The whitewashed brick wall of FASTSIGNS on Encanto and Central will soon be transformed into a work of art. After his Phoenix hiatus, Isaac Nicholas Caruso, a 24-year-old Phoenix native, is back to working on something he’s passionate about. Caruso, who received his BFA in Visual Communication from Northern Arizona University, has been working on the new wall since last Friday and has already made significant progress.

The mural will have an image of a cardboard box on the upper right corner that releases large whales on the top of the wall. The graceful whales will frame the words “FIND YOUR DIRECTION,” with a compass making up the “o.” The meaning behind this, Caruso explains, is for downtown Phoenix to continue its direction in the art scene, bringing it up to midtown and North Phoenix.

“We have a lot of great artistic talent along Roosevelt and downtown, but it really needs to move North. Let’s make it a big painted city,” said Curso.

The building currently has a vacant lot on the side that is filled with weeds. Caruso’s mural is exactly what the 105-year-old building needs, said Scott Koehler, owner of FASTSIGNS. Koehler assisted in the mural’s logistics of scaling and sizing while Caruso did the design work. Scaling and sizing are an important part of the process since this will affect the mural’s visual impact on the traffic coming by, explained Koehler.

Koehler and Caruso met when Caruso came in to apply for a job a year and a half ago. Koehler was impressed by Caruso’s artistic skills that were beyond the capabilities of computer graphics.

“I appreciate his talent and what he does. He has a real drive to do some really neat things,” said Koehler.

Koehler emphasized that many artist struggle to make a living off their passion because they don’t have the drive or work ethic. The biggest difference between Caruso and other artists is that Caruso will seek out professional opportunities with rigor and use it to display his creativity and passion, Koehler said.

Caruso’s interest in art began at the age of 15, but reached a new level as he explored different outlets of art in college.

“I was doing murals in Flagstaff for fun with friends and it started turning into paid gigs. After that I pursued it, did it more and more and over time I developed my style,” said Caruso.

Caruso says that he continues to hone in on his style and the message that he wants to create behind it. He has a few more projects lined up in downtown Phoenix, before he moves out to Los Angeles to start another art chapter in his life.

Looking through a kaleidoscope, Yihyun



  1. I love the idea of Caruso’s mural! The box and the whales sounds very interesting and visual, I can’t wait to see the finished project. Your photos were great as well. I love the focus on the first photo and then the detail of the second one (you can see the paint splatter on his jeans). Also, I thought it was interesting that his piece was about the Phoenix art scene and I just wrote about that for my latest blog post (shameless self-promotion, I know). Well written, well reported, and well shot! Good job Yih!

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