Noé Barnett’s mural in progress at the corner of Second Street and Coal Avenue earns a moment of distraction every cycle of the traffic light. Coming out of Downtown on Coal, it is the last intersection you reach before everyone floors it onto the bridge that goes over the train tracks. Since the speed limit was lowered, there has been a palatable frustration in Downtown drivers manifesting in more honking than your average block in Brooklyn. Barnett painting his mural can’t help that. He says that people stop at the light and just stare, oblivious to the changing light. That is, until somebody at the back of the line starts honking.
Barnett’s mural, when completed, will be black, white and yellow; truly representative of the team colors. According to Barnett, there are 550 black and white photographs that make the underlayment of the mural. Atop that will be a painting taken from a photograph of the team members after their first goal ever. Those following the work of the team of photographers that have covered New Mexico United this year will recognize their exquisite work. It is modern sports photography at its best, capturing not only the excitement of the game, but the enthusiasm of the crowd. There are familiar faces within the photographs as well; elected officials, minor celebrities and other locals among them. This mural will be a time capsule of New Mexico United’s first year for the team as well as our state, provided the city doesn’t just paint over it like they did with one of Barnett’s other murals earlier this year.
Some cities don’t do their art in the streets. In Albuquerque, we block ours off to film movies. We ride slow and low through our streets to show what can be done with a car. Our art making process is open to the streets and to the sun. Let it be known that everyone can wait or go around when they come up on some art being made on the streets of Albuquerque. The most recent, a soon-to-completed mural on the corner of Second Street and Coal Avenue, represents a slice of Albuquerque in 2019. Let the honking commence!