Lalo Cota and Breeze on The Bee's Knees

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.

The Calle continues.

While Lalo Cota and Breeze finished their contribution to the Calle 16 mural project yesterday, they both say they'll be back to add touch-ups and small details. "As long as a canvas is in front of me, I'll keep working on it," Cota says.

The duo are well known urban artists and longtime friends in the Phoenix street art scene. Both come from a graffiti art background, but now spend most of their time and focus painting murals and large-scale works for local cafes, shops and organizations like Calle 16.

The project, which we've blogged about before, kicked off in September and aims to create community through funded murals along 16th Street in Phoenix. Cota and Breeze's mural will be the second completed, after the initial collaborative mural effort between Gennaro Garcia, DOSE, a number of local artists and kids from the neighborhood around Deportes America on 16th Street, south of Thomas Road.

The artists are donating their time and materials and were given the south-facing wall by Steven Helffrich and Julia Fournier who own the Bee's Knees boutique and gallery space on 16th and Cypress streets.

Their design is part-planned, but mostly freehand and includes both artists' signature styles.

Breeze grew up surrounded by his Native American culture and art, but was never all that interested in the traditional style. Instead, he's known for intricate mazes of letters, symbols and lines that complement Cota's large, bold skeletons and caminos.

The two have been collaborating longer than either can remember. Cota says this is their sixth project together -- Breeze argues it's their eighth.

They've been welcoming visitors since they started last Thursday, and both say they've received mostly positive feedback on the project. They even let fellow mural artist, Joerael Elliott sneak in on the action; you can check out his character painted on the electrical box in front of the wall.

Cota and Breeze will both have art featured inside the Bee's Knees, as part of an artist/vendor trunk show this Saturday, December 11. Call (602) 254-1641 for more details.   

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