A giant orchid with insect-like characteristics, intermingling with the center of the stenciled word “monOrchid” now covers the west wall of the MonOrchid Gallery on Roosevelt and Second streets as part of an ongoing mural project.
The artist, Isaac Caruso, 23, is completing MonOrchid’s mural on a wall-to-wall basis and plans on finishing the whole building by the middle of April.
The east wall of the gallery mural is still a work in process. Along with the west wall, Caruso wanted to work off the existing mural of flying birds on the street front of MonOrchid by incorporating a similar style.
The far left side of the gallery wall starts with more toned down, dark colors, with the exception of a giant bee. The darker side of the mural features an old gramophone. The right side of the mural moves toward a more colorful scheme with moths flying to gather toward the street light on the corner of the gallery.
The giant orchid was inspired by the one in the film “Adaptation.”
Caruso spent First Friday completing the west wall of the mural amidst the foot traffic and music of the art walk. Along with the mural, he has been working on another project, Skid Roo, which will debut at MonOrchid on May 4.
Skid Roo, a play on Skid Row, will be running for two months at the gallery. The show will feature portraits of local artists involved with the Roosevelt Row art scene.
“Skid Roo is about artists, musicians and shop owners that contribute to the Roosevelt district,” Caruso said.
The show would give audiences a chance to connect with the community of artists – to place a face with the name of an artist, Caruso said. He added it would also be a chance for him to personally connect with the community in an influential way.
“Skid Roo is another vehicle to explore and express the vibrancy of Roosevelt Row,” MonOrchid owner Wayne Rainey said.
The style of Caruso’s work is graphic mixed with contemporary art elements that are tied back to nature. He tries to bring aspects of art he appreciates into his own work. The color scheme on the mural is varied and bright. The forms he used for the orchid and moths had a lively nature.
Caruso has been involved with the Roosevelt arts community since he was 17-years-old, when he first painted at a gallery where FilmBar now is located.
“I like doing work in front of people and I love watching other people work,” Caruso said. “The process is sometimes more interesting than just seeing the final product.”
In May 2011, Caruso graduated from Northern Arizona University with a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts and in October he moved back to the Phoenix area and met Rainey.
“An inventive, creative young man came to me with a great idea. It’s always gratifying for the younger generation to come with new ideas,” Rainey said.
A broader collection of Caruso’s work will be featured in a solo show at The Lab, an art space and urban boutique on Roosevelt and Sixth streets, on April 6. Caruso will be displaying work he has done in the past year and will be making limited edition prints on shirts.
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