The Chalk Art and Murals of Puerto Vallarta 2018

Chalk art from the 2018 Madonnari Festival in Puerto Vallarta featuring a shaman and his spirit animal.

Half the fun of travel is coming upon the unexpected. Peggy and I were walking across Puerto Vallarta’s main square when we came across a number of people creating chalk art. We had happened upon the annual Madonnari Art Festival that the town shares with its sister city of Santa Barbara, California. Category competition ranged from children to adults. Here are a few of the highlights. 

This was the young woman who was working on the shaman featured above.
Young people were working under colorful umbrellas to finish their work.
Which included these colorful fish.
A pregnant woman provided quite a contrast.
Not sure you would want this guy around your baby!
I liked the colorful flowers this young woman wore.
A close up. Peggy and I visited the area a few days later to take more photos. Time was beginning to impact the chalk art, reflecting its impermanence.
Another artist worked on his masterpiece. I admired the young boy’s look of surprise or wonder..
A masked woman…
And finally, never trust a smiling shark.

Mural art shares a lot with chalk art, both in terms of its limited time frame and spontaneity. Peggy and I revisited a number of the murals we had seen in past visits to Puerto Vallarta plus discovered some new ones. 

This was an old favorite…
I decided it would be fun to render the mural in black and white. I liked the results. I believe the symbolism represents Huichol art, which I will be doing a post on.
Nice kitty!
Realistic cow and moth.
Rather scary shaman/animal.
An interesting decoration for a woman’s restroom. Just how bad do you have to go to face up to a devil fish and devils?
A closer look.
Senior Iguana plays a banjo while an excited frog jumps out of the lake.
We found a couple of black and white murals.
This one reminded me of the popular books where you fill in the colors.
This was part of the same mural.
Shaman woman rising out of a lake, possibly working a little magic on you.
A woman/shaman with a coyote mask?
I’ll conclude today with this native woman who is holding a fawn.

NEXT POST:  I head south on the PCT from Carson Pass, which is named after the explorer Kit Carson, who happened to be caught in a snow storm starving on his first trip across the pass. He reported that dog and dried peas made a tasty treat. I don’t know if I would trust the word of a starving man, however.

Puerto Vallarta Walkabout…

Husband day care center in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. Photo by Curtis Mekemson.

You never know what you might find when wandering around a city. I was particularly impressed that this obvious tourist venue didn’t push timeshares. (And no, Peggy didn’t drop me off.)

Australia’s aborigines have it right. Going on a walkabout is good for the soul. (If this subject interests you, I highly recommend Bruce Chatwin’s Songlines.)

I am also one hundred percent convinced that a walkabout is the best way to see a city. Nothing– not cars, taxis, trains, busses or even bicycles, can match walking.  Everything else is too fast. “Wow,” you think, “that’s great…” and it’s gone.

But if you are walking you can stop and savor, you can admire, touch, smell, and even listen to a city. So Peggy and I walk… whether we are wandering the streets of Rome, New York City, or Puerto Vallarta. Following are some of the sights we saw along the way on our recent visit to PV.

This resident checked us out. Apparently we didn't pass muster. he immediately started barking. I could still here him two blocks away.

This resident dog checked us out. Apparently we didn’t pass muster. He immediately started barking. I could still hear him two blocks away.

Art on the Malecon of Puerto Vallarta. Photo by Curtis Mekemson.

These dogs, created by an artist on the Malecon, were more colorful, and quieter. I also liked the red bird, but who knows what it was up to. Picking off fleas???

The flying cow of Puerto Vallarta. Photo by Curtis Mekemson.

Also under the category of strange was this flying cow.

As were these two cuties.

As were these two cuties. Day of the Dead skeletons are common throughout Mexico. BTW, I swear I did not position my camera to catch the railing circles in such prime locations. I only discovered this fortuitous positioning when I went to post the photo.

The bird men of Puerto Vallarta. Photo by Curtis Mekemson.

Then there are the Bird Men of Puerto Vallarta who climb up a hundred foot pole… (Photo by Peggy Mekemson.)

Bird men of Puerto Vallarta. Photo by Curtis Mekemson.

And tie themselves to ropes. The man in the center plays a flute and beats on a drum. (Photo by Peggy Mekemson.)

And then fall off backwards, twirling around the pole in ever larger circles until they reach the ground, or their rope runs out. (just kidding.) The people who perform this aerial feat every hour or so indigenous performers demonstrating an ancient cultural tradition of the Totonac tribe. (Photo by Peggy Mekemson.)

They then fall off backwards, twirling around the pole in ever larger circles until they reach the ground, or run out of rope. (Just kidding on the rope running out.) The people who perform this aerial feat are indigenous performers demonstrating an ancient cultural tradition of the Totonac tribe. (Photo by Peggy Mekemson.)

Puerto Vallarta home. Photo by Curtis Mekemson.

One thing we always check out is architecture. Peggy and I both like the adobe and tile look of Mexico and the Southwest of the US. It seems that Puerto Vallartans like to add something extra on top of their homes, like the small room. Another thing: note the shoes hanging off the power line in the upper left hand corner, undoubtably thrown there by  a teenager. Is this behavior worldwide?

Another 'topper' we found. (Photo by Peggy Mekemson)

Another ‘topper’ we found. (Photo by Peggy Mekemson)

Speaking of power lines, it is almost impossible to take a photo in Puerto Vallarta without them. They run willy-nilly everywhere.

Speaking of power lines, it is almost impossible to take a photo in Puerto Vallarta without them. They run willy-nilly everywhere.

Burton and Taylor homes in Puerto Vallarta. Photo by Curtis Mekemson.

If I remember my geography right, these two houses were where Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor hung out during the filming of the Night of the Iguana.

Tourist shop in Puerto Vallarta. Photo by Curtis Mekemson.

While there are expensive, high-end shops in Puerto Vallarta, the majority are open-air tourist meccas like this one. It seems like there are hundreds of them. The young woman on her cellphone would normally be outside soliciting people to come in and look around.

Puerto Vallarta craftsperson. Photo by Curtis Mekemson.

Crafts people and artists are common along the Malecon. This young man featured purses and jewelry made from beer and soda can pop tops.

Street vendor selling food in Puerto Vallarta. Photo by Curtis Mekemson.

Street vendors selling food are also common.

I already took you on a tour of Puerto Vallarta's fantastic sculptures. Murals are also common in the city. (Photo by Peggy Mekemson.)

I already took you on a tour of Puerto Vallarta’s fantastic sculptures. Murals are also common in the city. (Photo by Peggy Mekemson.)

Puerto Vallarta mural. Photo by Curtis Mekemson.

A close up showing children in a ring dance. Ring around Rosita?

Puerto Vallarta mural featuring indigenous person. Photo by Curtis Mekemson.

While most Puerto Vallarta murals feature ceramics, I found this painting of an indigenous person quite impressive.

The artist's Cafe also featured an impressive mural. (Photo by Peggy Mekemson.)

The Artist’s Cafe also featured an impressive mural. (Photo by Peggy Mekemson.)

Artist's Cafe mural in Puerto Vallarta. Photo by Curtis Mekemson.

A close up of the mural on Artist’s Cafe.

Puerto Vallarta mural featuring iguana. Photo by Curtis Mekemson.

One mural incorporated a pair of iguanas including this handsome fellow.

My favorite mural, and in fact my favorite art piece was a 196 by 9 feet mural designed by

My favorite mural, and in fact my favorite art piece in Puerto Vallarta, is a 196 by 9 feet mural designed by Natasha Moraga. I understand it is under threat of removal by the government. Why, I don’t know, but it would be tragic.

Made with tile and glass, the mural uses mirrors to reflect the street scene behind it, an effort that adds both beauty and interest.

Made with tile and glass, the mural uses mirrors to reflect the street scene behind it, an effort that adds both beauty and interest.

Wall mural by Natasha Moraga in Puerto Vallarta. Photo by Curtis Mekemson.

Numerous patterns and scenes are incorporated into the mural. This was one of my favorites.

Puerto Vallarta wall mural. Photo by Curtis Mekemson.

Major contributors are honored with their own tiles. This one was amusing. It appears Luis Rita has a house full of dogs.

Most murals we found in Puerto Vallarta feature a rendition of the town's primary landmark,

Most murals we found in Puerto Vallarta feature a rendition of the town’s primary landmark, the Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe, which I will feature in my next blog.

Puerto Vallarta's swinging bridge. Photo by Curtis Mekemson.

I’ll use this photo of Peggy crossing a swinging bridge as my last photo of our Puerto Vallarta walkabout. And believe me, the bridge does swing.

NEXT BLOG: Puerto Vallarta’s beautiful Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe.