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The making of a mural: what's in the works in downtown Tucson

Posted at 8:22 AM, Apr 19, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-19 11:36:09-04

TUCSON, Ariz. — Local artist Ignacio Garcia will tell you there's a lot of hidden talent in Tucson, but these days it's hard to miss him downtown.

During the week you can find him a few feet up in the air with a safety harness on and paintbrush in hand.

When KGUN9 recently met Garcia he was almost halfway done with his mural in an alley on Sixth Avenue between Congress and Pennington.

Eighteen quarts of paint in, his plan is to create something uniquely Tucson with splashes of turquoise, pink and yellow.

"I think of the culture, the great diversity, the history," Garcia said. "And I was thinking well -- colors and piñatas. Something that is fun."

Here is a rendering of Garcia's mural. The boy is from a picture of Garcia's 8-year-old son.

With a background in graphic design, Garcia says he often uses real-life pictures and experiences to create his murals. He said the idea for the piñatas came from a memory of getting chased by bulls as a child in Southern Arizona.

Garcia also painted the image of basketball legend Bill Walton on the side of the Rialto Theatre.

These murals are a welcome addition for at least one downtown business owner. Merry Fennesy has been running the UPS Store for a few years and is happy to see the alley cleaned up.

"Anything that you can do to make downtown better is such a welcome addition down here," Fennesy said. "I'm just over the moon about it."

The Tucson Arts Brigade has been working with the city of Tucson and says there are three other murals planned for downtown this spring, which is also a good sign for Garcia.

"Even as an artist myself, I know if I see someone's artwork that I know I can not do, but I get really excited by seeing other talent," Garcia said.

His advice for aspiring artists? Don't be afraid to think outside the box.

All of the funding for the projects this spring comes from a number of different organizations including the Tohono O'dham Nation, Visit Tucson, the Sundance Pastel Society, Sundance Catalog, Sunbelt Rentals and Graffiti Protective Coatings.

The other mural that is in progress is by Joe Pagic at 601 N. Stone. The other two that are pending approval are tentatively scheduled for 35 W. Alameda Street by Jessica Gonzalez, and 86 E. Alameda Street by Rachel Rios and Carlos Valenzuela.

Here is more information if you want to donate to TAB.