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12 Downtown Phoenix Murals You Might've Missed (But Shouldn't)

by Lauren Potter
Arts & Culture Lauren Potter August 23, 2019

The streets of Downtown Phoenix are like an art museum. Almost every day you can find artists using its walls as canvases for murals. And even though they’ve become popular backdrops for photos, murals are so much more. They tell stories of the past, comment on social issues, and more importantly — they inspire us to get out an explore our city.

So next time you’re out and about downtown, take a little detour to check out some of these murals:

Lalo Cota collaboration | Carly’s Bistro 128 E. Roosevelt St.

Collaborative mural by Lalo Cota, JB Snyder, MDMN and others. (Photo: Lauren Potter)

It might be smack dab in the heart of Roosevelt Row, but this mural is easily missed. Located on the north-facing wall of Carly’s Bistro, it’s a collaboration between several local artists including Lalo Cota, JB Snyder, Angel Diaz, Pablo Luna and MDMN. Check out the mural when you’re at Carly’s for trivia on Wednesdays.

1 ½ Street mural | The Churchill 901 N. First St.

1 1/2 Street mural features works by 12 local artists in the alley behind The Churchill. (Photo: Lauren Potter)

If you’re short on time, 1 ½ Street is a must-see. The collaborative mural is located behind The Churchill, and extends the entire length of the alley, covering the wall with captivating works by 12 local artists: Isaac Caruso, Leter, Nyla Lee, Volar, Tato Caraveo, Lucinda Y Hinojos, Josh Brizuela, Thomas “Breeze” Marcus, Lalo Cota, Jane Goat, JJ Horner and Jesse Perry.
Three partners came together to bring this project to life: The Churchill, Phoenix Center for the Arts and Arizona Public Service.

Nyla Lee & Isaac Caruso | 802 W. Jefferson St.

Mural by Nyla Lee and Isaac Caruso. (Photo: Lauren Potter)

The striking colors and contrasts of this mural instantly draw you in. And at 125-feet long, you’d think this one would be impossible to miss, but it’s in an unlikely location on Eighth Ave. south of Washington —  a couple blocks west of the Supreme Court building. Nyla Lee and Isaac Caruso created this mural together, a piece which speaks to self-image and social norms.

Joerael Elliott | 815 N. Second St.

Mural by Joerael Elliott. (Photo: Lauren Potter)

FilmBar may be known for its indie films and good beer, but it’s also home to a striking mural. Wrapping from the east side of the building around the length of it’s north-facing wall, this mural titled ‘Dissolving Demarcation’ by Joerael Elliot explores the boundaries we place on ourselves and others.

Josh Brizuela | 711 N. Seventh Ave.

Mural by Josh Brizuela. (Photo: Lauren Potter)

Even parking lots in Downtown Phoenix can be places to find cool art. Josh Brizuela painted this mural behind Gracie’s Tax Bar in his signature surrealistic style. At first, only the wide, fang-filled smile of the cheshire stands out. But then it draws you in to examine the detail, then you see its eyes (there are many if you look closely).

Tyson Krank | Alley west of Fifth Ave. on Fillmore St.

Mural by Tyson Krank. (Photo: Lauren Potter)

Tucked away in an alley, the vibrant colors and contrasting pattern of this mural by Tyson Krank will catch your eye as you head west on Fillmore St. as you stroll over to Cibo for pizza. Krank has several other murals throughout downtown, but we love this one because it’s a little hidden.

Doug Bale, Miguel Ibarra and Aaron Lim | Trans Am 1506 W. Grand Ave.

Mural artists: Miguel Ibarra, Aaron Lim and Doug Bale. (Photo: Lauren Potter)

Historic Grand Avenue is known for its quirky and colorful character, with cool coffee shops, record stores, art spaces and murals. Artist Doug Bale painted this mural of his “meditation heads” design on the west-facing wall of Trans Am Cafe. Later, Miguel Ibarra added his whimsical flamingos and Aaron Lim painted warm, desert-sunset clouds. After you stop to see the mural, grab a sandwich and smoothie from the cafe.

Lauren Lee | Oasis on Grand 1501 W. Grand Ave.

Mural by Lauren Lee. (Photo: Lauren Potter)

Beautiful birds and flowers in bloom form the centerpiece of this uplifting Lauren Lee mural. Just across the street from Trans Am you can find it on the exterior wall of Oasis on Grand, where she was living when she painted the mural. The residential community is also home to two gallery spaces, which feature exhibits on Artlink First Fridays.

Clyde | 1130 N. 2nd St.

Mural in the making: Clyde painting his photorealistic mural in Roosevelt Row. (Photo: Lauren Potter)

As the subject looks up to the sky, with a suitcase under her arm, you can’t help but be inspired to travel the world — or your own city — when taking in Clyde’s new mural in Roosevelt Row. He finished it in August, so it’s of the newest murals downtown. Look out for more of Clyde’s photorealistc work when he creates a work of art on the Renaissance Hotel later this year.

Maggie Keane | Rodriguez Boxing Club 1350 W. Roosevelt St.

Prince tribute mural by Maggie Keane. (Photo: Lauren Potter)

Maggie Keane is a local artist known for her murals of musical legends. In 2016 she painted a mural of David Bowie which brought fans from across the country, and now, she’s making waves with her stunning tribute the musical icon, Prince. Stop by Rodriguez Boxing Gym at 15th Ave. and Roosevelt St. to see the mural for yourself.

‘Malinda’ by Hugo Medina and Darrin Armijo-Wardle | Renaissance Hotel (alley) 100 N. First St.

Malinda mural by Hugo Medina and Darrin Armijo-Wardle. (Photo: Lauren Potter)

‘Malinda’ is an ambitious mural by Hugo Medina and Darrin Armijo-Wardle that activates the alley connecting Central Ave. to First St. north of the Renaissance Hotel. The mural pays homage to the hotel’s legacy and the rich life of a colorful historic character, Malinda Curtis, whose spirit is said to inhabit the alley to this day. The mural is one of many arts initiatives by Downtown Phoenix Inc.

Nevercrew | 110 N. Central Ave.

Mural by Swiss artist duo Nevercrew. (Photo: Lauren Potter)

Hovering high above the intersection at Central Ave. and Adams St., ‘”El Oso Plateado and the Machine” is a mural by the Swiss artist duo Nevercrew. The main figures are Mexican grizzly bears, which are now extinct. They represent one part of the three-part mural, which speaks to the past and examines the future. Read more about the story behind the mural.

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