i left my heart in phoenix (just a tiny little piece)...
Phoenix, Arizona, the roof of over 1 million citizens making it the 6th biggest city in the Unites States of America, the home of the Grand Canyon National Park and one the top copper producers in the US. But what I thought would be an adventure in the desert by being surrounded by thousands of cactuses, instead, became an urban trek on the search for the finest street art of the Roosevelt Row.
The Roosevelt Row (also known as the "RoRo") is one of the most prominent and creative areas of Phoenix. Although the neighbourhood has been around for over more than a centennial, it was not until the late 90s that it started to become the modern Row of today. Artists saw a huge potential in this part of the town of Phoenix and took over the older homes and crack houses and transformed them into studios since the rents were extremely low. Nowadays, the RoRo is flourishing with vintage clothing shops and bookshops, boutiques, some vegan/vegetarian restaurants and some beautiful and touching artwork.
The colours play an important role in most of the street art of the area. Most of it is vibrant and offers quite a rich palette, which compensates and fills in for colourless natural Arizonian landscape, due to the dryness of the city all year round. There is also a strong presence of Mexican imageries dispersed throughout the Row such as skulls (chicanos), religious themes and even mariachis.
What struck me the most was the essence of every work that I was able to look and contemplate in awe. Each and everyone of the street art was flowing together just like if they were all made to fit together no matter how contrasting they were. The inconstancy created constancy and the commitment to find the equation was rather irrelevant. The Row has picked my curiosity and has stolen my heart. The only thing that I regret is to not have stayed longer.
Matt Parsons, 28, photographer (though all the snapshots above were taken by an iphone) and compulsive traveler, lives in Toronto, Canada