As far as public art goes, I am a fan of painted murals: muralism. I’m unenthusiastic about graffiti tags: vandalism. All over Albuquerque there is both. The city has a 311 telephone number where citizens can report sightings of graffiti tags. A clean up patrol is dispatched quickly to eliminate sprayed paint from the scenery. The idea is that vigilantly maintaining and monitoring our neighborhoods, keeping them well-ordered and clean, may deter vandalism and an ascent to more serious crime; especially activities belonging to gangs.
Murals on the other hand, are painted on large expanses of concrete walls and building facades and have an element of longevity. Some are considerable works of art with paint peeling off because the daytime sun heats up concrete blocks to intense temperatures. Others never get to the peeling stage because they are painted over after a few months. A sense of neighborhood pride and identity can be generated by this sort of colorful, populist art. Some business owners want to promote themselves as belonging to a particular element or cultural group. They enlist an artist collective or single talented individual to lively up a building side. Here is one such example.
This wall is on a smoke shop that I pass while driving home from soccer games. I used the widest angle possible to include the entire wall into the same frame without needing post-process image stitching. I had to stand in the middle of a side street to capture it. I really like this mural, even if it was commercially driven. The colors are vivid, the theme is unified, and the artistry is terrific.
I’m fairly certain I will have future posts with images of other painted murals since they are an ongoing visual in Burque*.
*CITY TRIVA! “Burque” is slang for Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA. People from Albuquerque sometimes refer to themselves as “Burqueños.” Other folks say A-B-Q [say A-Bee-Queue]; which is our airport code and much easier than using all 11 letters every time you name our city. Still others call this place Duke City. This is based on the origins of the city name dating back to the early 1700s. King Philip of Spain granted permission to a group of Spanish colonists to start a new city along the banks of the Rio Grande. The colony’s governor, Francisco Cuervo y Valdez wrote a letter to the Duke of Albuerquerque in Spain, reporting the new settlement’s name: Villa de Alburquerque. They had named their new city after the Duke. Over time, the middle “r” got dropped from the city’s spelling. Alburquerque, Spain is one of our many sister cities. And don’t confuse us with Abiquiú, or Abiquiu, a small census-designated place located in Rio Arriba County, in northern New Mexico, about 53 miles north of Santa Fe.