By Sabine Galvis
Downtown Phoenix is home to a trove of striking murals. You can find them scattered through the streets or dotting your Instagram explore page. Why not walk a few minutes from campus and use one as the background of your next photo-op? After all, the perfect portrait can always be elevated by a unique or stylish setting. Don’t let your pictures fall flat when it’s so simple to make them stand out. My favorite backgrounds reflect the vibrancy of downtown Phoenix and are easily accessible. I’ve included directions on how to reach them, so feel free to grab your friends, a camera, and go!
This background is definitely the busiest one of the bunch, but don’t be intimidated! The mix of colors and shapes adds a shot of energy to even the most pared down look. Toss on some basics and watch them become part of a masterpiece.
You can find this beauty down the alleyway between N 5thStreet and 6th Street, along E Garfield Street.
Nearby points of reference: 515 Arts, Grateful Ventures, the graffiti house on Garfield
A Rainbow Array
This wall features scrolling strokes of white against colorful splotches. The bright patches of paint balance whimsy with elegance–it’s all in the details. Wear something that wakes up your inner child and have fun with this one!
Right by the corner of N 4thStreet and E Roosevelt Street, this mural is tucked between two buildings but still allows for ample shooting space.
Nearby points of reference: Public Image hair salon, Ike’s Love and Sandwiches
Yellow and Behold
This panel of sunshine faces directly opposite the previous example. It’s two backgrounds for the price of one! The saturation of this golden wall made it a must-see for me. Although I originally planned to crop out the silver sheets on either side, I actually like the urban edge they add to the image and the way they framed the shot.
Follow the directions for the previous image to get to this gem.
The Gatsby vibes are unmistakable with the blue iris that peers out of this wall. The simplicity of the mint splash against gray brick takes this mural into the modern age. Fortunately, it also makes it easier to style a complimentary outfit. Gravitate towards cool tones that harmonize with the elements at play here.
The location for this work of art speaks for itself. It runs along the side of the Eye Lounge gallery on the corner of N 5t Street and E Roosevelt Street.
Nearby points of reference: Eye Lounge gallery, Made Art Boutique
Flight of Imagination
This may be the most photographed backdrop in the area, and I’d be silly to not include such an iconic setting. The striking design and black-and-white palette add interest without removing focus from you. This is a popular spot, so pick an outfit that really expresses who you are. You’ll stand out from the crowd, and you can never go wrong with that.
This scene can be found in a park on the corner of N 2nd Street and E Roosevelt Street.
Nearby points of reference: Monorchid Creative Studios
The Perfect Spiral
This portion of a larger mural is the perfect frame for someone looking to stand out. The soft swirls that emanate from the rings make this otherworldly panel distinct. Wrap yourself in something flowy and find yourself twirling in front of the camera.
Discover this sweet pick right behind Snoh Ice Shavery, by the crossroads of N 2nd Street and E McKinley Street.
Nearby points of reference: Snoh, Cobra Arcade Bar, Antique Sugar vintage store
Photography by Jeremy Buch