Saturday, April 24, 2010

Public Art...

My friend, Juan Garcia, is very interested in "public art"... not the kind that is funded my cities and states, but the kind that is sometimes legal, sometimes sponsored, and sometimes good. Graffiti, in other words. He has amassed quite a body of work on this genre and is working on a photo book.

About a month ago Juan invited me out on a Sunday morning to show me some of the places he has photographed this public art in Phoenix. Our friend Tiffany Pacileo came along as well. He has also photographed in Tucson and Los Angeles.

One place in particular he took me to was behind the Barrio Cafe on 16th Street in Phoenix. This is a fine-dining Mexican restaurant, who's chef, Silvana Salcido Esparza, has been nominated for a James Beard Award this year. One of the neat features of this place is that the owner of the restaurant has commissioned a local artist, El Moisés, to paint a mural on the block wall that lines the driveway and parking lot behind the restaurant. This mural was written up in the Arizona Republic in December, 2009.

Barrio Cafe mural by El Moisés, 2010

There are many distinct sections to the mural and it incorporates Aztec, Chicano, Pop Art, and Religious elements. One particular element that caught my attention was the Lucha libre (free wrestling) masks. These are masks worn by "professional" wrestlers of Latino descent. I remember watching them as a kid, when pro wrestling was good. Remember Bruno Sammartino, George the Animal Steele, and the Iron Sheik? Those were the good ol' days. These look almost like those Power Ranger cartoon guys.

Barrio Cafe mural by El Moisés, 2010

Anyway, we checked out a few more places, and I came across this. It is an old window or something, that has been boarded up, and had bars put up over it. Then it was colorfully painted. The colors, textures and geometry were very interesting all together.

Painted Grid, Phoenix, 2010, by Richard M. Coda

After we called it a morning I headed to a place that I had found a week earlier, on Seventh Street just south of Roosevelt, a few blocks north of Chase Field. It is an old ad on the side of a building that houses Avant-Garde William & Co. It kind of reminds me of the Babbitt's Ad that I photographed in Flagstaff back in 2008, only this time black & white just didn't work for me. Actually, I want to photograph the Babbitt's ad in color as well.

803, Phoenix, AZ, 2010 by Richard M. Coda

All of these images were shot with 4x5 Velvia transparency film.

Remember, you have until Sunday to vote for Lindsay's John Wayne chalk painting at Prescott eNews. Vote and vote often!

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