Street art is (thankfully) on the rise in Phoenix. In the past few years, we've seen hearts pasted, mural projects started, huge dripping landscapes painted, and stencils galore mark the sidewalks and corners of the city.
There's a beauty in artwork that's painted, pasted, stenciled onto the streets -- it's a clear message of no hesitation, no regret, and a passion for creating accessible artwork for public view.
While some of our favorite pieces have faded and others have been destroyed, there are still plenty of examples of local artists creating work on the streets. Here are a few of our favorites:
10. Angela Cazel Jahn's Couple on Gallery SuHu
Angela Cazel Jahn's no stranger to painting on the streets. For the past devade, the local artist has participated in community murals with local high schools and organizations, but one of our favorite public works is the mural outside of Su Humphrey's Gallery SuHu on Third Street in downtown Phoenix.
Her characters change from time to time -- we loved the woman in the red-striped socks painted early last year, and her transformation into the man currently standing down next to his television.
HMPH's one of the most prolific sticker artists in town (he designed our first Jackalope sticker more than a year ago
). His gorillas can be spotted on the backs of stop signs and electrical boxes, but we couldn't keep our eyes off his large-scale pastes on the abandoned house next to Bliss/ReBar in downtown Phoenix.
8. Joerael's Electrical Box at The Hive
The street art scene has a Joerael Elliott-shaped hole since he left for Los Angeles at the end of 2011. The painter was known for his murals on The Caravan
, Way Cool Hair Salon
, and Roosevelt Row
, but when Lalo Cota and Thomas Marcus were painting a mural on The Hive/The Bee's Knees
in December 2010, Elliott stopped by to paint the electrical box on the corner.
El Mac has a long history of street art in Phoenix. He's one of the biggest names to come out of the city in contemporary public art and murals, and he comes back from time to time to create works on a few of his favorite wall in Phoenix. In 2009, he painted "Paisito" on the garage door of The Chocolate Factory on Grand Avenue. Since, it's been framed by Dave Quan's blue ooze
6. Jetsonorama's Postcard on Seventh Street
Jetsonorama is a longtime documentary photographer who creates black-and-white photographs in 3-foot strips before pasting them onto roadside stands, water tanks, and billboards in Shonto, Arizona. In December 2011, the artist collaborated with Thomas Marcus on a billboard installation on 16th Street
Later that month, he printed out an image Brazilian photographer Raul Zito captured in Sao Paulo and pasted it on Seventh Street (with details painted by Thomas Marcus). Jetsonorama called it a postcard, a tribute to Zito who had pasted one of his pieces in Brazil.
5. Nomas' Madonna on Cartel Downtown
No doubt, Nomas
is one of the best stencil artists in town. Each of his stencils is hand-cut, hand-sprayed, and hand-pasted on ... well, whatever he sees fit. A few weeks ago, we spotted a series of his pieces in the heart of downtown Phoenix.
4. I am Banksy
is one of the biggest annual celebrations of local street art. For the past five years, an artist named MADONE was able to herd artists who work with sticker, wheat paste, and spray paint media to create some of the best ephemera in town. Right before 2011's party, a creative mind (or two) wrote short confession to the Tempe community.
On a hot Saturday in May, Stacey Champion of Rogue Green gathered a few volunteers and members of Keep Phoenix Beautiful to clean up a neglected stretch of Fourth Street from Roosevelt to Garfield streets in downtown Phoenix. The group then installed a Candy Chang-inspired chalkboard piece
that encourages community members to leave wishes for the Downtown area.
In October, 2011 local artist DOSE put the finishing touches on three big words that scroll across the 20-by-125 foot, west-facing wall of Michael Levine's Seed & Feed Warehouse. It's the first effort DOSE has made in in what he calls a "social political form of graffiti."
DOSE said in October
that he hoped the mural (and a bunch of others like it, if he can get the support and wall space) will give local graffiti a new angle -- and scale."We can use graffiti for what it was intended," he says. "And hopefully projects like these can give local graffiti artists a chance to start putting more conscious messages on the streets instead of just our names."
The large brick building at 222 E. Roosevelt has gone through a few transformations in the last two years. The brick was slapped with an advertisement/new paint job in June 2010 by Pabst Blue Ribbon. Luckily, the contract was short.
Before the mural was painted over with a dark red (it's now bright green), a much-needed, artistic observation was made in black paint.