The Main Stream

Apr 18, 2012 9:27 PM

Artists defend controversial mural

NOGALES - There is always a difference of opinion when it comes to street art.

A mural in Nogales has people on both sides speaking out.

Those who oppose the mural call it graffiti.

Some say it's offensive because one of the images blames soldiers for the war.

Those who support the mural call it art and a way to express themselves.

"We just wanted to put up a real nice mural for the community to enjoy and express your art," said Carlos Lineiro.

The artists say they just want a canvas to showcase their talent.

"We've all worked very hard and put a lot of thought into this," said Lineiro.

It started as an urban art mural and graffiti contest.

A relative of one of the artists allowed it to take place on his wall on the corner of West Ellis Street and North Portero Avenue.

One artist, Felix Lawrence, uses the canvas to represent the role of advertisement and war in society.

"I'm hoping that the soldiers think twice about what they're doing, and that's what this artwork is about," said Lawrence.

Those against the mural say the expression has gone too far to the point of being offensive.

"They start going in a negative direction," said Joe Diaz of the Nogales VFW.

Diaz is offended by the image on the mural that reads: "Soldiers make war possible."

"The decisions are made by our leaders not by the individual soldiers," said Diaz.

A veteran himself, Diaz said the painting is hurtful to all those who have served or have loved ones serving.

"And it's just not right for that to be there," said Diaz.

Nogales Mayor Arturo Garino, also an artist, said he changed his mind about the mural once he started getting complaints about it.

He said it might not be a good thing for the community.

"Some of the people really don't like driving down the hill and looking at it. It's kind of like television: you don't like something, you turn it off...you can't turn off that wall," said Garino.

The mayor said he wants to work with everyone involved so everyone's happy.

The artists tell News 4 Tucson, they were told they have an April 30 deadline to decide what they'll do with the mural, otherwise the owner of the wall could be served a summons for violating a littering ordinance.

The artists add, they think they can work things out with the city if they clean up the dried up paint on the adjacent sidewalk.

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