant carnivorous plants seem to be so happy with themselves.

Moving from left to right, north to south down the side of the building this is what you see.

Moving from left to right, north to south down the side of the building this is what you see.

. . .

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. . .

2014-02-13 00.02.04. . .

2014-02-13 00.02.21. . .

2014-02-13 00.02.34. . .

2014-02-13 00.02.46. . .

2014-02-13 00.03.01. . .

2014-02-13 00.03.13. . . and then you go around the corner.  I was looking for a way in to see if could talk about the art, but that did not prove possible. Whatever is happening in this building, it is not open to the general public.

and then you go around the corner for the first picture shown up above.

Even on the short wall, the picture was too big to get in one shot.

. . .

What planet are we on? It certainly isn't Earth.

Mother and child?

View looking north from across a street.

View looking north from across a street.

This “Little Shop of Horrors” is in one of the older and poorer neighborhoods in Phoenix. Within a few blocks there are some other interesting examples of street art.  I drove and walked around to show what else can be found in this seedy part of Phoenix.

Firestation number 3 is just south of the Green House. This is the nicest place in the area, but if it was the third station established in Phoenix, it shows how old the neighborhood is. There are now 59 fire stations in the Phoenix city limits.

Firestation number 3 is just south of the Green House. This is the nicest place in the area, but if it was the third station established in Phoenix, it shows how old the neighborhood is. There are now 59 fire stations in the Phoenix city limits.

Just down the street one lot lies this home, built in the style of an earlier century and different world. I am thinking that the Addams Family or perhaps some of their relatives live here.

Just down the street one lot lies this home, built in the style of an earlier century and different world. I am thinking that the Addams Family or perhaps some of their relatives live here.

Two blocks further down the road, I found this memorial to diversity and freedom. Was it done by the same artist?

Two blocks further down the road, I found this memorial to diversity and freedom. Was it done by the same artist?

Who knew there was a Statue of Liberty in Phoenix, Arizona?

Who knew there was a Statue of Liberty in Phoenix, Arizona?

The young woman or girl is clearly meant to be Hispanic. She and her people have come north on the “yellow brick road” from a land in chains to the land of freedom.  Even so, this land is fenced in. We are not all that “free”.

There are some quotes from American Presidents painted onto the building. I am wondering who needs to see these quotes, and realize they are probably aimed at people like me.

There are some quotes from American Presidents painted onto the building. I am wondering who needs to see these quotes, and realize they are probably aimed at people like me.

Do you recognize this quote from the Statue of Liberty?

Do you recognize this quote from the Statue of Liberty?

Does it come as a surprise to you that this is part of a "historic" district? It surprised me. I have lived my entire life in Phoenix and never seen one of these signs before.  Phoenix, and especially its suburbs, is not known for its historic districts.

Does it come as a surprise to you that this is part of a “historic” district? It surprised me. I have lived my entire life in Phoenix and never seen one of these signs before. Phoenix, and especially its suburbs, is not known for its historic districts.

The skyline of downtown Phoenix is only half a mile away.

The skyline of downtown Phoenix is only half a mile away.

Three blocks to the north, I found a different fantasy landscape, this one clearly aimed and painted for children, on the 15th Avenue sidewall of an ancient family grocery store.

Three blocks to the north, I found a different fantasy landscape, this one clearly aimed and painted for children, on the 15th Avenue sidewall of an ancient family grocery store.

Some people might claim these are weeds, but I see them as the native flowers of this part of the country. They grow on the streets and don’t need a garden to survive.

Two blocks to the northwest on Grand Avenue I found this friendly fellow. Clearly, the same artist has struck again.

Two blocks to the northwest on Grand Avenue I found this friendly fellow. Clearly, the same artist has struck again.

And on a side street I found this plaintive message. Is it from the unknown artist?

And on a side street I found this plaintive message. Is it from the unknown artist?

Who did all this?  I don’t know–did not see any signatures on this art. Phoenix is decorated with such murals, however, and many of them are in areas that are chiefly Spanish in population.  I love the street art of Phoenix, and wish there was even more of it.

If your city also bedecks itself in painted walls and street art, why not leave a comment?

–end

Posted February 14, 2014 by atroll in Arizona, Phoenix Arizona, Uncategorized

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