Visual Arts

Joerael Elliott on The Caravan

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.

Joerael Elliott
approaches a wall with a picture in his head. The finished product doesn't always turn out to be the same -- he says that it's never quite as vivid, but that there's something that takes over when he's doing a piece of street art.

"My murals are meant to create awareness and create narratives," Elliott says. "They reflect the neighborhood's complexities ... In each piece I do, there's a dialogue."

Elliot's latest project is up at Fifteenth Avenue and Camelback Road. It's on the front of the Caravan -- a local Native American hangout that hosts live art and music nights with Native American artists. The bar's manager, Darren Gordy, asked Elliott if he'd consider participating in a live art show.

Elliott's brain was already sketching.

Read more about Elliot and his future projects after the jump ...

Elliott calls it Remember Where You Dance.

"Remembering is the intention -- the Southwest is a place where people are, people were," says Elliott. "And often it's the history and who was here before us that's often forgotten."

It took him two evenings in August to paint the elements of Hopi, Apache, Navajo and Pima tribes (among others). He says he was given a hard time by a few locals who thought he was just a white kid tagging a bar with his box of spray paints. When they realized what he was doing, however, they let him continue and offered to buy him a drink.

"To me, my work is a fractured narrative. It's a combination of fables in layers like a mosaic. I just hope this one serves as a brief reminder to people of where they're at."

You may recognize his style. Elliot's also up on Way Cool Hair Pollution with The Offering -- a collaboration mural with Jesus Rodriguez. That mural (pictured right) has taken much longer; it's actually still not done (so you might be able to catch him painting there when it cools down).

Elliott also just returned from Ciudad Juarez, where he worked on a few community walls and helped his sister, who runs Los Otras Hermanas fair trade boutique.

And he's already signed up for his next art venture. He just joined the ranks of mural artists signing up for the Calle 16 Mural Project in Phoenix.

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Claire Lawton
Contact: Claire Lawton