El Mac to Paint New Mural at Mesa Arts Center in 2016

Portion of the Mesa Arts Center campus, where El Mac has been commissioned to paint a new mural.EXPAND
Portion of the Mesa Arts Center campus, where El Mac has been commissioned to paint a new mural.
Mesa Arts Center

Famed muralist El Mac, who grew up in Phoenix but now lives in Los Angeles, has been commissioned by Mesa Arts Center to paint a mural at its venue.

“We’re still in the design phase,” says Tiffany Fairall, associate curator for Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum, which is located on the MAC campus. Installation dates for the new work are February 29 to March 13, so it will be on view during MAC’s Spark! Festival of Creativity on Friday and Saturday, March 18 and 19.

El Mac’s mural will likely be located on a tall wall that rises up from a museum courtyard, she says, so it’s visible from different parts of the MAC campus and the nearby light rail station. It’s been commissioned as part of the venue’s 10th anniversary celebration.

Fairall says she suggested that the Arts Center commission an El Mac mural in part because he gets more exposure on the global stage than the local arts scene. She wants to help change that.

“He’s getting such international attention,” Fairall says. “We need to have a mural here in Mesa.” Fairall says she started talking with El Mac in May or June of last year about the project.

“I’ve loved his work for so long,” she says. “He’s an incredible artist.”

Fairall declined to share the amount he’s being paid to create the work, but says El Mac has been generous in the face of recent cuts to Mesa’s public art budget.

Later this year, Mesa locals and visitors will have another way to explore the artist’s work.

From May 13 to August 7, Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum’s main gallery will feature an exhibition titled “El Mac: Aerosol Exalted,” which is coming from the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center that created it. “He’s a significant contemporary artist with an impressive career,” Fairall says of the artist.

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The exhibition includes works of fine art. Like the street art that made El Mac famous, they’re comprised mostly of human faces and figures created with the artist’s characteristic line work.

El Mac has painted numerous murals in Phoenix through the years, including the profile of a woman’s face on the west-facing wall of the building that now houses Flowers Beer & Wine in the heart of Roosevelt Row. Often tourists and locals pause to snap photographs with the piece.

More recently, he created a collaborative mural with Pablo Luna and Mando Rascon on an east-facing wall at Heavy Pedal, which is located along the Valley Metro Light Rail route at 1309 East Van Buren. It also features a beautifully detailed image of a woman’s profile.

Fairall praises El Mac for his choice of subject matter, noting that the artist often portrays people who are underrepresented. She hopes his mural for MAC will convey this message: “Everybody is welcome here.”

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