Mexican Murals – Different Types of Wall Paintings

in murals •  2 years ago  (edited)

Encouraged from all the positive resonance to my first mural post, I would like to give a couple of examples to the various types of murals I've been mentioning. Some were painted with the owner's consent, who may even have paid for it. Others just appeared without ever being invited, and the owner of the property liked it, or just couldn't bother removing it. Many were painted with a huge publicity hub-bub, involving lots of artists and other people, honoring the muralist tradition of Mexico. Even more pieces were thought up and painted by one single artist, often risking their safety or freedom. Occasionally someone just decided to paint something cool onto their walls. Let's take a look at some of these murals. All of them can be found within 5 minutes walking distance from the mural in my previous post

Advertising a Private Business 

This is nothing more than a sign advertising a nearby place where you can park your car. It seems to do its job, as the parking lot is well frequented. But just to get the word out that there is a parking lot, a simple sign would have been enough, which can be bought at any of the massive gringo chain-stores here. To really give it an impact, the sign itself could have taken over the entire wall space, maybe with some catchy font... Instead, the owner decided to go with this pre-columbian design under the moderately sized lettering. The nice thing is that the artist probably got to go home with some funds, and the rest of us, anyone passing by every day, get to see a cool looking image on the street corner. Granted, it has been there quite long, at least as long as I've been living here. Consequently, the colors are faded, the artist's money long spent, and us regular public have gotten so used to it that it may be time for a fresh image. 

Beautifying a Private Business 

A talented muralist is highly sought after, especially if you own a rustic little eatery with a big ugly wall in it. Since the place doesn't even have good lighting, the artist used some bright colors on a black background. The deer image is prominent in various native traditions, such as the Yaqui or the Huichol cultures, which could have been influencing this image, as the artist's name Peyote suggests. Since the piece is inside the restaurant, it can be assumed that it will stay there for a while, making a visit recommendable. The joint is called Cajún Rustic Burgers, located on Gobernador Luis G. Vierya, just off of Avenida Jalisco. They have decent burgers, and a delicious IPA which is kinda rare in Mexico. 

Beautifying an Empty Wall 

Just behind the aforementioned burger place is another beautiful mural, which the restaurant has no connection to whatsoever. The same people who were so proud to show me their deer mural had no idea about the origin, creators, symbology, or anything regarding the mural behind their restaurant. A closer look revealed that one of the three names featured on the piece was the same Peyote. Though this mural is about four times as big and elaborate as the deer one, it can be assumed that there was no remuneration whatsoever for its creators. However, it is a captivating image, featuring certain re-occurring characters. More about them later... 

Setting the Scene for a Government Office 

Not far from the other murals, on the corner of Gob. Rafael Rebollar and Gob. José Ceballos, is the site for another mural: the Comuna Miguel Hidalgo, a youth center belonging to the Ministry of Labor. It offers activities and courses to young people looking to improve their prospects on the job market. Fittingly, the wall painting around the front door tries to address the sentiments of these young people: On the left it features two young women wearing pre-columbian jade ear-pieces, on the right a child is blowing bubbles, which carry words expressing the values the center stands for, such as work, health, and education. The number 43 on his shirt stands for the students of Ayotzinapa, who were disappeared three years ago. The center keeps renewing its appearance, so it can be safely assumed that this mural won't be up for too long. However, this practice also ensures constantly new images for the community, and a regular reward for the artist(s). 

Expressing Political Sentiments 

This mural is a relatively recent one, put up last November, and it can be assumed that the owner of the building had it painted to express their reaction to the outcome of the presidential elections in the US. It features two images of Donald Trump, admittedly not his most advantageous ones, along with the phrases You are fired, I'm fired, upside-down China, The Russians are coming, and the question What would you have done? in Spanish. On the bottom left-hand side there is also a big question mark next to the four years of his term, with empty boxes for check-marks. Though this piece is comparatively weak when it comes to political murals, it clearly highlights the passion behind creating it. The building can be found on the corner of Gob. Rafael Rebollar and Gob. Garcia Conde.

What Makes a Mural Good? 

  

Finally, let me introduce three murals whose sheer presence shows their success. All three can be seen on the street Gobernador Luis G. Vierya and on Gob. Rafael Rebollar between Gob. Luis G. Vierya and Gob. Vicente Eguia. So how do I know that these pieces are generally considered so good? Because they are quite old and faded, but they haven't been removed or painted over, not even with graffiti tags. However, unlike many other walls, these are not protected whatsoever, and are fully accessible. The first one looks like John Lennon and Carlos Santana riding a tram with dogs. The second one is a visionary lady engaged in some divination. And the third one, my personal favorite, is the Virgin of … sorry, I have no way of deciphering the lettering, even on the wall! In any case, the long-beaked mask she is wearing is anything but reassuring, still her gaze is so captivating that no matter her underlying reasons, I can't simply look away. 

Just to give an example to the contrary, which unfortunately is more common than anything else, here is one of those ubiquitous tags that look... well, to put it simply: like the crap it is. Sorry for offending the artist, but in these cases I'm not surprised that these images get tagged over repeatedly.

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Wow, what a super interesting post. Never knew there was this tradition in Mexico! Haha.. to me the murals make the tags look utterly ridiculous and I'm not sure if I'd call the creator an "artist".

What I found interesting is, that we have a similar preference. When I looked over the pictures, before I read the text, my favorite was the "the Virgin of …" as well.

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Yes, murals (and the art of 'muralismo') are deeply engrained in Mexican culture. There are some really famous ones, by artists of such caliber as Diego Rivera and José Clemente Orozco. I think I should introduce some of their art in my next mural post. We've got some of them in our area as well.

What would interest me also, are the murals in Germany you've mentioned. What kind of projects were they? What magnitude? Who commissioned them? What were the illustrations of? Are some of them still around? Do you happen to have pictures? Would you like to make a post on them?

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Like I said, I had no idea of this going on in Mexico, but I am eager to learn more about it. I am an artist (painter) myself and member of a French group called "Libellule".

Our Mexican colleagues arranged an exhibition project around a deck of cards, which seems to be very popular there. Each card has a picture and a number. I was assigned "Estrella"... hope I remembered it right: "Star". For almost 2 years our groups works have been shown in different Museums in Mexico and this in return sparked a big interest in me for the country and the rich culture. Hope to get to go there eventually!

As for the murals here, they are very different. Actually the tradition to paint whole facades of houses is more southwest of us. Here it was rarely done in the past, and my dad was a sort of pioneer, creating almost 30 in our area. I really should get some photos of them. Many are still there after 40 years!

For the traditional style in the other part of Bavaria, just take a look at this google search: http://bit.ly/2vZrawg

Eventually I will make one or more posts on my father's work. Thanks for giving me the idea to do that :-)

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Oh, Lüftlmalerei! I never knew that was the name, but I'm quite familiar with it. I used to live in Unterfranken (small village called Rüdenhausen, Landkreis Kitzingen) and I remember seeing them (or very similar wall paintings) everywhere. Being a teenager, I remember finding them super corny. Now, my sense of corniness has turned inside out, so I can see the appeal in them... sort of. Which part of Germany are you from? Yes, please write an article about your father's work. Very impressive that after 40 years they're still up. I would love to read it.

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Oh Rüdenhausen you say? I know the area, well, drove through there a few times. Looks like you've had an interesting Life. How did you get from there to Mexico?

I live in the south east, a beautiful area called the Bavarian Forest. Was once the end of the (western) world, but a lot has changed over the past few decades.

I will do a post about my father's work. Actually, I'm planing to drive around with him and see all the murals he did :-)

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Hehehe, I should have known: Rüdenhausen is famous for the A3 and the LOMO Raststätte. :-) As for the places I'm "from", all my life I've been moving between Hungary, Germany, and the US. Then about a good decade ago I visited Mexico, met a beautiful woman, and ... kept coming back until I decided to stay.
Nice, so you'll be seeing what your father's murals look like these days. A father-son road trip! Sounds wonderful. It may even fill more than just one article. :-)

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Of course, a woman... sounds very familiar. I followed one to the US one time... (un)fortunately it didn't last forever in that case ;-)

Yes, again a big thank you for giving me the idea with my dad. I'm really looking forward to doing that. I know he will enjoy it too :-)

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You're welcome, so do I (look forward to it).

I had no idea about the street art culture in Mexico, but, how I love it. When I visited Central America, murals were every where. Half of my vacation shots were of those murals.

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Indeed, there are so many, and so many good ones here, everywhere. The funny thing is, after a while you get used to them, and stop really looking at them until... you realize that you can SHOW them to others, by making steemit posts, for example. :-)