Texas Muralist Seeks Wall to Repaint Beloved “Don’t Be Self Conchas” Mural
If you’ve driven across El Paso you have noticed the amazing and creative murals and street art that are painted on walls of buildings throughout the city.
Some of the most popular and beloved mural pieces are the Mylar Balloon pieces that artist Tino Ortega created as a tribute to the victims of the Walmart Shooting victims. Tino’s work is well known in El Paso and even out of the city.
One of his most beloved pieces of street art was the "Don't Be Self Conchas" mural which sat outside of a local boutique, “Desert Mama.” However, if you’ve driven past the business you may have noticed that the vibrant mural is no longer there.
Many locals and even people from out of town would stop by the mural to snap a selfie in front of the colorful mural that served not only as a tribute to the Hispanic culture and its love for Conchas, but it also had a meaningful message behind it: Love yourself and take care of your mental health.
Back in 2021, Candace Gallarzo, owner of Desert Mama, spoke with a local media outlet and explained the importance of having that mural painted in front of her small business.
“I lost my sister two years ago to mental health and I wanted something light hearted for the community of El Paso,” said Candace.
The mural’s message is simple: “Don’t be self-conscience" or ‘Don’t be self conchas.”
What Happened To The Concha Mural:
I was scrolling through my Instagram stories back in March and I was shocked to read a post shared by Tino that said the beloved “Concha Mural” was going to be painted over.
I replied to Tino and asked why the mural had to be painted over and he replied, “New tenants.”
I reached out to Candace to get a few more details and she confirmed that the concha mural had already been painted over and the reason was, in fact, new tenants.
“I was leasing out a corner space on Montana but unfortunately, business was not going as well as we would have liked. My family and I made the difficult decision to close up our physical location, leaving behind the mural. We hoped that the mural would remain untouched since it has a couple of personal meanings behind it for myself and for Tino.”
When I stopped by the new business it was closed so unfortunately I wasn’t able to speak with anyone about the mural. However, the new tenants are in fact allowed to do what they want with the space they are paying for so before anyone thinks of bashing them, lets not.
Is There A Chance to Repaint The Concha Mural?
The answer to that question is, yes, but it would require the help of local business owners.
I asked both Tino and Candace if they would consider having the mural painted at another location and they both instantly replied, YES!
“I would absolutely love to have this piece redone. It means so much to my family and to the community of El Paso,” said Candace.
The only issue would be finding a new wall where the mural could be repainted.
“Tino and I spoke about finding a new wall for it when I told him the new occupants might paint over it,” said Candace. “I have an idea of where I’d like to see it placed, actually!
This is not an AD, It’s a gentle plea:
So, why should a local business consider having this mural painted on their wall? I mean, where do I start?
- Increase Foot Traffic & Business: People head to your business, snap a selfie and maybe stop by your business afterwards and do some shopping!
- Social Media Gold: When people snap those selfies and tag the location they will be tagging your business! Can you say, free advertisement!?
- El Paso Strong: The series of 3D balloon murals serve as a tribute to the August 3rd Walmart shooting victims so you would have a little piece of El Paso strong history just outside of your business for the rest of the world to see.
- Most Importantly: You’re helping keep a positive message alive. There may be someone who is having a rough day and they randomly see this mural and their day is instantly turned around and it’s all because you gave the concha mural a second chance at life!
I never had the chance to visit the mural in person and after speaking with Candace and learning more about the message behind the mural, I’m sad that I never got to experience that meaningful mural in person.
However, I am hopeful that Candace and Tino will find a new wall to repaint the iconic mural and keep its message alive.
"This mural meant so much to me and my family, it was really hard to see it go. I know a lot of other people really appreciate it too and that’s a feeling I can always hold onto. I’m thankful for people like you and Tino who are helping me in finding a new wall to continuing honoring my sister and sharing a message of love."