25 Favorite Murals in Metro Phoenix

It’s been nearly two years since we shared 40 of our favorite murals – all located in a trio of Valley mural hotspots including Roosevelt Row, Grand Avenue, and Calle 16.

Since then, all sorts of street art has come and gone – and more murals have started popping up in cities other than Phoenix, such as Mesa and Tempe. So we’re taking another look at the pieces that demonstrate the diversity of mural art happening here in the Valley. Most are by local artists, but some are by artists working in other states or countries. 

Drumroll, please.

You Can Fly Higher
Joseph “Sentrock” Perez
811 North 13th Avenue

Never mind Beyoncé’s admonition to “put a ring on it.” Artist Joseph “Sentrock” Perez, who moved from Phoenix to Chicago after getting the New Times Big Brain Award in 2011, is all about putting a bird on it. He’s returned several times to show works at galleries including Willo North and Palabra. In March, he co-curated “A Better View” with Laura Dragon at {9} The Gallery, and made time to paint this mural just across the street.

Tribute to Margaret Kilgallen
Carrie Marill
Combine Studios
821 North Third Street

Phoenix artist Carrie Marill, represented by Lisa Sette Gallery in midtown Phoenix, painted this homage to Margaret Kilgallen, a late-20th-century artist in San Francisco. It was in the Bay Area that Kilgallen's painting and printmaking was heavily influenced by folk art. Marill and her artist husband, Matthew Moore, own the Combine Studios building, home to an ASU international residency program. You’ll find her spiral of bright colors on a south-facing well there, and her mural made with silhouette-style images of tools at the nearby Growhouse in Roosevelt Row.
Roy Sproul
Revolver Records
918 North Second Street 

Love, peace, and music collide in Roy Sproul’s grayscale mural located on a west-facing wall at Revolver Records. The work depicts music-related technology, including giant headsets and a gramophone. Sproul’s other local work includes a large-scale scene with characters from various theatrical productions, which takes up the entire north-facing wall at the offices for Valley Youth Theatre.

The Painted Desert
Rebecca Green
The Lodge Art Studio
1231 Grand Avenue

Michigan-born artist Rebecca Green lived and worked for a time in Phoenix, sharing studio space at The Lodge — where she first painted a storybook-theme mural depicting a young girl reading a book surrounded by animals. New Times named that work the best mural of 2013. After Green moved from Phoenix to Denver, she returned to cover the first mural with a second one, which features animals from different habitats joined together in painting their desert surroundings.
Dissolving Demarcation
Joerael Elliott (with Jesse Perry)
815 North Second Street

Texas-born Joerael Elliott, who lived in Phoenix before moving on to Los Angeles and Sante Fe, has painted several murals here over the years – at locations including dance and yoga studios, as well as the indie movie theater FilmBar. He’s also exhibited works at various art venues, including monOrchid and the Icehouse, and created several murals on a Navajo reservation in northern Arizona for the Painted Desert Project. During the annual Paint PHX street art event in 2015, he painted one of his characteristically complex figurative works on north- and east-facing walls at FilmBar – leaving a small space for local artist Jesse Perry to paint.
Rangoli Sunrise
Kyllan Maney
The Dhaba
1872 East Apache Boulevard, Tempe

Local artist Kyllan Maney, who often designs community murals for Mesa Arts Center festivals, is best known for works featuring maps, birds, or abstract, symmetrical designs that look like elaborate mandalas. She’s shown works at local art venues including Chartreuse and the GreenHaus (the latter moved to Portland last year), and collaborated with Lauren Lee on a Frida Kahlo-inspired mural at Mesa Urban Garden. In December 2015, she painted this mural at The Dhaba in Tempe as part of the Apache Boulevard Revitalization Project meant to enhance the appeal of a main thoroughfare.

Southwest Goddess
El Mac
Laird Building
317 West McDowell Road

Although he was born in and now lives in Los Angeles, internationally renowned artist El Mac grew up in Phoenix, where his early experiences with arts and culture included visits to the Phoenix Art Museum. He’s painted several murals in the Valley, typically with artists who surround his figures with their own characteristic line work. Recent additions to the local scene include his La Medusa painted with Los Angeles artist David Choe at Cobra Arcade Bar, and his Desert Rose painted with Mando Rascon at Mesa Arts Center. But we’re still partial to his early works, including Southwest Goddess and his untitled collaboration with Augustine Kofie painted at what’s now Flowers Beer & Wine. 

Cara To
2501 North 16th Street

Belgian-born artist and illustrator Cara To (a.k.a. Caratoes), who lives and works in Hong Kong, painted a new mural with a vintage-doll-meets-surreal-mermaid motif on the west-facing wall of a building on 16th Street at Sheridan Street (between Thomas Road and Oak Street), where it stands with other works created as part of the 2015 Paint PHX mural event.  

2828 North Central Avenue

From 2011 to 2013, American-born and Berlin-based artists Karl Addison and James Bullough worked as an artist collaborative called JBAK – creating mostly large-scale portraits like this joint effort in Phoenix, which is 53 feet high by 23 feet wide. Painted in April 2013, the work depicts Addison’s grandmother Maxine and a fifth-generation Arizona native named Chris Neito. Addison’s solo works in Phoenix include Long Silent Scream, located on an east-facing wall behind Giant Coffee, and portraits of John Waddell and Frank Henry located at Kitchen Sink Studios.
Colibri Mural
Chip Thomas, Jenn X. Chen, Karlito Miller Espinosa, Thea Gahr, and local artists
1023 Grand Avenue

While the progressive advocacy group Netroots Nation was in town during July 2015 for its annual conference, several artists worked with Tucson-based Colibri Center for Human Rights to create a migrant-theme mural. Chip Thomas ( a.k.a. Jetsonorama) of the Navajo nation, Jenn X. Chen of New York, Karlito Miller Espinosa (a.k.a. Mata Ruda) of New Jersey, and Thea Gahr of Mexico City and Oregon worked for several days on a mural depicting a central figure holding a photograph. It references those who’ve died while trying to cross the desert while migrating from South America to the United States. Several local artists — including Lalo Cota, Jeff Slim, and Eduardo Pym – also worked on the mural.

Let’s Get Free
Douglas Miles
Bentley Projects
215 East Grant Street

On a long wall that runs behind Bentley Projects, where Bentley Calverley operates both gallery and special-event spaces, there’s a mural by Douglas Miles, a painter who hails from the San Carlos Apache reservation just east of Globe. Created with help from Douglas Miles, Jr., Monica Wapaha, and Danielle Mercado, the mural is based on Native American and Apache culture. Prominent figures include Geronimo and Our Lady of Apache (inspired the the iconic Our Lady of Guadalupe prevalent in Latino culture). Miles has other murals around town, at locations including monOrchid and Barrio Café.

Ashley Macias and Yai Cecream
630 East Pierce Street

Before Palabra moved to its beautiful new space in Roosevelt Row, artists Ashley Macias and Yai Cecream painted a west-facing wall black, then added drawings featuring their characteristic styles done with only white paint – making a simple visual statement that highlights the differences in their work. Look carefully when you’re out and about find more works by these artists – including a large Cecream-decorated planter in Roosevelt Row and a new Macias mural located at The Coronado.

I Beam, You Beam
Jeff Slim
Community Thrift Store
1414 East Van Buren Street 

Phoenix artist Jeff Slim, who got the New Times 2015 Big Brain Award for visual arts, has collaborated with various artists for murals behind Barrio Café on Calle 16, Space 55, and Valley Youth Theatre. But he’s also painted this mural, located on Van Buren Street near 14th Street, which depicts a child facing an elder — each bordered by flowers, phases of the moon, and various symbols drawn from Native culture.

Don’t Wake the Dreamer
Lauren Lee
Jaycee Park
817 West Fifth Street, Tempe

Not long after the Roosevelt Row building graced by Lauren Lee’s iconic Three Birds mural was torn down in 2015 to make way for new development, the artist was busy working on the first public mural ever commissioned by the City of Tempe. The work, painted in May and June 2015, is 16 feet high and 153 feet wide. It depicts a long-haired woman lying on her side, surrounded by colorful birds and flowers.
J.B. Snyder and Tato Caraveo
911 North Fourth Street

Amid myriad changes happening in Roosevelt Row, including the development of several multi-level apartment complexes, murals remain a constant presence – even as the specific murals continue to evolve over time. New work painted behind a trio of shipping container galleries includes abstract geometrics from J.B. Snyder coupled with a portrait painted by Tato Caraveo. As regular collaborators, these artists help to keep the Phoenix mural scene fresh.

Laura Spalding Best
910 North Second Street

Laura Spalding Best sees lines and shapes where most people see only overhead utility lines or other elements of the urban landscape. Much of her art practice comprises painting these elements on unconventional surfaces, such as silver serving trays and circular lids for paint cans. But head to the APS Garfield Power Substation in Roosevelt Row to see this mural, on the south-facing wall of the local utility company. Then watch for another Best mural coming to a new building breaking ground this fall across the street from Oasis on Grand.
Tyson Krank
Behind The Lost Leaf
914 North Fifth Street

It’s pretty easy to find works by Tempe artist Tyson Krank in and around Roosevelt Row, because many feature faces filled in with dark-colored patterns and intricate repeating lines. But lately he’s been creating murals with a far lighter feel, including one painted on the east side of Modified Arts – or one of our newer favorites, painted on a west-facing wall inside a courtyard behind The Lost Leaf in Roosevelt Row. More recently, he has a new piece at the Wren House Brewing Company on 24th Street.

Amanda Adkins (with Katie Beltran)
The Hive
2216 North 16th Street

One of several murals painted on a west-facing wall at Westwind Studios on 16th Street south of Oak Street, this piece by Amanda Adkins conveys an exuberance and joy it’s hard to capture in other sections along the traffic-laden work-to-home route. Like many of her fine-art pieces, it merges human form with natural elements. Look for another Adkins mural on a west-facing wall for the Black Theatre Troupe’s performing arts center, which she created with assistance from artist Jessica Kerlin.

Colton Brock, Lalo Cota, Angel Diaz, Pablo Luna, and J.B. Snyder
Behind Barrio Café
2814 North 16th Street

Every city may have its own version of this sort of mural, which conjures memories of vintage postcards from popular tourist destinations. But the fact that this one lauds Phoenix, using shapes and colors characteristic of works by the artists who created it, makes it feel like a one-of-a-kind tribute to the city we share – and the diversity of its evolving arts and culture scene. It’s a top choice for locals and tourists looking for unique places to grab a few snapshots.
Swift Change
Noelle Martinez
Bentley Projects
215 East Grant Street

Painted beside Douglas Miles’ Let’s Get Free mural, this piece by Noelle Martinez uses pop culture imagery with candy colors to convey themes of youth and power. It marks the next level in the growth of this young artist, who previously exhibited at Willo North gallery and The Hive. Here she’s clearly inspired by pop culture, but feels free to infuse her own sensibilities into the space rather than focusing on the familiar.

Find Your Direction
Isaac Caruso and Lalo Cota
2517 North Central Avenue

Head to Roosevelt Row, and you'll quickly spot Isaac Caruso's sunflowers on the back of monOrchid, and Cota's collaborative mural on an east-facing wall on Carly's. But to see their work together, you'll have to make your way to the south-facing wall of Fastsigns on Central Avenue and Woodward Drive. It's the site of a giant image blending realistic and cartoon-like characteristics with a bit of old-fashioned home-spun wisdom. 
Meet Me in the Middle
Kristin Bauer and Emmett Potter
Halo Piercing and Jewelry
10 West Camelback Road

Both artists have shown their fine art in some of the state's best-known art venues and exhibitions — including the Tucson Biennial, the annual Chaos Theory exhibition at Legend City Studios, and the IN FLUX public art program. But opportunities to see Kristin Bauer and Emmett Potter's mural collaborations are scarce, which makes their vintage-inspired mural featuring a couple keeping their distance but connected by a long telephone wire even more charming. 
Bienvenidos a Arizona
Gennaro Garcia and DOSE
2822 East 16th Street

Painted in 2010 by Gennaro Garcia and DOSE on the north-facing wall of Deportes America just south of Thomas Road on 16th Street, this mural features iconic imagery rooted in Mexican culture and tradition. It's one of the first mural projects completed by a group of artists and other creatives who banded together under the name Calle 16 to meet anti-immigration rhetoric with visual representations of pride and cultural heritage. 

Between Innocence and Understanding
Beatrice Moore
1500 Grand Avenue

Created by artist and arts advocate Beatrice Moore on the east-facing wall of her one-time Kooky Krafts Shop, this mural channels not only childlike innocence and whimsy, but also the interdependence of all things — serving as a playful reminder to not only follow one's own heart, but also to work with others on realizing shared community values and goals. 

Tyson Krank, Jeff Slim, Tato Caraveo, J.J. Horner
Space 55
636 East Pierce Street

Distinct figures set harmoniously side by side, but partially concealed from a distance, seem to serve as a welcoming committee for those headed downtown — setting the stage for other encounters with Phoenix arts and culture. 
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Lynn Trimble is an award-winning freelance writer and photographer specializing in arts and culture, including visual and performing arts
Contact: Lynn Trimble