By Morgan James

If you haven’t seen the incredible Star Wars mural behind the Coachella Shopping Center on Harrison and 50th, it is definitely a must! The massive mural features several Star Wars characters in vivid colors over an electric black background. While the city commissions artists from out of town to paint murals, local artists are yearning to be recognized and hoping that this Star Wars mural will help in their endeavor. Seven different local artists completed the project together at the suggestion and organization from talented, yet extremely humble artist “Made,” who is currently the Art Organizer for Synergy Festival, which is sponsored by Culturas Music & Arts and will take place on Saturday, November 19th.

I met with Made and spoke with him about the idea for the mural, how the finished project has impacted the community, and why he feels that local artists deserve an opportunity to create art for their own city.

MJ: How did the opportunity for this mural come about?


MADE: “The mural offer came along when I was doing a commissioned wall at the Coachella Shopping Center, which was the underwater seascape inside of the laundromat- Irma’s Lavanderia. The owner of the property asked me how I would get rid of the gang affiliated graffiti located on the back of the property. So I said with huge murals and he agreed. I was looking for a wall that size so it was a perfect opportunity.”

MJ: How do you see the mural impacted the community?

MADE: “Even though we are a small community we have something to talk about on the local art scene to whoever comes and visits the Coachella Valley. Maybe the mural will even become a tourist attraction for the Star Wars lovers and art critics.”

MJ: Who was involved in carrying out this project?

MADE: “The artists who helped to realize this project are crew members/family (Catching Eyes Krew) as well as artists from the graffiti background (Ink Heads Crew). Both groups are natives from the Coachella Valley and the reason why we worked together is because I believe in their potential to create or do a big scale mural without worrying about the final result.”

MJ: Has the positive experience of creating this mural changed the way that the community leaders feel about bringing in non-local artists? Do you think they will commission local artists now for future jobs?

MADE: “I really hope it will, but probably not in a near future. Community leaders need to get involved into the local art scene and not just write checks to people from out of town, giving out the space that we as locals have all been waiting for. We respect those amazing artists but when will they respect us if our community leaders do not give us the opportunity to show our talents? This mural is an example of the quality of our work, funded ourselves, on a private property, so our leaders realize what this valley’s artists have to offer.”

MJ: Tell me why this mural, which showcases local artists’ work, is so important to aspiring artists here in the valley?

MADE: “Inspiration is everywhere. We would like to inspire unity between artists and the community to create bigger projects, open more doors to locals, and add color to our arid desert. There is a lot of local talent but not many chances (to showcase that talent) are given. My advice to aspiring artists is if you have a goal or dream in life do not let anything stop you. Keep working until you achieve it and always be the best at it.”

MJ: What similar projects are in the works?

MADE: “We have been working on the other side of the Star Wars mural hoping to get financial support from local businesses, the community and city councils. We would like to work across the valley on new projects, but now it’s only been commissioned work with different companies, schools, and local churches.”

(Photos credited to Octubre B Photography)