Spray paint in the downtown Modesto air as graffiti artists battle in Mural Festival

The battle is on in downtown Modesto.

Seven artists from around the globe are waging graffiti art war in the Fasm Creative Battle, which began early Friday morning on an alley wall outside the Chartreuse Muse Gallery and will continue through Saturday during a day-long mural festival along adjacent Tenth Street.

By midday Friday, passersby could see the creative direction on some of the seven equally divided spaces along the 130-foot wall. Many among the downtown lunch crowd stopped to watch the artists in action, most of the onlookers snapping photos with their phones.

Pete Teresi stood in the shade of the building next door and watched for a long time as the artists worked. Teresi, who said he’s lived 60 years in Modesto, said he was downtown specifically to see the murals being painted and wished he’d brought his camera. “I’m going to go home and get it.”

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Artist Camer1 paints a mural during the Fasm Creative Battle in Modesto, Calif., on Friday, September 7, 2018. Andy Alfaro

“It’s going to be great, I’m sure,” Teresi said of the murals. “They really are artists, aren’t they? I think it’s great.”

Teresi represented the diversity — young, old, multicultural — of those stopping to take in the art-in-progress, something Modesto artist Fasm, the event organizer, was pleased to see. He also was pleased with what was happening on the large expanse.

“I’m super excited,” Fasm said. “I can’t wait to see the results.”

Those results will be completed sometime Saturday, with final prize money — $3,000 for first place, $700 for second and $300 for third — allotted by five Modesto-area judges, who will announce the winners around 6 p.m.

Tenth Street will close from I to J streets for Saturday’s Mural Festival, which runs 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The artists will continue their works, and there will be more live graffiti art exhibits, music by local band Sol Riddim, break dancers, vendors, food trucks, DJs, games for kids and a beer garden. Admission is free, and everything will be family friendly, according to Fasm.

While the artists work on Friday evening, the Downtown Modesto Partnership’s First Friday and Music in the Plaza series will close Tenth Street from I Street through Tenth Street Plaza, when even more people will get a chance to see the artists in action.

Lori Denego, a Turlocker who works in downtown Modesto, was among those who stopped Friday during her break to watch the artists. “I think it’s very vibrant,” she said. “And it reflects a lot of the community, so I think it’s great.”