The sixteenth of the Endangered Species Murals is finished! This big wall is located near the Convention Center in downtown El Paso, Texas, and features five endangered species from the US/Mexico borderlands: the Chiricahua Leopard Frog, Northern Aplomado Falcon, Mexican Grey Wolf, Ocelot, and Sneed’s Pincushion Cactus. The mural was created by me and three other artists: Jesus “Cimi” Alvarado and Martin “Blast” Zubia from El Paso, and Ivan “Shack” Melendez from Ciudad Juarez. We also worked with the students of La Fe Prep school in El Paso’s Segundo Barrio neighborhood on the cactus. We employed a technique that was new to me- painting on a polyester substrate called Polytab, which is then adhered to the wall with a gel medium. This made it possible to work on the heads indoors at a downtown studio, and to bring the panels into the school to work with the youth.
It was a real pleasure to work with these artists and students to create this international collaboration, and I think it does a pretty good job of summarizing one big truth about the border- that these lands are intrinsically connected, that there’s nothing that separates them, and that the communities of humans, animals and plants that inhabit them deserve freedom of movement and protection from harm. You can read some great press on the project here, here, and here. This was sponsored by the Center for Biological Diversity (see all the murals in the series here) and the City of El Paso Museums and Cultural Affairs Department as well as Kalavera Culture Shop. Follow the artists on social media as @elcimi, @blastertsb, @shack_clvr, and @toosphexy.