Phoenix murals brighten up the city

Downtown Phoenix is taking a new approach to ridding the city of graffiti tags. Instead of washing them clean, local artists are being called upon to create works of art for the entire community to enjoy. Residents looking for real estate in Phoenix may be delighted by the colorful street art that is turning drab buildings into murals.

Homebuyers who look at specific neighborhoods, like Roosevelt District, hope to no longer be haunted by tags and vandalism, according to The Arizona Republic. Street artists, like Martin Moreno told the publication that if an artist incorporates and embraces the community, others will respect it. The artist is different from many other street artists because he uses paint as his medium, whereas many others use spray paint.

“The mural art scene has just taken off in the last three to five years. It's gained a lot of momentum,” he said. “Most people that are into the writing form of it sort of know better not to go over a large-scale piece that are done with a higher quality than what they are doing.”

Some of the area’s most beloved pieces around the city are painted, pasted and stenciled onto buildings and garages. One of those murals is a chalkboard-like painting with the title: “Within Five Years, I’d Like to See Phoenix...” Some of the items on the wishlist include reducing car use by 20 percent, becoming more vibrant and finding uses for empty lots. The piece was created by volunteers and members of Keep Phoenix Beautiful and encourages community members to voice their opinions.

Famous artist paints the town
El Mac has been a long-time street artist in Phoenix, and his portrait of a young Mexican boy on the garage door of The Chocolate Factory has been there since 2009. Another street artist, David Quan, airbrushed a brightly colored “frame” around the photo since then. Quan told the Phoenix New Times that he made sure not to paint over the legendary artist’s work on the garage, since he is somewhat of a celebrity in the community.

In December 2011, documentary photographer, Jetsonorama, collaborated with Thomas Marcus on a billboard installation on 16th Street. The black-and-white photograph may not literally brighten up the corner, but the beautiful vintage portrait adds an artistic flair.