Local artists transform blank building walls into murals - FOX 10 News | fox10phoenix.com

Local artists transform blank building walls into murals

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There's an art movement underway in the valley and you can view it without even getting out of your car.

She stared wistfully across 16th street in Phoenix as a building melts on this corner of Main in Mesa and in Tempe a giant Gila monster scrambles up the side of a new apartment building.

The artist with the unique name, Aztec Smurf, created the 100 foot amphibian, commissioned by The Mark, he couldn't be more excited about more businesses embracing mural art.

"You know it's eye candy, it excites the mind, you know any type of art work is very therapeutic... the bigger the better" said Aztec Smurf.

Mural artists across the valley are excited by what they see as an explosion of wall art.

"In the lost two years I've seen a lot of murals go up" said Sakoia another artist.

D.J Fernandes, owner of VoVomena restaurant commissioned Sakoia to paint a mural of his Grandmother Meena in Phoenix.

"We wanted to memorialize her for the culinary inspiration she's given me" said Fernandes.

Fernandes acknowledges putting his grandmother's wedding picture on the side of a building was a little out of the box.

"Yeah it was a little bit of an odd move but in the context of the things that are around the neighborhood and here that it brings a little bit of authenticity to the space and separates it from the other businesses" said Fernandes.

How did he know Sakoia was the artist for the job? Fernandes saw Sakoia's resume on the side of a 16th street mural and called him.

Sakoia's giant bumble bee is an impressive calling card and he hopes it will bring many other jobs his way. He sometimes gets jobs by approaching businesses and asking them if he can paint a mural on their walls.

In Phoenix there is no city permit required. "Yeah you would assume that but the regulation that I've heard is as along as the building owner is okay with the mural then that's okay for them to give you the go ahead to paint a mural on it and that's how it should be" said Sakoia.

On 16th street in Phoenix FOX10 found another arist, Carlos Rivas. He has spent seven days and dozens of cans of spray paint transforming a blank wall on the side of an automotive repair shop into, well he wanted you to decide what this is. "I want to know what people see if I give it a name it'll be that... it'll stay that, I want it to morph to change" said Rivas.

Some have called this graffiti, but these artists insist it is art on a grand scale.

"These are fine art pieces done with spray paint"said Sakoia.

There is whimsy, there is a message, these artists believe there is staying power. There will some who view this not as eye candy but an eyesore. "We have murals all over the place, they belong to corporations, you see them on the side of a freeways and they are just advertisement" said Smurf.

"I think that sparked more of an acceptable to more public art things that have nothing to do with buy this or get this or you need this right now it's more about painting something, having people enjoy it for what it is" said Smurf.

While the City of Phoenix does not require a permit for this kind of building art the City of Tempe does. No large wall art there, unless you  get approval from the city. Each city has different rules and regulations when it comes to these murals.

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