Identidad Geometrica by Oswaldo Sagástegui

While downtown this weekend, I stopped to focus on a sculptural installation right outside of the El Paso Museum of Art.

“Identidad Geometrica” was designed by Oswaldo Sagástegui and built by his son Mauricio Sagastegui.  The abstract sculpture was installed at the entrance to EPMA, in the spot originally home to Luis Jimenez’s “Vaquero”.

A gift by a local art patron, it fills the void left by “Vaquero”.  I miss the old “Vaquero” piece.  It had raw power and emotion, greeting you with a vibrancy that’s a sharp contrast to “Identidad Geometrica’s” angular geometry.

“Identidad Geometrica” is a significant piece in its own right.  At close to 16 ft high, it plays well with the sun as it travels across the the El Paso sky. The prism/triangle shapes cast interesting shadows and allow for unique views through them.  It’s been here for a couple of years now and I suppose it will grow on me.

The Lady and La Calavera

While heading down Texas street I stopped to grab a pic of a probably post-prohibition era sign, painted on the side of a building:

 There are a few of these old wall signs left scattered around downtown and this one advertising Bevo makes it especially unique.  Not far from it is a large wall mural by Tino Ortega:

The piece is pretty impressive, easy accessible while driving by.  Most street art is best viewed by pounding the pavement and walking up to it though.  The scope is always more impressive from the sidewalk level.  One of the benefits of seeing it up close is you will will notice a nice companion piece nearby that would be easily missed in a passing car:

Sugar skull, guardian of the alley. Forever watching…waiting, what have you seen?

More Outdoor Public Art

I’ve been helping set up at the Downtown Art Market and after finishing up I headed out to get some pics of some outdoor art around the area.

First up is a piece by EXIST1981. Its tucked behind a building off of San Antonio Avenue:

The Mandala Mural was created in honor of the artists son and was created entirely by spray paint.    Not far from it is another mural by Federico Archuleta:

This piece is a joint commission between Juaritos and Amor Por Juarez.  Both murals sit in choice locations for viewing and add some great color to the often forgotten backsides of buildings.  With so many industrial warehouses in the neighborhood, more murals such as these would really go a long way in helping establish the area as an art district.

Further down in the Union Depot area I found a couple of small paste/poster pieces:

As I continue to wander around downtown, I’ll keep posting up what I find.  There’s a lot out there waiting to be found.

DWN TWN Art & Farmers Market 2014

I spent some time this weekend at the Downtown Artist and Farmers Market in El Paso’s Union Plaza District.  It’s been going on for a few years now and has really taken shape from its humble beginnings.

While browsing around, I walked a few blocks over to see how the area has changed in the last year with all the recent development activity.  One new addition is a large pedestrian mall following Durango street from Overland to the site of the new stadium. There’s been a lot of talk about not having enough parking for the El Paso Chihuahua’s baseball games. This looks like a good way to shuttle foot traffic up the colorful walkway from the downtown transit terminal across from the Civic Center.

The artist market has grown leaps and bounds since the addition of the farmers market.  Food trucks also frequent, parking down on San Francisco street, giving patrons plenty of grub to choose from.

One thing that would really help would be if more of the businesses in the area would open up for lunch on Saturday (Hello! the Garden and Brick & Mortar…)  On the corner of San Antonio and Anthony streets sits The Mix , a cool retail/ shopping venue.  A few retail stores were open but a pub and nearby restaurant opened later in the afternoon. Bummer.

With plenty of parking and new vendors, the Art Market is worth a weekend checkout.  It’ll be interesting to see the area continue to grow once baseball takes hold downtown. There should be more to see and do as this and future seasons get going.

The Silos

After a few misses trying to get in, I made a couple of calls and figured out how to gain access to the large concrete silos on Ruhlen Court by the Rescue Mission of El Paso.

I had been given a tip to check out the site by Peter Thak.  For the last few years The Silos have been host to an underground graffiti art show put together by David “Grave” Herrera and others benefiting the Rescue Mission. His art and work in the local El Paso community is well known and he has even championed a public place where up and comers can legally spray and display their art.  I didn’t think that the artwork would still be around but the site is locked up which prevents it from getting tagged or vandalized.

Once you are in, its oddly disorienting. From the outside it appears to be a large rectangle but the building is actually made up of 21 tall concrete silos.  The roof has long been removed so there’s lots of available light during the day.  The downside to that is the exposure to the elements and the pigeons.

After getting used to the vertigo inducing walls, my friend Vince and I wandered around inside documenting the various works.  There was quite a spread in talent and design, no doubt due to the large collection of artists represented.

Historically, graffiti art has been a misunderstood form of artistic expression, in part by being lumped together with gang tagging and vandalism. But if there’s one thing all the excitement over Banksy’s recent New Your residency tells us, its that art is in the eye of the beholder.  Many street artists may have started out on the fringes in the murky world of “is it art or destruction of property” but context and prominence need to also be applied to truly understand the aerosol art form.

Our need to get out and breathe clean air brought our time in the tubes to and end. The temporary existence of the works makes the visit worth it though. Given the recycling nature of the space, hopefully future shows here will continue to exhibit the talent willing to lay down paint for the greater good.

The full set can be viewed here: The Silos on Flickr