ST. GEORGE — Reggae tunes and colorful clouds of spray paint floated through the air in the alley adjacent to the Electric Theater at 68 E. Tabernacle Street in St. George on Monday afternoon.
A passerby on the street stopped to look down the alley, and instead of finding the plain dark brown wall that was there the previous week, he saw four graffiti artists outlining a mural that depicts Charlie Chaplin filming a Shivwits powwow dancer and a jazz band being painted by a brush artist.
“Looking good,” the onlooker said to Oakland-based graffiti artist Pancho Peskador, who was filling in his picture of Charlie Chaplin. Peskador smiled and thanked the man.
“Do you paint?” Peskador asked him. “Do you want to paint some?”
The man declined, saying that he had mainly worked in his backyard. But the two had connected.
“The love we get here is unlike anywhere I’ve ever painted,” Peskador told St. George News, before getting back to work. “It’s nice to paint where you’re appreciated.”
These are the same artists who painted the St. George Art Museum one year ago. Michelle Graves, deputy director of arts and events for the city of St. George, said that she was pleased with the public response to the Art Museum mural.
“It was a spectacular, larger-than-life mural which celebrated hope,” she said. “We invite everyone to take part in this year’s celebration of art, culture and community with this new mural highlighting our history.”
The new mural is the result of a collaborative effort between the city of St. George, Art Around the Corner and the DocUtah International Documentary Film Festival.
Two films slated for last year’s DocUtah Festival, which was postponed by the COVID pandemic, will feature the artists and instead be included in this year’s festival.
“Prophets, Teachers and Kings” gives audiences an inside glimpse of the dark and sometimes violent world of the Los Angeles graffiti scene. The film follows artists Skill and Fear as they recount their 35-year journey from juvenile delinquency to urban art infamy.
In “Alice Street,” Peskador and his fellow Oakland-based artist Desi Mundo, who was also working in the alley Monday, form an unlikely partnership to tackle their most ambitious project to date: a four-story mural in the heart of downtown Oakland.
Mundo said that the St. George mural’s subject matter – Charlie Chaplin, the rocket in the eye of the moon, the Shivwits dancers, the saxophone player and the girl painting a canvas – were responses to the commission.
“We wanted to represent film, indigenous culture, dance, music and visual arts,” he told St. George News. “With the Shivwits dancers, I wanted to make sure that the indigenous community is at forefront of conversations in St. George, and to acknowledge whose land we’re walking on.”
Rhondalon Crawford, board chair of the Art Around the Corner Foundation, said that the new mural is intended to remind us that “with understanding our past and looking toward our future, St. George continues to be a vibrant and welcoming place for all to enjoy.”
“The partnership with DocUtah and the city of St. George demonstrates the commitment our community has to all of the arts and to providing our citizens and visitors with a wide variety of artistic experiences.”
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