Local muralist paints Tucson brighter


Pagac’s favorite, an underwater scene at 191 Toole Ave, is a work in progress. The mural depicts homeless subjects protecting clownfish – a representation of something considered ugly guarding something beautiful (Photo by: Baraha Elkhalil / Arizona Senora News).

Joe Pagac, a local fine artist, has been providing the Tucson community with street art for the past 14 years.

Pagac found his calling in art during his sophomore year at the University of Arizona after taking an introductory drawing class.

“Once I graduated I just put an ad ‘artist for hire’ in the newspaper and people started calling me and I started getting jobs and was able to quit doing anything else about three months out of college.”

Now, he makes a living as a full-time artist.

His work includes live paintings during events, book illustrations and three-dimensional pieces.

But his murals steal the spotlight.

The Rialto Theatre downtown hosts a tribute to the late Prince (Photo by: Baraha Elkhalil / Arizona Senora News).

His canvasses include downtown buildings, the Rialto Theatre, where he paints a new mural on the side of the building every two to three weeks, restaurants and bars and churches.

Pagac focuses on providing a “fun expression of life” through his murals. His art strays from having a political or controversial agenda, just art giving off good vibes.

His scatter the city on average, spurring inspiration and adding liveliness to blank walls, the two aspects of his work that keep him going.

Habitat for Humanity on Mountain and Prince features another one of Pagac’s favorites (Photo by: Baraha Elkhalil / Arizona Senora News).

“I get so many calls and messages and letters from people who say that me making a living as an artist inspires them to pursue their creative passions.”

The other side to the fire that ignites his work is the fact that he is adding character and color in an otherwise bland industrialized city.

“it’s a job that feels like I’m making a difference in the community while I’m working.”

He has done work outside of Arizona including the Hard Rock stadium in Miami, Los Angeles International Airport, and a couple murals in Denver.

Pagac’s current mural, to be finished Aprill 22, will creatively promote the cycling community in Tucson (Photo by: Baraha Elkhalil / Arizona Senora News).

His current mural on Sixth Street and Stone Avenue was funded through a kickstarter campaign where supporters donated $21, 616.

The piece features a man and a woman biking through the Sonoran desert, followed by several animals against a colorful backdrop.

Pagac strives to make a difference and brighten up peoples’ days through pretty sights and Tucson wants to thank him for that.

Baraha Elkhalil is a reporter for Arizona Sonora News, a service from the School of Journalism with the University of Arizona. Contact at belkhalil2979@email.arizona.edu

Click here for a Word version of the story and photos





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