How can a mural be secret? Isn’t public viewing part of the very essence of a mural?
I like to think I know a lot about the various murals painted around Dallas. I see a lot of them when I ride around on my bicycle (there is no better way to see a city), I take photos of them, and put them on my blog. Sometimes I feel that it’s cheating – a cheap way to get an entry up – but if you decide to post something every day, it’s necessary to find something to post when you are too tired, busy, or beat down to work on something more substantial or entertaining.
Richard, a friend of mine, spoke of a “secret mural” he knew about that I didn’t. I wondered if he was right; if there was a mural that I had never seen. I knew the general area that he was referring to – and it was a swath of space I had traversed many times. I thought that I had covered all wall paintings in that stretch – but I know how wrong I usually am.
My friend organized a ride, sort of a sequel to the Stop and Photograph The Roses ride I helped out with a while back. I had originally had his stops on my ride, but had to cut them out. I have learned that organized rides, especially ones with planned stops, can get too long very easily. I felt bad about cutting these out and was looking forward to his ride.
He promised we would stop at the “secret mural” on the way back.
Unfortunately, it was a bit of a scorcher of a day and I became overheated and dehydrated. I bailed and took the train home. I know that feeling and knew it was time to give up before something bad happened. But I missed the secret mural – which the rest of the group visited.
He put a photo of the mural on his facebook and… he was right, I had never seen this one and had no idea where it was.
But he also put some photos of other riders at the mural site up on facebook, and I began to look at them closely. I identified the Bank of America Plaza tower (the tallest building in Dallas) in the background, and by its orientation was able to determine that the secret mural was on a forty five degree angle from the tower.
That still left a lot of country to cover. However, looking at the shots more closely, I noticed a giant Texas flag that I recognized in the photo. By taking the angle of this flag and triangulating it with the skyscraper I was able to pinpoint the location. Then by using Google Maps Street View and a distinctive pattern of windows on a building down the street…. in five minutes I had it.
I was surprised because this is a road that I have ridden many times and never noticed the mural off to the side, behind a liquor store.
So today I rode down to get some shots to prove I was there. It’s not the nicest of places, so I took my photographs quickly. As I was packing up a homeless alcoholic-looking man said, “Hey, I saw you clear across town.”
“Where was that?”
“Over on Lamar, by the beer store,” he said. He was right, I had been there earlier to look at another mural I had spotted from a train.
“Lamar isn’t across town,” I said, “I came all the way from Richardson.”
“On that thing?” the man said.