Art as Protest: Local Artists Collaborate on Black Lives Matter Mural

Aimee SmithJune 25, 2020
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Protest can take many forms. Valley muralists are showing that art is one of them.

Six muralists came together to create a Black Lives Matter wall in downtown Phoenix. Each artist covered a segment of the wall using their own individual style. The wall is located on Third Street, just south of McKinley Street.

Just Dixon
The grayscale portion closest to the street was done by Giovannie “Just” Dixon. He is currently based in Denver, but previously lived in Phoenix and has strong ties to the graffiti art community here. While in town, he also painted a tribute to Dion Johnson on the side of Nami, located on Seventh Street.

Ashley Macias
The raised fist was done by Ashley Macias. She is a surrealist artist whose works adorn Roosevelt Row establishments such as Paz Cantina and the Cambria Hotel Downtown Phoenix. As she stated in an Instagram post, “Art is protest. A place where art and human rights unite… It’s our responsibility, our hope that we can shed more light on these issues and create a safe harbor for our community.”

The next segment was painted by Clyde, who helped organize this project. He has several large-scale murals scattered across Phoenix and Tempe, including a recent one on the Renaissance Phoenix Downtown Hotel.

Nyla Lee
The couple was painted by Nyla Lee. She is known for her striking large-scale portraits. Her work can be seen throughout Downtown Phoenix, including on the side of the historic Pemberton House and on the outside of The Churchill. She states on her Instagram, “Our art is a form of protesting… As a public artist and muralist, this is my platform and this is how I use my voice.”

Muta’s contribution is next. “I chose to stand up and become the best ally I can be and make a sign big enough for a 1,000 hands to hold.”, Muta says on Instagram. He would like this mural to be a conversation starter, spurring growth and learning. Muta’s recently completed works include a mural for Q & Brew in Tempe.

John “MDMN” Moody bookends the mural. He has a distinctive comic book influenced style. He uses bold colors and often depicts characters that appear to be superheroes. You can see some of his other works on the backside of Carly’s Bistro and at the corner of Central Avenue and E. Woodward Drive.

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