Posts tagged “Phoenix Arizona

Toward the Transient Camp….

There’s a branch of the County’s credit union on the east end of the building, downstairs, and just west, to the left, there’s a drive-through rolling garage door that one can access with their County badge or after speaking with the person at the other end of the button that’s available at the key-pad.  The sign above the drive-through garage door said “Employees Only,” so I figured that meant I could park in there, given that I work for the County, as well.  After I pushed the button at that key-pad, the speaker-man’s voice said to go ahead and park in the next garage, the one just a bit further west that has a sign over the drive-through door that says “Public Parking.”  Whatever….

I learned on a particular summer afternoon that it’s better to park on the right-hand side in that “Public Parking” garage, as the sun will stream in through the mesh-wire covered window spaces and heat your vehicle just as if you were parked outside…and because the pigeons fly in through the open drive-through doorway, perch on the water and electrical conduit over the left-side parking spots, and then shit all over your vehicle for however many hours you’re parked there.  Go inside the jail and speak with an inmate, listen to his variously interesting or depressing stories, and then come back out to your roasting vehicle and deal with pigeon crap on your windshield.  Park on the right.

There’s a plastic tarpaulin type thing covering the slanted and handicapped-friendly approach to the jail’s public visitation check-in waiting room just south and east of that parking garage.  Years ago, that covering wasn’t there and it was only ever hot in that outdoor and public smoking waiting/approaching sidewalk ramp area, only ever hot, cement upon cement, with metal doors and institutional 1960s era buildings that house the low-risk, minimum security prisoners.  Of course, back then, in those years ago, I could just walk in through the employee entrance and go straight back to the clinic where the nurse would have the inmate/patient already waiting for me in one of the exam rooms.

But times changed, years passed, regimes came and went, another disease investigator did something stupid and raised the institutional ire of America’s Toughest Sheriff and he or his minions decided that we could no longer have such simple and ready access to his prisoners, could no longer occupy one of his valuable exam rooms for half an hour or longer, and we were then relegated to visiting with the rest of the “privileged” people, the public defenders, chaplains, social workers, probation officers, and other miscellaneous agency volunteers, in the glass or wire-mesh separated individual visitation rooms, or even at one of the handcuff adorned wood laminate covered tables in the larger room.

Those privileged people and uniformed staff could watch and try to read your lips and cameras could watch with their silent eyes, but in those little rooms, you would be away from their direct listening and direct loud voices talking over the other visitors’ questions, asking canned questionnaire questions with flat voices and bored eyes and slow fingers that typed slow answers into open laptops one key at a time, two keys and the space-bar, or the robust look-at-me laughing of fat-cheeked White men with their sweating red faces, backwards collars, and bad breath; we would be away from all of that.

This particular jail had an open room with those dark wood-grain laminate tables and slide-in benches, all of which had been bolted to the tiled floor, all of which had been deemed visitor and inmate friendly and safe and not able to be lifted and thrown at someone in anger or whatever.  The tables had a huge “U” bolt affixed to the scarred and worn table-top surface and a pair of handcuffs that the previous sheriff, the toughest one in America, had painted pink, along with the inmates’ boxers, t-shirts, socks, and gelled flip-flop sandal-type shoes (those things weren’t “painted,” but were dyed or manufactured in pink…an apparent insult by said sheriff to the incarcerated manly men?).  The pink paint was chipped and flaking off the otherwise chrome-plated handcuffs, maybe somewhat symbolic of the regime that had been removed after 24 years’ time.  The inmates’ outfits are orange now, or white with wide black stripes, or maybe black with wide white stripes, whichever you choose, like institutionalized and tattooed zebras with the bold letters of “MCSO” on their backs.

I try to get there early, before the public defenders and questionnaire questioners arrive, try to get one of the visitation rooms on the far side of that great room with the handcuffed tables, which I did manage to do on this particular day.  They are small rooms, probably only four by six feet in their floor-space taking dimensions, and they have a smaller dark wood laminate table inside with two bright orange resin chairs with their chrome metal tube legs and back supports.  The rooms are so small that one has to move the inmate’s chair to even close the door.  And then it’s just you and him in that small room with the window in the door and the narrow dark gray walls and your pen and paper and his pink-paint chipped handcuffs.  Rooms 1, 2, and 3 are favored over Room 4, as only Room 4 has exterior windows and catches the ever burning sun.  The ventilation in the room sucks and it’s only minutes before you’re starting to feel sticky and irritated.  Interviews never go well in Room 4 because nobody wants to be there…and because infrequently showered inmates don’t smell so nice in Room 4.

So I was in Room 2 wearing my three shades of blue plaid button-up untucked collared shirt, blue jeans with a slightly fading left knee, and black and gray New Balance shoes.  The patient came into the room with his bright orange jumpsuit, white socks, tan gelled flip-flop sandal type shoes, buzz-cut haircut, multiple tattoos on his face, neck, arms, and hands: tear drops next to the left eye, a woman’s name on his neck, children’s names on his arms, spiderweb on his elbow, and whatever else thrown into the mix, along with his official MCSO inmate ID bracelet.  I didn’t wear any tattoos, just a $17 dollar watch from Wal-Mart and a Road-ID wrist band with my emergency contact information so the EMTs or coroner’s office know who to call if I’m found incapacitated (or beyond) while out working in the County or hiking in the desert or mountains.

The man came into the room with a smell so warm and alive, yet nearly dead, like fermented and plastered skin and sweat and oil sheen on an old pillow case, so thick and unwashed that its fibers and weave were lost.  It was more than a smell; it was like a cellular mist kind of odor, a vaporous emission with a flavor, a taste that rode from the back of my throat and up into my brain on a rail and informed me at that deepest level that he is dirty and stained, yet human and alive and close to kin, or like a brother, even, that I would know in the dark; his hands were mine, and if I steeled myself enough to look closely, to stare and examine the depths of his eyes, I might see them as my own, or as our fathers’, full of a hope and despair that we might know like the ticking of a clock or the falling of sand down through an hourglass holding the time in our lives, joined and separated as worlds and planets apart, as eons of thought and memory gone, passed unbidden between the cells of our hands in greeting touched.

Still, we were quite a contrast, the inmate/patient and I, sitting in Room 2 of that particular jail a couple of weeks ago.  His blood test was positive for syphilis and negative for HIV, he had already received his three weekly penicillin injections, and was going to court the next day with a hopeful release coming shortly thereafter.  We spent about an hour talking about his infection, his drug use, his 38 year-old self living between the Street on the east side of town and his aunt’s house on the west, his being a self-professed “entrepreneur” who earned a living by dumpster-diving and rescuing various household items and video game terminals from said trash cans.  He said people “get mad and throw everything away…perfectly good cameras, Xbox and PlayStation consoles, watches, iPhones, kitchen appliances, you name it.”  He managed to get arrested, this time, he says, after having just climbed out of a dumpster while wearing only his boxers and a pair of socks.  He said the police were called about a noise disturbance or some other shit happening in the alley, said he was minding his own business and didn’t notice everyone else running away, said the cops ran his name and then told him that he was going to jail on an old warrant.  He asked if he could at least put on his pants and they told him no.  The man explained to me that he had finally turned his life around, was focusing on staying out of trouble, taking care of his kids, not using so many drugs, all of it; he was getting squared away and then the police showed up.

The conversation also touched on risk behaviors and sexual partners, those people who could be the source of his infection, or a spread, the unwitting origins or beneficiaries of his known or unknown sore(s), the new homes for his self-grown and cork-screw shaped bacteria that entered their blood streams within 30 minutes of their couplings, that would incubate for three or four weeks and then cause sores on their bodies, on their organs of generation, or in their mouths or nether regions…whatever body part they used for that fleeting act that exposed them to his sore(s).  The literature claims that they are painless, the sores, unless they’re infected with another bacteria or virus, and they can be the size of a pinhead or a quarter, so maybe they would be unknown, or maybe they would be noticed and not of concern.  At any rate, some would get attention and some would get neglected.  The neglected ones would resolve on their own and the sore’s owner would be relieved or still unconcerned…for another couple of weeks or months…until the rash appeared in chicken-pox form, or like a heat rash, or welt-like, but not itching…spots on the palms of their hands and soles of their feet, or chunky wart-like protuberances or wet and snotty sores in their mouths or other mucous membranes…maybe they would even lose their hair, clump-like disappearances, or fading and gone mustaches or eyebrows.

If those things weren’t enough to encourage some health-seeking behavior (medical attention), they, too, would resolve on their own in a matter of time, again bringing relief or unconcern to their bearers, as no treatment is necessary to make them go away; it’s what they do, all on their own.  If they’re lucky, it might be many years until anything else happens to them, or if they’re really lucky, they’ll never have another problem, big or small…but if they’re unlucky to any degree, they might start to lose their vision or hearing, they might suddenly have headaches and dizzy spells, difficulty thinking or remembering, or trouble walking upright, they might even suffer a stroke from an aneurysm in their brain…or have any number of other things happen to them.

We talked about those things and the need for him to tell me who he has had sex with so I could find them and get them tested and treated…cured.  He was open during the discussion and told me everything I could want to know, told me about the trans-gendered man and the two women he had been with in the last eight months, told me that he met the trans-gendered man at a local Burger King and then walked to a transient camp and had sex with her there, said he met one of the other women at that camp, as well.  The man told me what they looked like, how I would be able to tell that they were the people I wanted and not someone else, told me how tall and dark they were, how their faces were thin from drugs and how their noses remained large as their cheeks sunk in over the months, and then gave me the time-frames in which their exposures had occurred.  The other person was on the other side of town, closer to where his aunt lived, a girl he met as she was riding her bike through the neighborhood; they had sex in an abandoned house four or five times over a week or so, said he wouldn’t know where to begin to look for her other than by simply walking the streets in that particular part of town.

The transient camp was located at a “T” in the alley that was just south and east of an intersection that I knew well; it happened to be directly east of where we had our clinic in the long-ago. The alley itself hasn’t changed over all this time; it remains a thoroughfare of garbage trucks, a shortcut for neighborhood kids trekking from one place to another, a convenient dumping place for people who live in neighborhoods where they don’t have alleys, and it is now an increasingly utilized space for the growing numbers of un-housed people whose lives have gone to shit by choice or by circumstance.

Within several days of visiting with the man in that particular jail, I went to the streets and found the transient camp in the alley, just where he said it would be.  In the photos above, you can see that several someones actually frequented the place, ate there, maybe even slept there, but nobody was there when I visited and nobody has responded to the cards I left for the people on the chairs in the photographs.  As evinced by their names, transients are not long in areas where we sometimes find them; maybe a couple of days or weeks, but not likely for months, as was the situation in this case.  The man in the jail said he had last seen these people 2-3 and 5-6 months ago…so they could be anywhere now…or nowhere.

***Homelessness in Arizona Annual Report

***The Face of the Homeless

***Phoenix’s Homelessness Defies Answers

***Central Arizona Shelter Service (CASS)

***Phoenix Rescue Mission

***Salvation Army, Phoenix

***Phoenix Homeless Shelters

***Turn a New Leaf

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Aloe Vera…Decorated…?

Not like in the war for heroic deeds performed on the battlefield when risking one’s own life to save others’, but as in making something that could be considered plain or even unattractive, pretty, glittery, sparkly, refreshing to look at, and many other etceteras and etceteras….

I found myself downtown with over three hours of free and available time, yesterday morning, before having to report to work for a particular outreach event, so I intentionally brought my camera with me and visited what has been christened the “Grand Avenue Arts District” and found more than a couple of things to photograph.

In addition to the dozens of photos I snapped of local street art and murals, I found this row of decorated Aloe Vera and could not resist spending a few minutes’ time making a handful of images.

The morning’s sun was still gentle at 7:45, but the day had already started to heat up and another scorcher was underway.

If you want a glimpse into the Grand Avenue Arts District, you can click here and here, or visit Google and click away to your heart’s content….


Desert morning at PIR….

My oldest son works as a real-estate agent, builds indoor water-features, used to work with an electrical contractor as a CAD designer…and he absolutely loves the desert.  This is a photo he made over a dozen years ago when he was out at Phoenix International Raceway for a job with the electrical contractor.  I’ve been past the racetrack multiple times over the years, but have never gone inside to watch an event, so I can only guess as to my son’s location when he made the photograph…somewhere facing south, as the sunrise was to his left.  That is the eastern edge of the Estrella Mountains in the distance.

If you’re interested to know more about Phoenix International Raceway/ISM Raceway, you can click on this link from Wikipedia.

**Image used with permission, by JSBrill.


City Paint Phoenix 21- “El Salvador”

While the overriding subject matter, philosophy, or world-view is not one that I personally endorse, I can’t help but acknowledge the artwork as noteworthy, especially given that it’s on the side of a building in inner-city Phoenix.

Situated on the south-facing wall of Buster’s Market at 603 N 15th Avenue, just west of downtown Phoenix proper, this is an image that I have seen more than a couple of times over three years ago.  Conducting field-work provides ample opportunity to participate in the sensory experience of the local culture.

I could have waited a few seconds longer to make the first photograph without a person in it, but I specifically wanted him there to offer perspective to scale, etc.  For what it’s worth, the building has been around since 1926 and cannot help but be an important source of groceries and other necessities for neighborhood residents, as there is not a supermarket within a few miles.

And for those interested, the artist’s information is provided below…”Enuf” is a local man named Francisco Garcia and he and this mural are featured in this Phoenix New Times article. If you’re not compelled to click on the link, I will provide that the mural is actually entitled “Jesus Saves,” and the artist claims that it is something of a self-portrait that was inspired by the “Forgiven” painting by Thomas Blackshear.

And lastly, if you’d like to view more street-art from Phoenix and Salt Lake City, you can click on this link to be taken to a continuous scroll of posts featuring beautiful murals and art work from both cities.


palo verde parking lot

The Palo Verde trees are in bloom…everywhere, if that’s not too broad of a term…and the wind-blown flowers are scattered…again…everywhere…like a spilled bag of popcorn…with extra butter.

Image made with iPhone.

iPhound beauty….

Palo Verde blossoms in parking lot


City Paint Phoenix 15 – Inspiration

Found in an alleyway where people park their garbage cans so the collection service can do their thing and haul away the waste.  There was a stretch of decorated wall that ran more than 100 yards deep into the alley…the backsides of backyard walls in a mid-city residential area.  The art was created as part of Paint Phx 2015.

Inspiration - alley wall art


City Paint Phoenix 14 – Find Your Direction

It’s been almost two months since I posted any of the street art images that I’ve collected since my return to Phoenix, and while this one isn’t typical of the city’s offerings, it is a rather grand image on a down-town building in the central corridor.

Find Your Direction full mural

The mural is on the south-facing side of the Fast Signs building at 2517 North Central in Phoenix.  I’m not sure how long it has been there and I don’t know anything about how or why it came to be.  I searched for what appears to be the artist’s information via the website information that they provided on the far left side of the mural, but was directed to a nail-fashion site…so it’s probably not related.  When I Googled the name of the mural, I found this link with photos that show the artists actually painting it….

If you would like to see more of their work, you can click on each of the artists’ highlighted names to be taken to their individual websites:  Lalo Cota and Isaac Caruso.

Find Your Direction mural focused shot

And if you’re interested in viewing earlier posts on street art in Phoenix and Salt Lake City, you can scroll to the bottom of the page, find the Categories widget toward the right side, and click on Street Art – Graffiti.

Thanks for visiting…now go Find Your Direction…..


exposed…again….

There was a certain feeling of nakedness and vulnerability that came with being the only visible white person within several blocks…who was also standing on the second-floor landing of an outside staircase in front of a faded and worn, black security door and having an invisible dark-brown voice coming out from somewhere on the other side of the door telling me that I needed to leave…telling me that I needed to go, to be gone, to be absent, to be somewhere else…anywhere else…and away.

It was full daylight on a bright desert weekday in some kind of month when the sun was making my face run with sweat, smack-dab in the middle of the neighborhood at 15th Avenue and Buckeye, easily within the perimeter of the inner to mid-city boundaries of central Phoenix.  The address used to be 1502 West Buckeye Road, but the two-building, two-storied, and L-shaped apartment “complex” has gone the way of urban-renewal and no longer exists.  It was deemed to be part of the blight in that particular city-council precinct.  The corner was now home to just a traffic-signal pole and an empty and graveled lot that sparkled with the detritus and glass of a Mad-Dog and beer-bottle graveyard.  People parked there sometimes when they were visiting the tent-revival meetings at the “church” on the south-side of the street and a little east of there…other people parked their taco-wagons and multi-colored, plastic patio chairs there and sold those spring and summer-time evening tacos and birria (goat-meat) burritos to passers-by with a middle-loud to real-loud loud-speaker playing various folk-tunes from south of the border.  If you’ve heard them before, you know what I mean when I describe them as sounding like they come from a Bavarian Oktoberfest celebration with the polka-accordion-esque tunes that seem foreign and absurd in their central Phoenix surroundings.

As I said, there was a certain feeling of vulnerability, standing there, elevated as I was, on the back-side of the complex on that four-by-six foot metal platform at the top of the stairs.  There was nothing to hide behind and no porch-cover overhead, no posts or poles to hold an awning or sun-shade that no longer existed.  It was just my tall-assed, white-male self standing there beneath the sun with that soft dark voice talking to me through the security door.  I didn’t even have to knock –

Hello?

“Hey,” I said, as I was held-up my ID tag.  “I’m with the health department….”

What do you want?

“I work at the clinic and I’m looking for So-and-so….”

I know who you are, he interrupted, put that thing down.

“Oh…ok….  Well, I need to talk with So-and-so.  Is she here?”

I said you need to put that thing down…really…you need to leave, man.

“Ok…it’s really important that I talk with her….”

I know that, man, but you need to leave…please.

Yes, he really said “please.”  He was articulate and warm and kind and sounded like he didn’t belong there, either.

I almost whispered, “Alright, can I leave a card for her?” as I was pulling-out a card and envelope and pen and turning sideways to look back and around and into the neighborhood.

No, man, you have to leave, and don’t be turning around like that.

His voice was urgent, yet gentle…like it was coming from someone who was almost my friend…someone who, if he was in a different place, would be my friend, big brother, or mentor.  It felt like he was trying to protect me…to urge me away and back into some kind of safety where I belonged.

I tried to hand him my business card, not the one that I would have had to stand there longer to write on, but just my card.

Put that down, man.  Don’t try to give me anything.  Just go.  I’ll tell her.  Go on now.

So…I left.  I walked back down the sun-faded and shiny and greasy and dirty staircase and out through the alley and toward my car.  I fought against the urge to turn and look back at the door I had just left, so I occupied my mind and eyes with slowly panning side to side, searching for other people and eyes that might be looking in my direction.  Maybe they were inside other houses or buildings and sitting behind the partially closed mini-blinds that faced the sunward side of the alley and street where I walked…maybe they were in the truck or van that drove down the street and turned away and gone.

What was there?  What was going to happen or might have happened…what did I walk into…or away from on that long desert day in that whatever month where the sun was hot and bright on my face?

you need to leave…please….

****This is a Favorite Re-post from March, 2010


“Her Secret is Patience”

Part of the day was done and there was still more to go…time card punched and waiting again…waiting again and again to punch back in and head up-town…waiting and thinking and knowing how to spend hours, not wanting to kill time and risk injuring eternity, but I was miles from home and miles from anywhere, and waiting to surround myself against my greater will with sounds foreign and people matching, piercing needles and veins on men and men, watching the sun go slowly down against a city-horizon of brick and stone and palms rising from urban desert sands with pigeons bobbing across asphalt driveways, with vagrant men sleeping and waking and running with wringing hands across the greenbelt, teens riding skateboards in the library parking lot, and paint ghosted onto walls random and intentional, messages wrought like iron in the workman artist’s hands.  There was no south shore of a great and salted lake, but the sky and its clouds looked the same and gathered me in and drew me up and lost me in the white and blue similar heaven that was reflected in sky-scraper windows that bend in a lens as airplanes rode through a magical net.

Tamara had done a piece called Net Art and brought a random thought closer to fruition…inspiring night-time images of a familiar place, a bit of string and cable launched into the realm above a city park where black men and brown sat lounging in silver metal chairs with legs crossed and sun-glass-ed eyes open or closed in their tilted heads appearing to see what I saw and being Okay with just seeing it; it was just a thing that was up there, a thing that caught my eye in passing a light-rail platform with curves and lines of its own, riding ground level out and away from that city-center into the beyond.

My camera does’t like the night-time and my processing kit doesn’t straighten buildings, but it…the camera, does allow me to lie in the middle of the grassy park in my work clothes while I point it skyward and imagine that I know what I’m doing, looking through some other lens, some other set of eyes that ride atop words and desire to find and fill and consume and possess, to express, to show, to manifest ideas in a tangible form of ink dots or binary wonders.

You can learn more about this bit of wonderfulness by clicking on these words and flying through space and time to the artist’s web page.  If you’ve got a few minutes, I highly recommend watching the two videos…the second one shows the construction/assembly in a time-lapse format.

 


City Paint Phoenix 10 – Nuestra Senora del Desierto

Here is yet another of El Mac’s murals that one can find in Phoenix.  You can see some of his other work in City Paint Phoenix 3, 6, 7, and City Paint 4 and 17 in Salt Lake City….and you can get to those other posts by scrolling to the bottom right corner of this page and clicking on Street Art – Graffiti under the Categories widget. This particular mural is located on the south and street-facing side of Love and Hate Tattoo and Piercing, located at 322 West McDowell Road.  You can click on their highlighted name to be taken to their webpage…if you’re interested.

Nuestra Senora del Desierto by El Mac


City Paint Phoenix 8 – The Mermaid Knitting her Tail

In a comment on another post, I mentioned to Andy at LensScaper that I happened to see some artists painting murals that day….

Knitting mermaid mural entire

…and I said I’d be going back to capture some images of the work.  I didn’t get there the next day, like I had hoped, but I did manage to get there a little later when the mural was complete.

Knitting mermaid mural left half

Coincidentally, the owner of the building (Joseph…or maybe it was James….?) was walking out to his vehicle as I was driving mine into the parking lot.  After asking if it was OK to be there on the property and make some photos, I asked the man if he knew anything about the mural.  He mentioned that an artist from Hong Kong was actually brought into town to create the mural as part of the Paint Phoenix 2015 paint festival….and that this is a mermaid weaving (knitting?) her tail.  Joseph also mentioned something about it being the subject of a Chinese myth, but maybe I misunderstood or got that part of the conversation mixed-up with another part in which he was discussing a Native American/Pacific Islander combination mural that’s on the other side of the building…which I shall be featuring here shortly.  And finally, Joseph/James, also told me about a couple of other locations nearby where I could find some wall murals painted by other artists who participated in the event…again…to be shown in another post.

Knitting mermaid mural right half

To wrap-up the post, I’ve included a small gallery of some isolation images that you can click on to see in greater detail.

And as always, if you’d like to see more of the City Paint Phoenix posts, or even earlier images of street art in Salt Lake City, you can scroll to the bottom of the page and click on the Street Art – Graffiti title under the Categories widget to be taken to a continuous feed of the posts.


City Paint Phoenix 7 – Southwest Goddess

I’ve seen it referred to as “The Phoenix Goddess” in a few different locations, but the artist, El Mac, refers to it as Southwest Goddess on his website…click here if you’d like to check it out for yourself.

Phoenix Goddess mural by El Mac 1

The directions I found on-line on how to find the mural states simply that it’s in an alley south of McDowell Road between  3rd and 5th Avenues…another set of directions indicate that it’s on an essentially hidden wall of the Laird Apartments at 317 West McDowell Road.

Phoenix Goddess mural by El Mac 2

I happened to find it through the first directions, driving up and down alleyways….  There were two other murals close-by, one of which you can see in green paint on the left side of the first image above.  I may feature them in a later post.

Phoenix Goddess by El Mac close-up

The fact that the mural is on the east-facing wall of the apartments might have something to do with it remaining in such good condition after being there for 10 years.

Phoenix Goddess city skyline shadows by El Mac

This is the fourth mural by El Mac that I’ve featured in the City Paint series…two others in Phoenix and one in Salt Lake City.  I have already collected images of two of his other murals in the Phoenix area and know where a third one is, but haven’t gotten to it yet with my camera.

Phoenix Goddess mural by El Mac last

If you’ve enjoyed viewing this fine example of street art, spray-paint murals, building art, or whatever else you’d like to call it, you can scroll to the bottom of the page and click Street Art – Graffiti under the Categories widget to see more posts containing this genre of art from both Phoenix and Salt Lake City, Utah.


Image

mesa vista in sepia

mesa vista in sepia


City Paint Phoenix 6 – Indigenous Woman

What could very likely be the newest mural in Phoenix was created by El Mac and his collaborators.  You might remember that I featured some of his other work in an earlier post.  I’d like to thank a fellow-blogger and Phoenician, Candace from Glenrosa Journeys, for telling me about the mural.  She used to follow the local street-art scene, going from mural to mural, capturing images as they were constantly being painted and painted-over, but she now focuses her blogging and photography around “birds and other critters.”

El Mac indigenous woman mural complete at sunrise

Candace mentioned that the mural is located at Heavy Pedal…and when I Googled that name, I found that it’s located just down the road from my work-place, at 1309 East Van Buren Street.  When I checked further to learn anything I could about the mural, I found this article in the Phoenix New Times.

Indigenous woman mural closer at sunrise

I stopped by the shop on my way to work with the intention of capturing some images of the mural without any cars parked in front of it…but being on the east-facing side of the building, it was the recipient of the morning’s light from the rising sun…and the attendant shadows that ride along with it.  So, the first two images (taken from outside of the gated and locked parking lot) show the shadows and glow of the sunrise, and the photographs in the following gallery show what it looked like about three and a half hours later.  If you’d like to view the images in greater detail, just click on any photo in the gallery to be taken to a slide-show where they are displayed in a larger format.  It’s crazy and wonderful what these guys can do with spray paint….

And…if you’d like to see earlier posts on street and building art in Phoenix and Salt Lake City, you can scroll to the bottom of the page, find the Categories widget, and click on Street Art – Graffiti to be taken to a continuous scroll of the posts.


a mysterious aggregation….

“We all…apprehend the land imperfectly, even when we go to the trouble to wander in it.  Our perceptions are colored by preconception and desire.  The physical landscape is an unstructured abode of space and time and is not entirely fathomable; but this does not necessarily put us at a disadvantage in seeking to know it….”

“…Believing them to be fundamentally mysterious in their form and color, in the varieties of life inherent in them, in the tactile qualities of their soils, the sound of the violent fall of rain upon them, the smell of their buds – believing landscapes to be mysterious aggregations, it becomes easier to approach them.  One simply accords them the standing that one grants the other mysteries, as distinguished from the puzzles, of life.”  **

**The above words are from Barry Lopez in Arctic Dreams….


City Paint Phoenix 4 – behind the Barrio Cafe

The images from this next installment of City Paint Phoenix are from my first tour of the city with the intent of documenting its street art.  I made them on August 10 of 2014…and if you notice that the angle and the lighting are a bit off, or awkward, or could simply be better, do note that I began shooting at 9:15 in the morning and, while the sun was clearly up and above the horizon, it had not yet made it up above this building, so I was not able to stand far enough away to make straight-on images, as the sun would have been shining directly into the camera.  At any rate, here’s what I found.  This mural is located on the back and west facing side of the Barrio Cafe, among other shops, at the address of 2814 N 16th Street.  The Barrio Cafe has its own bit of artwork, so I will feature all of that in another post.

The first three images are looking north along the building…and the gallery that follows includes photos taken while walking back toward the south.

Calle 16 mural complete

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Calle 16 mural center to left

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Called 16 mural left

Remember that you can click on any image in the gallery to be taken to the slide show that presents each image in a larger format.

If you’d like to see a photo series of the mural actually being composed, click on this link to Calle 16 Mural Project’s Facebook page and scroll down to entries dated 12/30/2012.  It’s rather fascinating seeing it all come together.  And…if you’d like to see more posts on street art and graffiti in both Phoenix and Salt Lake City, you can scroll to the bottom of this page and click on Street Art – Graffiti under the Categories widget.


Newsworthy

Media helicopter over downtown Phoenix with its sunrise skyline……very safe one-handed photography through the windshield…..

media helicopter over Phoenix morning skyline


low clouds on the desert hills

I meant to hit “preview,” but hit “publish,” so here it is anyway…all images made along the Carefree Highway yesterday morning….


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Saguaro Cacti in the Clouds…in Black and White

Saguaro cacti in the clouds, in black and white


Rio Salado morning….

I had driven over the bridges literally thousands of times in the more than 20 years that I lived in the Phoenix area…but something looked very different as I crossed them again and took a closer look over these past couple of weeks.  The river bed is surrounded by green…and has water in it…and months have passed since our last soaking monsoon rains.  Evidently, the City of Phoenix and the federal government worked together over a span of roughly ten years to restore five miles of the Rio Salado River to the condition that it likely was many decades ago before the river was damned at several places between Phoenix and its headwaters…it used to run continuously throughout the year, so much so that there used to be a ferry service for crossings.  At any rate, I went for a hike/walk along the river the other morning and was pleasantly surprised at what I found, just three miles south of downtown Phoenix….egrets, cranes or herons, coots and mallards, geese, beaver or muskrat, coyotes, and scores of rabbits…smack-dab in the middle of the desert.  You can click on these highlighted words, Rio Salado Habitat Restoration Area, to be taken to the City of Phoenix’s web-page describing the area.

I had arrived at the river before sunrise in the hopes of capturing the brilliant pink and yellow hues of the sun-drenched clouds reflecting on the surface of the water…but was met with a surreal quiet and low-lying misty wet atmosphere in which I could see my breath…so while the photo could be clearer, I think it captures the essence of my morning walk this past Saturday along the Rio Salado River.

Rio Salado morning


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encouragement….

encouragement - hot air balloon rising


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day’s end in the desert hills

day's end in the desert hills


Desert Vista Trail to Union Peak

I had passed the sign for the trail-head several times last week…and found that it was compelling enough to cause me to Google-it to learn more about it.  This trail is part of The City of Phoenix’s Sonora Desert Preserve…and you can click on the highlighted name…and then click on the link to the map to see exactly where I went.  If you click on the link to the map, scroll down to the bottom and then scoot over to the middle of the large map to see the course of the Desert Vista trail.  I started at the trail-head, followed the Hawk’s Nest, to the Desert Tortoise, then followed the Valle Verde Trail to the Horned Owl Trail to the Union Peak trail, back down and to the right, following the loop of the Great Trail back up to the Valle Verde, to the Desert Tortoise, Hawk’s Nest and to the trail-head again.  I made over 100 photographs during the hike and the following gallery presents what I think are 13 of the better images.  Please remember, if you click on any image, it will take you to a slide-show that will give you the opportunity to click on the images again to see them in a larger format.  Thank you for visiting and sharing a few minutes of your time with me…I hope you enjoy the hike!


City Paint Phoenix 2 – Hair Pollution

It’s been a few weeks since I started the City Paint Phoenix series, but here’s the second installment…all images were taken the same morning as the first of the series, City Paint Phoenix 1 – “Old Man Phoenix.”  I don’t have a single image of the entire mural, as I would have had to stand a couple of dozen feet further away, and doing so would have brought me fully into the morning sun, so please try to imagine these first six images linked together from left to right, and you’ll have the entire mural.  This piece of art is on the west-facing wall of a salon named, “Hair Pollution,” at 1524 E McDowell Road in Phoenix proper.  I’m not sure how long the mural has been on this wall, but I found various links to it on-line, dating from 2012…when the paint was much less faded by the Arizona sun.

The second collection of photographs are close-ups or isolation shots of the various components, elements of the greater mural that struck me as significant in their singularity and caused me to wonder at how and why they might or could be related in such a way that would cause the artist, Joerael Julian Elliott, to combine them in this presentation.  By the way, if you follow the link to the artist’s website, you’ll find (among other fantastic and wonderful things) a photo of the mural in its full form if you click on the “Public, and then the “Street” tabs.  Also, please remember that you can click on any image to be taken to a slide-show that provides an even closer look at each photograph.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this second showing in the series of City Paint Phoenix…a representation of some of the street and building art that I’ve found during my commute and wanderings in my new and old home of Phoenix, Arizona, USA.  If you’d like to see earlier postings, from both Phoenix and Salt Lake City, you can scroll to the bottom of this page and find the Categories widget…click on Street Art – Graffiti, and you’ll be taken to a continuous scroll of those earlier posts.  Thank you for visiting….