Week 6

Hi guys! This week I spent a lot of my time working on sketches for the mural in the weight room. I had a lot of trouble with making my sketch look like what I had imagined as well as debating whether or not the ideas I had would "fit" in a weight room. In the end, I decided to not worry so much about whether or not it would "fit" and to just go with what I wanted to make. I ended up hating my first 3 sketches but finally, my 4th sketch was something Mrs. Rieser (my school advisor) and I were both excited about. I still need to finalize it but I think it's going to be a lot of fun to make and has the potential to be something everyone can enjoy. That was another issue for me; it's unnerving to make something so permanent when you are not sure everyone will like it. Of course, not all artwork is going to be met with positive opinions all of the time but you would still want the artwork to get more positive feedback than negative. I think this is something a lot of muralist struggle with whenever making a public art piece. And for them, it is probably more pressure because their careers depend on their popularity and public approval of their art. I am trying to not let that worry me too much and to just focus on the mural and making it something I am proud of. I will try to start next week but that depends on when we get funding and when I finish my sketch.

For my internship, I was mainly working on a summary of the festival and working on some more artist bios. Thanks for reading!

2019 Oak Street Alley Mural Festival

The Oak Street Alley Festival this past Saturday could not have been more of a success! People from all around Arizona came out for this event. We even had the Mayor- elect for the city of Phoenix, Kate Gallego, visit the event and participate in screen printing!

Our day started at 10 AM, getting the event set up in time. Not long after we started working, a biker crew of at least 30 drove through the alley waving and smiling. Soon after we were finally done and the event was starting. People were pouring in; one second the alley was empty and the next filled with people, kids and dogs.

The food from Taco Juan was amazing and the drinks from Azukar Café were just what we needed to refresh ourselves. The live music kept the crowds dancing and moving. Live entertainment included Kite 9D3, The Edisons, Hollowpoint Vigils and Jerusafunk.

The Millet house helped us create the kids mural again this year which turned out to be very colorful and vibrant. That wasn’t it for the kids though, there was boxing, life sized four in a row, bean bag toss and a drawing station.

It was amazing to be able to see the mural creation process first hand and see their image come to life. The muralists were all very friendly and excited to be able to participate in the event. We even had extra open panels for people to come and.  It was an amazing way to connect the community with murals and bring art to Phoenix.

Week 5

Hi! This week I was mainly helping create a new page for Murals of Phoenix website which will be a directory of the artists in Phoenix. The directory is made so that it is easier to connect the artist with the client. By doing this I end up researching a lot of artists and I feel like I have gotten to know them pretty well both in style and as a person.

What really defined my week was the Oak Street Alley Mural Festival. I helped set up the event, run the booth for Murals of Phoenix and took photos and videos of the event. It was super busy and lively which made it really fun. The live mural painting was a great say to see the mural creation process first hand and to be able to see their image come to life from start to finish. They ranged in different styles and subjects which was a great source of inspiration for my own mural. Overall, the event was a huge success and a great way to connect the community with murals. 

That's all I have for this week. Sorry for the short post but I will hopefully have more for next week :)

Week 4

Hi! This week I’ll talk about the muralist I interviewed 2 weeks ago. I interviewed an artist named Leter91 who is a part of the same crew* (Scarce Elementz) as the Issac Caruso, who I interviewed a while back. Like almost every other muralist I interviewed, he started out with graffiti and learned how to work the spray paint and the different techniques and practiced by making small art pieces for his friends. Leter91 mainly focuses on murals versus any other art form and there isn’t a common subject except he has recently noticed he’s using a lot of nature elements. A lot of his inspiration comes from his crew, music, and life in general- both the negative and positive parts. One thing that stuck out to me about this artist was that sometimes to figure out what he is going to make he lays out some colors that he wants to use and draws what he thinks of when looking at them all together. The most difficult part of the process for him is getting down the background. Leter91 told me that he has had some problems with people accepting his murals because they think its graffiti but Phoenix was some of the more accepting cities he’s worked in. In Iowa, he was teaching kids how to paint around some train tracks after getting all the proper clearances but it ended up getting some backlash because some people thought they were teaching them how to vandalize. It ended up in the news but in the end a majority of the community backed them up and it got sorted out.

Thanks for reading this weeks blog!

*(side note: muralists tend to stay in crews to be able to both collaborate and get inspiration from other muralists, share resources and have some protection from other crews or territorial gangs)

Week 3

Hi! So this past week I have been doing some more research on the history and I got to interview another artist which I’ll tell you guys about next week (he is part of a crew called Scarce Elementz). One part of the history that I’ll tell you guys about is from “A Historical Overview of Mural” by the Community Rejuvenation Project. The modern graffiti movement was largely identified with the emerging hip-hop culture in New York because some of the pioneers of the movement, such as Phase 2, were also b-boys or hip-hop dancers. Another reason is that these artists such as Phase 2 would make the flyers for DJs associated with the hip-hop culture. Therefore, graffiti became one of the 4 core elements of hip-hop culture as it expanded to a global movement. Because graffiti is mostly illegal and in the 70’s was not largely socially accepted, it was counterculture by definition. Police would beat people who had spray paint, regardless of whether or not they were doing something illegal. The people who were arrested and found themselves in court would often face large fines or even prison sentences. The subway graffiti died down because of these legal efforts, forcing graffiti artists to turn to other pursuits such as murals. Some of these artists include the now famous Keith Haring, who initially created iconic chalk murals in the subway stations but later rose to fame and his art was displayed in galleries around the world.

Thanks for reading this week’s blog 🙂 Next week I’ll talk about some muralist’s I’ve interviewed and what I’m doing for my internship (there is also an event coming up that Murals of Phoenix is hosting so come on out! ).

Week 1 & 2

Hi guys! These past 2 weeks I have been doing some independent research on the history of murals and did some work for Murals of Phoenix. Some of the work I did included taking pictures of some of the new murals in Downtown Phoenix. Last Friday there was an event with a muralist named Isaac Caruso who had people come out and paint whatever was around them that interested them on wooden panels. These people didn’t have to be artists or have any artistic talent it was just normal people painting whatever they wanted. Towards the end of the event I got to interview Isaac and like most other muralists he started at a young age with graffiti but later realized that murals was the happy medium between fine art and graffiti and decided to make a career out of it. He started making serious murals in 2012 when he made a mural to commemorate the ASU project that harvested sunflower seeds for biofuel. He thought the sunflowers added something special to Phoenix so when they were gone he wanted a reminder of what it was like.

I’ve also spent some time reading about controversial murals which is what part of my project is looking at. I will write a blog soon that focuses on this!


Hi! My name is Mayka Galarza and I am currently an intern at Murals of Phoenix. At my school BASIS Phoenix you have the option to work on a Senior Research Project during the 3rd trimester and I have chosen to research muralists in the Phoenix area.

Over the course of this project, I will be interviewing different muralists while they create their murals, take photos of the murals and eventually make my own mural for BASIS Phoenix! I will also be researching the creation process of murals in Arizona and looking at their role in history.

Hope you enjoy my blog!