Francisco Garcia on Buster's Market

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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.

Local street artist, Francisco Garcia's currently checking out the scene in Los Angeles, but you can still catch a glimpse of him on 15th Avenue and Fillmore Street in Phoenix.

Garcia, who's painted a few other murals around town, says he approached Buster's Market before moving in January with a visual he wanted to paint on the south-facing wall. He said he'd do it for free, but it'd be nice if the store helped pay for supplies. The Market agreed.

He says his large-scale piece is personal; it's a self portrait and a public display of his experiences and his beliefs.

"I grew up doing graffiti on the street, stealing paint, writing my name on things illegally," says Garcia. "It was after I was in a few fights and got thrown in jail that I knew I was going in the wrong direction."

Garcia turned to his community and started attending Victory Outreach, a local church. It was there where he says he could feel things turning around.

It took about 45 hours for Garcia to complete his piece, which was inspired by the work of Kansas-based artist Thomas Blackshear II. And while he's currently attending arts classes in Los Angeles during the week, Garcia says he drives back to Phoenix at least every First Friday to work on more murals and make sure his piece is in good shape.

"There's nothing like Phoenix," says Garcia. "It's the place where I started painting seriously, and a spot I still want to come back to every chance I get."

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