"Los Tres Grandes": A Collaborative Tribute to the Great Muralistas on Calle 16

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, "Whoa, 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.

If you make it out to Barrio Cafe this week, we recommend a margarita and a quick walk around the building to see the latest collaborative effort from 14 local artists.

Francisco "ENUF" Garcia's a painter who grew up in Phoenix, left for L.A., and was back in town for the holidays. He approached Silvana Salcido Esparza, who owns Barrio Cafe and spearheads a mural project along 16th Street in downtown Phoenix, with an idea.

See also: - Calle 16: A Mural Project - Tag, You're Art: Local Street Artists Are Tagging Over Murals and Calling It Art - Should Artists Paint Murals for Free?

Garcia wanted to pay tribute to his idols, "Los Tres Grandes" -- Diego Rivera, David Siqueiros, and José Orozco -- who turned the age-old mural artform into communication and activation of public space. He had seen their artwork growing up and visited a few of their murals when he studied abroad in Mexico.

The artist says his original thought was to paint a portrait of one of the three on Barrio's back wall, and as he returned to Phoenix throughout the year, he'd continue the tribute and paint the other two faces. But his plans changed.

"I just wanted to inspire people in Phoenix to be proud of where they come from and to celebrate the culture, history, and art that makes the city what it is," says Garcia. "And I started to think of all the other great painters I know who could help me."

Over the last weekend in December, 14 artists including Garcia, Joseph "Sentrock" Perez, Averian Chee, Jeff Slim, PRUF, KEISR, SINEK, Martin Moreno, Armando, DETOR, Angel Diaz, DUROK, SRVNT, and Ser. V One painted the portraits of Diego Rivera, David Siqueiros, José Orozco, and Frida Kahlo.

Garcia says he and the group visualized what they wanted the whole wall to look like, and with Silvana Salcido Esparza's blessing, paint donated Calle 16 and a good dose of improvisation and collaboration, they transformed the wall in less than a week.

He adds that Martin Moreno, who's an anchor in the local arts community and has participated in a number of local murals and youth arts engagement programs, will be back at the wall soon to add the final touches.

"These are master artists within the Mexican culture who I view as revolutionaries," says Garcia. "They came together and created art for a cause ... I think we need a lot more of that in Phoenix."

Check out the mural at Barrio Cafe, 2814 North 16th Street in Phoenix, and a video of the mural produced by reyitodelosreyes on YouTube below:

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