Guadalupe on James Street near Aztec Ave I Photo: PtD.
On Friday afternoon I was in the field and a Guadalupe appeared. It’s not the first time I’ve toured the back suburban roads on the edges of Las Vegas looking for murals. This time, I had a professional with me, Rebecca Snetselaar, Folklife Program Associate for Nevada Arts Council. We drove around and shared discourse on how front yards can be interpreted as installations and how fits within folk art or contemporary art.
Taking a few turns , as guided by my internal map of “let’s go this way,” we found this version of Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe. The family was home, and from the window, Carlos Ortega peeked out of a window when he saw us stop. I asked if it was alright to take some photos. “Sure, go ahead man,” he said.
The 26-year-old graffiti artist is self-taught, he said, and careful to add that he has curbed his practice of unauthorized painted installations.
Ortega’s Guadalupe is a clean graphic taking the symbol to simple forms, making it readable to neighbors who drive-by. The scale has the image fit in the mostly Latino neighborhood. There’s gold trim on the green that, along with the red, and the glowing arc on the rain gutter somehow works. It's centered and gives balance to the front yard’s spirituality.
Carlos Ortega I Photo: PtD.
Above: Stephen Hendee created sculpture for the celebration of 30 years of public art programming in the City of Las Vegas.