Street art is transforming the way we use urban public spaces, and shifting the conceptions around graffiti and vandalism in cities worldwide. The explosion in the popularity of street art and Arizona murals is significantly tied to the growing developments in digital media; such as the spread of mobile devices, photo sharing, blogging, and social media sites. These technologies have created a new way to document, share, and spread global awareness of street art that has fueled its demand today.
Graffiti art can completely transform the way the public views a neighborhood or business, and is now starting to be seen as a commodity that adds value, rather than vandalism. Instagram-friendly photo opportunities of Arizona murals at businesses have exploded over the last couple of years. Businesses are realizing that adding murals can increase the property’s value by attracting future guests or customers, helping it stand out from other businesses and make it a ‘must-see’ destination. The public suddenly starts visiting the sites to do photo shoots in front of the murals, which increases foot traffic, as well as sparks interest into the venue. The murals also highlight the community or area’s heritage and history, increase artist recognition, and add character to the building.
This growing phenomenon is especially popular in Arizona, particularly in the artsy and eclectic areas of Downtown Phoenix and Tucson. Arizona murals are making colorful debuts and appearances on the walls of restaurants, bars, hotels, business plazas, churches, residences, and more!
There is so much art to see that it may be difficult to know where to start. If you need a bit of guidance, take a look at a few of Arizona’s most Instagrammable murals listed below, and to check out even more inspiring murals go to muralsofphoenix.com.
Malinda Rising, painted by artists Darrin Armijo-Wardle and Hugo Medina in May 2017, tells the fascinating story of an African-American woman who came to Arizona searching for her identity years ago. During her time here everyone believed that she was a ghost or a mystical being, so the artists wanted to portray the mystery around her life in this mural. The hazy vivid colors surrounding her solemn face properly depict the enigma of Malinda’s life and immediately draw you into the story. So next time you are in Downtown Phoenix, go out and find this hidden gem on the alley side of the Renaissance Hotel located at 100 N. 1st St.
Out Shine On Us
Check out this breathtaking piece in the heart of Roosevelt Row. Out Shine On Us by street artist, Sentrock, is bright, complex, and captivating. The mural was created during Phoenix’s Central City South Mural Project and was finished in December of 2017. Make sure to stop by 4th Avenue and Hadley Street in Downtown Phoenix and snap a picture yourself!
Talk about dynamic art! Water Wars was a collaboration done in December 2016 by artists Leter91, Vela Art, Guache, Insano, and 0rgans, and is located on 20th Street and Roosevelt. This mural captivates you by telling a story that depicts Native American heritage with such spirited imagery. It is definitely a must-see the next time you find yourself on the Row.
Welcome to Phoenix! Whether you are a Phoenix native or just visiting, make sure to stop and see this fun mural located behind the Barrio Cafe on 16th Street and Windsor. This piece was finished in May 2019 by artists Pablo Luna, Angel Diaz, Breeze M, and Lalo Cota.
Hang out at The Churchill in Downtown Phoenix, and see some amazing art! Behind the modern, open-air food court you will find this colorful mural done by artist Josh Brizuela. This piece was created as a part of the 1 ½ Street Mural Project in April 2019 and can be found at 901 N. 1st St.
Park Central Mall
This is not your average, run-of-the-mill, Jimmy John’s wall! On your next lunch break head over to the Park Central Mall, and witness this charismatic mural that was created by Jane Goat in February 2019. This piece was made for the Park Central project in order to revitalize the property and incorporate arts and culture as a way to bring the community together.
It seems very appropriate to have a mural of a giant robot painted on the wall of an electronics store, right? This inventive piece was created by Madman on the back of Victory Electronics on 23rd Avenue and Buckeye as a part of the Phoenix Mural Project in May 2018. So next time you’re in the area, or just want to see some cool art, head over to Victory Electronics.
Inspired by ancient Mayan and Aztec artwork, this compelling mural was created by Edgar Fernandez, James Montoya, and King Ky in May 2014 on the northwest corner of 27th Avenue and Van Buren on the side of Romero’s Mexican Food.
Sign of the Times
What a difference a splash of color can make! Sign of the Times was created by Hugo Medina in May 2017, and is located on Roosevelt between 4th and 5th Street. As you are going down Roosevelt Row make sure to keep your eyes open for this wonderful work of art. This piece can’t be missed!
With the slogan “Different by Design,” Crescent Highland definitely lived up to that standard when the luxury apartment complex hired two artists to take on a big job. In February 2017 muralists Tato Caraveo and Graham Carew were asked to create several large murals on the sides of the building as a tribute to the transformative community. Hummingbirds represents coming home for all who choose to reside at the apartment complex, located at 4626 N. 16th St. in Phoenix.
Redemption Church Alhambra
This intricate mural by Carlos Rivas is home to the Redemption Church Alhambra on 19th Avenue and Indian School. The mural was created in August 2017 and encompasses a vast majority of the building (this is only a portion of the entire mural). Redemption Church openly supports local artists, such as Rivas, and believes that urban art is designed to be an outlet of expression.
This mural was created in April 2019 by well-known muralist Tato Caraveo, located in the Garfield Alley behind The Churchill in Downtown Phoenix as a part of the 1 ½ Street Mural Project. The creation of this mural, and the many others done as a part of the project, has helped turn the overlooked Phoenix alley into an outdoor gallery.
Local artist, Maggie Keane, who is known for her David Bowie mural tribute near Downtown Phoenix, has graced the city again with an unbelievable work of art. This giant mural in remembrance of the late singer Prince was recently finished in July 2019, and can be found on the side of the Rodriguez Boxing Club, on Grand Avenue and Roosevelt Street in Phoenix. Keane was able to capture the evolution of Prince’s life so clearly in this piece, and has left the public in awe.
Jessica Gonzales, a Tucson-based artist and muralist, created this piece for the Banner-University 2019 Mural Commission on 2425 N. Oracle Rd. The feathers represent a weight off the shoulders, and the strip of color across the woman’s face represents the soothing sensation of the warm sun on the skin and fresh air. Tucson is represented by the mountains and plant life, and the glowing heart is meant to reflect a sense of compassion and love. Gonzales wanted this piece to connect with the viewer and feel personal, as well as creating a sense of warmth and confidence, things you want in a caregiver like Banner.
Whales in the Sunset
Another Tucson-based artist and muralist Joe Pagac created this piece of art for the Banner-University 2019 Mural Commission on 2320 N. Campbell Ave., as a method to brighten Tucson’s streets. This design represents the idea of thriving even in a harsh environment. The whales are a family. Tucson is represented by the sky, mountain and cacti. Locals carry pride of the Arizona landscape, while also subtly existing amongst it, which is why Pagac included it under the family of whales as they continue their journey flowing over it.