Friday, August 25, 2006

These Walls Are Made For Painting

Murals -- or at least highly decorated walls -- have been a local feature ever since my husband and I moved into these parts. You should have seen the south wall of the old 4-flat on South Montezuma, with its sun and solar system occupying a 2-storey canvas. (Yes, of course Pluto was included -- astronomical matters were simpler back then.) Alas, that building's been gentrified; the solar system is long gone.

Then there was the Mexican- American artist who lived on Montezuma near the joining to the White Spar Road.
He was a member of the family that lived at and had owned the Oro Belle mine down beyond Crown King forever and a day. He painted murals on his buildings. (About all I can see in my mind's eye from back in the 80s is an eagle.)

So it was on a hunch that, when I had the Memphis niece in hand recently to ferry me around, we checked out this general location. Lo and behold as we rounded the White Spar toward Montezuma, we beheld a bright and shiny new mural. Nothing reminiscent of the earlier Mexican-American artist, either.

The motif was different, but the mural continued around the corner of the building on the alley side. We parked. While I took pictures, the niece met the owner of the building, Steven Brock, an artist and metal sculptor.

As it turned out, he had nothing to do with the murals. He had given a group of artist friends his o.k. to paint the building whenever the mood hit them. He might show up at his studio to find a new mural...

... or this painted floor (a floral?) inside the studio, which was his surprise one day.

Brock recalled other murals in the area from older days -- a madonna and other religious art, for example. While we were looking at the yardful of sculpts and art works, we did discover this remainder of earlier times on the side of a shed.

(Yes, pictures of his metal works will be featured in a future post -- as will several other murals around town.)

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