In what can only be described as a “swift kick to the nadular region,” downtown has lost an epic mural by a renowned street artist.
The “Horned Toad” by artist Roa was recently painted over, destroying one of the few good pieces of public art in Las Vegas.
We were there as the mural was being painted, back in October 2014.
The mostly monochromatic “Horned Toad” mural would eventually include red blood squirting from the creature’s eyes. The technical term is “ocular autohemorrhaging.”
Our photo above is pre-squirt. Reminder, that can still get you pregnant!
The mural was painted over so recently, it remains in all its glory in Google Street View, so there’s that.
Here’s what a horned toad looks like in action.
Horned toads are sometimes called “horny toads,” which is sort of on-brand for Las Vegas. They’re actually lizards, not toads.
The mural was located at 598 Stewart Avenue, and was originally created for the Life is Beautiful music festival.
Here’s how the building looks now.
Here’s what it looks like now.. Hoping they put another mural up, the building looks so bland without the lizard. pic.twitter.com/von8Uuif3w
— Nick Gabler (@Swappiness0) November 14, 2023
Whoever was in charge of the decision to paint over this amazing mural should be forced to gargle with horned lizard blood.
We would investigate who owns this building, but that would involve both “effort” and “knowing how to do that.” So, you know that’s not happening.
If you zoom in on the Google image, you can see the El Cortez logo on the lower left side. The mural was on a building about a block away from El Cortez. Awkward, because we love El Cortez. Business is business, and as we always say, “Don’t get attached to anything.” Do as we say, not as we do, because we’re bummed.
Our guess is the property is being prepared for sale.
There are still a fair number of Life is Beautiful-inspired murals downtown, the quality varies a lot.
The artist behind the former “Horned Toad,” Roa, is from Belgium. It’s possible the artist doesn’t know his work has been covered up. Somebody update his Wikipedia page, as we don’t have the heart to do it. We trust artists who choose to do street art are used to seeing their work destroyed, either by the elements or progress. Here’s more about Roa.
Las Vegas has so much crappy public art (much of it subsidized by taxpayers), so it’s painful when quality art is lost for whatever reason.
The demise of the “Horned Toad” in downtown Las Vegas is a reminder not to take anything for granted, and also to take photos and video of everything. You never know when your favorite things might go away, and that’s a bloody shame.