Visual Arts

David Quan on the Chocolate Factory

It's about time Phoenix sees some serious mural love. In the interest of giving credit to their artists and because we're losing track of the times we've said, "Woah, when did that go up?", we bring you Mural City, a series on the murals springing up around town -- their artists, their hosts and their inspirations.

The humming of David Quan's airbrush is back on Grand Avenue; he's working on his latest large-scale ooze on The Chocolate Factory.

Quan's no stranger to the walls on Grand. He finished his nerd monster on the side of Trunk Space in September, has been painting houses in the neighborhood for as long as he can remember, and he'll be hanging his own (much smaller-scale) work in the old Sweets & Beats spot for Art Detour.

"In my head, it was always ooze," Quan says of the design, which he cleared through Hector Ruiz, the Chocolate Factory's current artist resident. "I thought about making it brown for chocolate, but I didn't want the building to become the latest poop joke on Grand."

So he went with the bright blue. It was cheap, and it reminded him of toothpaste -- a much "cleaner" option.

He's been working on the exterior of the building for a few weeks, painting over previous murals and pieces by Lalo Cota, DOSE and Ruiz. And while the artists don't have a problem with the new paint job, Quan says an occasional kid on a bike would ask him what the hell he thought he was doing.

There is a spot Quan won't touch on the Chocolate Factory -- El Mac's mural on the garage door. "I was so afraid to even paint near Mac's work -- I had to tape it off and be super careful around it ... There's no way I want to start any trouble there."

Miles MacGregor, or El Mac, is a local celebrity in the street art world; he and his work have traveled internationally and the few times he's thrown a mural up on a wall in Phoenix (another one of his murals is on the side of Pravus gallery on Roosevelt Row), it's understood by the arts community that it'll stay, untouched, for as long as possible.

Quan shifts his ladder to add accents to his latest glob in the ocean of blue. He says it's been a slightly mindless and repetitive process, but that he'll add in a face or funny detail every once in a while to stay entertained between Magical Moment comic breaks and the conversations he has with neighbors and friends as he paints.

He may not hear you if you stop by to see him in progress -- he usually has his headphones in and while he says he'd like you to believe he's listening to Wu Tang Clan, Quan later fesses up to listening to an Enya album he found in a car, "I thought it was a joke at first, but it's actually not that bad."

KEEP PHOENIX NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Claire Lawton
Contact: Claire Lawton