Remembering FranCisco Vargas

Posted by Kim Leonard


Image from The Business Journal

The Fresno art community is aching from the loss of muralist FranCisco Vargas. Downtown Fresno Partnership was fortunate enough to have worked with FranCisco on the beautiful Fresno postage stamp mural that graces the side of The Business Journal at Tuolumne and Van Ness.


As we watched the mural come together, we were in awe at the precision, the depth, and the immense talent that went into accomplishing something so huge and detailed. We loved that it was such a point of pride for him that this was the largest painted postage stamp mural in the US, and he put so much of himself into creating it.


(And he actually put himself into it, in paint, in the upper left-hand corner of the O.)


In addition to the already iconic postage stamp mural, he also was behind the “Welcome to Fresno” mural at 746 Broadway, and most recently the work-in-progress at Bitwise South Stadium. Then there’s the Dragonfly Blues Lounge mural, from the Creative Fresno Mural Project at Iron Bird Lofts. He also painted the murals at other Granville Urban sites, including the butterflies at 1612 and this stunning mural, designed by A.S. Angelo, on Brio! on Broadway as well as many others around the valley and the United States.

That’s another thing about FranCisco- he was always working with someone, in some way. The postage stamp features the work of several artists that he brought into the project. He was a member of the Walldogs, a group of highly skilled muralists who paint murals- sometimes in as little as 3-4 days. If you visit their Facebook page, they’re sharing photos and memories of Cisco, and they’re just beautiful. You can see just how many communities he touched as a Walldog with this work.

Whether you knew him well, or you’re just now learning about him for the first time, take some time this week to visit his murals. Stop, take them in, and remember the man who brought color, life, history, and local pride to so many of our buildings in downtown Fresno.

FranCisco Vargas, we are so going to miss seeing you up there on your lift making Fresno a more beautiful place, one wall at a time.


Do you have a story or memory you’d like to share? Please leave it in the comments.


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