Phoenix is looking colorful lately, and it's not just the usual hues of light and dark beige. Though street art culture dates back decades, the past several years have heralded a new era for murals in our fair city. We've documented the progress in our ongoing series Mural City, but we thought it was about time to compile a list with some of our personal favorites.
We focused in on the three biggest mural hubs in Phoenix: Roosevelt Row, Grand Avenue, and Calle 16. And we were completely blown away by what we saw. Suffice it to say, this list is not comprehensive; it represents a mere fraction of the street art that's out there right now (and we're sure there are many more murals to come).
In celebration of what has been and what will be, here are 40 of our favorite murals in Phoenix right now.
Did we miss your favorite mural? Share it with us in the comments section below.
40. Bienvenidos a Arizona
Bienvenidos a Arizona is iconic. Located on the north-facing wall of Deportes America on 16th Street south of Thomas Road, this collaboration between Gennaro Garcia and DOSE may not be new (we covered the piece when it first went up back in 2010), but the colors have not lost their vibrancy.
39. Between Innocence and Understanding
Beatrice Moore's mural on the east-facing wall of Kooky Krafts Shop is more than meets the eye. The piece is incredibly detailed (there are even rhinestones in some places to add an extra bit of whimsy).
38. Untitled work by Isaac Caruso
The large sunflowers on the north-facing wall of MonOrchid always feel a bit like a secret slice of happiness. The mural was made to honor the Valley of the Sunflowers project that activated an empty lot near Roosevelt. It's perhaps appropriate that the mural itself backs up to a vacant lot.
37. Untitled collaboration between Lalo Cota and El Mac (additional artists' work not pictured)
We love the contrast here of the black and white with the bright colors. The artists are working in very different styles, but it looks great together. The south-facing wall of Por Vida Gallery on 16th Street south of Thomas Road features more local talent as well (you can see a bit of Thomas "Breeze" Marcus' line work in this image near the top of the wall).
36. Water Writes
Backed by the Estria Foundation and Black Mesa Water Coalition, this mural is one of 10 in a global series of Water Writes murals. This particular iteration of Water Writes is a collaboration between Averian Chee, Angel Diaz, Xochitl Enriquez, Jeff Slim, Kim Smith, and members of the Cyphers Center for Urban Art. Located on the south-facing wall of Valley Youth Theater on First Street and Fillmore, it seeks to bring attention to the water issues particular to the Sonoran desert.
This mural by Laura Spalding Best is perfectly in tune with its surroundings on a south-facing wall on Second Street and Garfield, which makes sense because the artist takes her inspiration from the cityscapes of downtown Phoenix. It's a quiet but powerful mural.
34. Untitled collaboration between La Muñeca and Yescka
La Muñeca is best known for her wheat pastes, but she paints, too. For this year's Paint PHX mural event, she worked with Yescka to create this vibrant work on the west-facing wall of Dulceria Pico Rico on 16th Street and Yale.
33. Untitled collaboration between Lalo Cota and Thomas "Breeze" Marcus
32. Untitled collaboration between Tato Caraveo and J.B. Snyder (additional artists' work not pictured)
We were initially drawn to Tato Caraveo's dramatic scene here, but J.B. Snyder's work offers a nice complement as well. The wall is completely covered, featuring additonal Phoenix muralists, whose contributions are also worth checking out on the north-facing wall directly behind Modified Arts on Fourth Street and Roosevelt.
31.Tribute to Wallace and Ladmo
We natives have a soft spot in our hearts for Wallace and Ladmo, so it's no surprise that this mural makes the cut. Hugo Medina's mural began as a collaborative wheat paste between Casebeer, Jenny Ignazewski, and Nomas. It is is a worthy tribute on the north-facing wall of First Studio at First Avenue south of McKinley.
This mural behind Barrio Cafe on 16th Street is a beautiful showcase of some of our favorite Phoenix muralists, including Colton Brock, Lalo Cota, Angel Diaz, Pablo Luna, and J.B. Snyder, and it's all about city pride. What more could we ask for?
29. Untitled work by Douglas Miles
We talked to Miles when this piece first went up on the east-facing wall of Monorchid earlier this year. The content feels particularly relevant today, with one of the subjects taking a selfie, but the mural also has a lot to say about history and its bearing on the future.
28. Tribute to Margaret Killagen
There was initially a bit of controversy surrounding Carrie Marill's lovely homage to Margaret Killagen; the mural had to be fixed after a defacing. But today, it stands as a clever reference any art history nerd can enjoy on the west-facing wall of Dougherty Wholesale Floral Co. on Second Street and Roosevelt.
27. Untitled work by Eric Cox
It's easy to drive past this mural without a second thought since it's been around for a while. But if you slow down a bit when passing the south-facing wall of Garfield Galleria, we think you'll appreciate the expressiveness of this portrait.
26. Untitled work by Yai Cecream
Yai's work is lighthearted and other-wordly. We love this mural of totem animals on the south-facing wall of Aside of Heart on Fifth Street and Garfield for its playfulness.
25. Untitled collaboration between Lalo Cota, Pablo Luna, and Thomas "Breeze" Marcus
This mural just screams Phoenix with the flaming anatomical heart forming the center of a proto-state flag. Yeah, we feel that. See it on the east-facing wall of Carly's Bistro on Second Street and Roosevelt.
24. Three Birds
This might not be Portland, but we still know how to put a bird on it (three, actually). Lauren Lee's mural GreenHaus is simple but super cute.
23. Untitled work by Roy Sproule
Roy Sproule's mural at Revolver Records on Second and Roosevelt streets looks almost photographic. The guy has a knack for portraiture, and we can't complain about the subject either.
22. Untitled work by Mikey Jackson
Mikey Jackson's signature style transfers to the mural format surprisingly well. His work on the west-facing wall in the alley directly behind Lost Leaf is a bit hidden, but it's dreamy.
21. Untitled work by Rebecca Green
We love the storybook feeling of Rebecca Green's work on the north-facing wall of The Lodge Art Studio on Grand Avenue and McKinley. Her mural makes us want to travel to the land of fairytale and fantasy (a.k.a. re-read some of our fave childhood books).
20. Los Tres Grandes
This mural is the mother lode, featuring contributions from Armando, Averian Chee, DETOR, Angel Diaz, DUROK, Francisco "Enuf" Garcia, KEISR, Martin Moreno, Ser. V One, Joseph "Sentrock" Perez, PRUF, SRVNT, SINEK, and Jeff Slim. Located on the west-facing wall behind Barrio Cafe on 16th Street south of Thomas Road, it references the three artists who transformed murals as an art form for public expression. We talked to Garcia about the mural's meaning when the piece first went up in 2013.
19. I Like You
Jenny Ignaszewski's mural is almost too cute for its own good. If the big eyes on the west-facing wall behind Bragg's Factory Diner aren't enough to make you go "aw," the perfect penmanship of the "i love you" will be.
18. Untitled work by Jorrael Elliot
This mural on the west-facing wall of Hair Pollution is almost overwhelming with all of its details, but not in a bad way. Most of the time the muted colors and varied components just make us feel mesmerized.
17. Untitled work by Amanda Adkins
It almost seems like this mural was taken right off of the pages of a picture book. We were originally drawn to that bright teal that forms the backdrop for this work on the east-facing wall of Westwind Studios on 16th Street south of Oak.
16. Untitled work by Sierra Joy
This mural is very painterly, but we appreciate the abstraction. From a distance the mountain forms reveal themselves, and the natural subject becomes clearer on the south-facing well of The Dressing Room on Third Street and Roosevelt.
15. Long, Silent Scream
Karl Addison knows a thing or two about depicting emotion. You can almost hear the east-facing wall behind Giant Coffee screaming while looking at this mural.
14. Find Your Direction by Isaac Caruso and Lalo Cota
Seeing sea creatures depicted in large scale is weirdly satisfying. Isaac Caruso and Lalo Cota have a nice balance of realistic and more cartoon-like portrayals in Find Your Direction on the south-facing wall of Fastsigns on Central and Woodward Drive.
13. Untitled work by Thomas "Breeze" Marcus
It's amazing what Thomas "Breeze" Marcus can do even working with black and gray. This mural wraps around Drive-Thru Gallery on Sixth Street and Roosevelt, making us eager to see what's inside.
12. Untitled collaboration between SERK, Page, Tame, Idea, BSIK, stoic, and Ausk
We'd like to think this Dr. Seuss would be proud of the mural encompassing the parking lot by the Bragg's Factory Diner. We talked to one of the artists when the piece was still in progress about mural culture and its importance in the Phoenix community.
11. Untitled collaboration between Jeff Slim and Ashley Macias (additional artists' work not pictured)
There's a little mural oasis tucked into an alley way not far from Barrio Cafe on the north-facing wall in the alley on 15th Street and Oak. We particularly liked the pairing of work by Jeff Slim and Ashley Macias.
10. Untitled collaboration between Bishop Ortega, Larry Valencia, and Anthony Vasquez
The muscle anatomy and the abstract shapes in this mural makes for an interesting combination on the east-facing wall of Roosevelt Community Church on First Street and Roosevelt. We wouldn't usually think of exposed muscles as attractive, but they are strangely alluring here.
9. Untitled work by Colton Brock
Brock's mural is wedged in a narrow passage behind Lost Leaf. It's a bit startling when you first find the pigeons peeking back at you from the wall.
8. Untitled work by DOSE
DOSE's mural references traditions of street art, while incorporating pop culture iconography on the south-facing wall of the abandoned building on First Street and Portland.. The different lettering styles show that DOSE has a mastery of the medium.
7. Phoenix Goddess
El Mac has garnered international recognition, but we'll always count him as one of our own. And we have the murals to prove it. This hidden gem on an east-facing wall in the alley south of McDowell between Third and Fifth avenue is one of our favorites.
6. Morning Blessing
The colors in this mural are darker than many of the bigger vibrant pieces around Barrio Cafe, but we love this piece by the Medicine Paint Art Collective in the alley directly behind the restaurant for its careful textures and composition.
5. Untitled work by El Moises
The line work on this piece almost makes it look like it has been done in chalk. The pastel colors complement the cultural narrative expressed in this mural on an east-facing wall in the alley directly behind Barrio Cafe on 16th Street south of Thomas Road.
The big claim to fame with JBAK's Generations is that it's the tallest mural in Phoenix, but we would like it even if it wasn't. The gradated sunset colors look stunning especially if you catch it at dusk on the southeast corner of First Avenue and Thomas.
3. Untitled work by Sakoia
If you have a fear of bees, it would be best to steer clear of Sakoia's hyper-realistic mural outside of The Hive. Personally, we'll face our fears to examine the detail in that bee fuzz.
2. La Mano
This collaboration between Jetsonorama and J.B. Snyder is technically part wheat paste, but since it involves paint too, we're counting it. Snyder's signature line work provides the perfect background to off-set to the large hand on the north-facing wall of Deportes America on 16th Street south of Thomas Road.
1. Untitled collaboration between El Mac and Augustine Kofie
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Since so many murals are about tributes, it only seemed right that we pay our own. This mural by El Mac and Augustine Kofie had to be one of the first pieces of street art we remember seeing in a high-traffic public space in Phoenix. And we think it has stood the test of time on the west-facing wall of Circle 6 Studios gallery on Fifth Street and Roosevelt.
Editor's note: This post has been modified from its original version.