Tuscon is a murals town. They are up front, hidden, in your face, subtle, not-so-nice, and sublime. They are also here today, gone tomorrow. Sometimes with shocking suddenness. Artist Joe Pagac painted the above mural on the side of the old Bookman's building on Grant in 2014. That was four years ago for those of you born since then. Now it's gone. Poof! Building demolished. Bookman's, by the way, had already vacated so maybe it was just a case of bad timing.
But I've been noticing a lot of this kind of thing lately. How's this for sudden death: Jessica Gonzalez painted a beautiful Peter Max-like mural on the west side of the historic Wig-O-Rama a mere two years ago. That's like the time it took me to do this year's taxes. And it's gone. Removed after the store was sold to developers. I stood there one morning with same said developer and we both agreed it was a wonderful mural and quite sad that it had to go and that was that.
Here's a couple more. The cool monochromatic mural on the east side of what is now Sacred Art Tattoo Studio? Adios, just this last year. One of the Spy vs Spy guys on the south side of Magpies Pizza? Kaput, last time I checked. And then there's the murals that are still swingin' but taking it on the chin. Pagac's "Epic Rides" mural on Stone got tagged in March, but was untagged (by Joe himself) within days. I imagine he was shaking his head when he said, "I always understood that taggers and muralists left each others' stuff alone."
Unfortunately, that ain't the case no more. I don't know when the gears shifted, when it became okay to screw it up and damned as to needing a reason, but c'mon. When taggers completely raked over a mural of Our Lady of Guadalupe on 6th I just about drove off the road. This is when you lose it. This is when you feel like the whole, wide world is collapsing into a stinking maelstrom of swirling shit and nobody gives a tinker's damn.
So, enjoy these beautiful creatures while you can. Like moths in the light, they live short lives.