Aerosol artist honors Phoenix history

Posted at 3:31 PM, May 30, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-30 20:15:55-04

“Roosevelt Row” is known for its arts community right in the heart of Phoenix and it’s that history that so many don’t want to lose through growth and urban development.

One property, which is set to open this week, is trying to keep the spirit of the past alive.

From graffiti art to street art to tagging, no matter what you call it, it makes a statement. 

The style of the colorful shapes and oversized fonts is from the streets, but it is vandalism no more.

“I just love the modern hip style of the whole building and I think that the street art adds a lot of character.”

Claudia Gerster and the minds behind Proxy 333 in the Roosevelt Arts District walked a fine line to bring modern conveniences to urban living without wiping out what gave this neighborhood its niche feel in the first place: The graffiti.

There's an urban feel, for sure, and they've got that modern industrial chic but not everything is new. What you might not know is that inside they tried to keep something preserved  because they didn't just want to erase the past. The mural at a flower shop made at the corner of 4th and McKinley streets is a well-known spot. But now it’s gone. That’s where artist Such Styles comes in.

“He is considered a master street artist,” Claudia told me.

Such and his son Champ Styles work an aerosol can like other artists work a brush on a canvas. Such told me that street art has come a long way and he believes that one day graffiti will get a green light, not just in building projects but in schools, too.

“You will study street art you will wrap your hand around an aerosol can and you will be given instruction on how to do that," he said. "It's a vehicle of expression and communication.”

Communication that was once illegal that has now come of age, keeping this space connected to the past.

“It's like the prodigal son of art," he said. "It has arrived.”