Copyright © 2021 Albuquerque Journal
Each time Sebastian Velazquez returns to Santa Fe, he’s able to knock a few murals out.
The California-based muralist, known simply as VELA, is back home over the holidays, visiting family – and, yes, working on a mural.
The mural is at 1934 Cerrillos Road, where Beck & Bulow, a local meat company, will open its butcher shop later this year.
The mural, currently in progress, is projected to be completed by mid-January.
Velazquez says the intention of the mural reflects the mission of Beck & Bulow, which is to provide wild and ethically sourced meat that is “good for the Earth, good for the animals and great for you.”
Velazquez says Beck & Bulow reached out to him for the mural.
“What’s special about this project is it’s in the neighborhood that I grew up in,” he says. “It’s a wall that I’ve always wanted to get my hands on. The building used to be Rosa’s Salon; I’ve always wanted to rock a mural on it. I was so shocked that they are making it their new storefront.”
Velazquez has been working on the mural every day.
He teamed up with the owners on the design.
“It’s something very different,” he says. “It’s public art and it’s very traditional. There’s movement in the piece and there’s so much color in the contemporary work. I wanted to tie it all in.”
Velazquez decided to start on the north side of the building first.
“I’m kind of freezing in the shadow on the side,” he says with a laugh. “The north side is very cool and has cooler colors. The south wall is going to be the one that gets the most sun. It will have vibrant yellow, gold and orange.”
The mural at Beck & Bulow will add to the number of Velazquez’s previous work around Santa Fe.
He has painted thousands of murals across the country and a few in overseas locations. His local murals can be seen at Harley-Davidson, Natural Grocers, Sage Inn, Coyote Cafe, the Santa Fe School of Cooking, and more.
Though he’s now based in Huntington Beach, California, Velazquez never turns down an opportunity to come back to Santa Fe.
“New Mexico really is the Land of Enchantment. It’s just a very special state,” he says. “Being in a big city, it’s hard to find nature. We’re so spoiled in New Mexico and we don’t partake in what it offers. Within minutes, you are transported to a new world. It’s special to come back.”