Thunderbird, Agua Prieta

Agua Prieta was a nice, sleepy town with no beggars or tourists. People went about their business, some on foot and some in cars and trucks a couple of decades old. The buildings had a slightly shambling look to them, but they had all been lovingly painted in a riot of different colours. But it was a calm, good-natured riot, for none of the effects were garish; the neon corporate logos of Quintessential America were far more brash than this. There was an immediate sense that the Mexicans loved bright colours and were not afraid of splashing them around, but none of the cheap and cheerful buildings shouted at you. Perhaps it was because they were blasted and mellowed by the sun.

The art of signwriting was alive and well, and many of the signs used two colours together to create a 3D effect. Juarez Clocks & Jewelry proclaimed its presence with a blue and yellow sign on a clear green background, and parked in front of it was a 1950s two-door Thunderbird. The sign for the Don Neto Café was beautifully painted in yellow and white, while the unisex hair salon had chosen pink, black and red; the artist had also added a painting of young woman with a pouty smile and glam-rock coiffure. It was a treat to walk around a town where people enjoyed colours and lived on easy terms with them. I took pictures until I realised that the gringa in the skirt and stetson was getting curious looks from passers-by. I sensed no danger at all but I didn’t want to be rude and became more circumspect with my camera.

Copyright © Alice Starmore
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