Tucson Oddity: 8 'whimsical' lizards made to elicit a smile

Public art project on Pima St. near Craycroft went up nine years ago
2011-02-07T00:00:00Z Tucson Oddity: 8 'whimsical' lizards made to elicit a smileDoug Kreutz Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
February 07, 2011 12:00 am  • 

Walk or drive along the north side of East Pima Street, just west of North Craycroft Road, and here's what you're likely to see:

Lizards.

Lizards.

And more lizards.

We're not talking about living reptiles. These are fanciful lizards - at least eight of them, made of welded steel and perched on boulders in front of a row of shops and businesses.

Could they be:

• Escapees from a gift shop?

• Heavy metal graffiti?

• Part of an advertising blitz by the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum?

Artist Joe Tyler has a more plausible explanation.

"I made them as public art," Tyler said. "The art was part of a road-improvement project on Pima Street" about nine years ago.

Stroll the block and you might get the sense you're in a sort of street-side gallery.

Some of the lizards appear to be watching traffic on the street. Others look to be just lazing. One clings to the side of a rock near a bus stop.

"I just wanted something whimsical," said Tyler, who is based northwest of Phoenix. "I wanted something that would put a smile on people's faces when they walk or drive by."

Pedestrians might notice that Tyler also incorporated Southwestern images in the sidewalk near the lizards.

Contact reporter Doug Kreutz at dkreutz@azstarnet.com or at 573-4192.

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