Vinny Alejandro paints murals that bespeak an appreciative vision of the world in which he lives. For a local fitness center, he spread a glorious sunset behind the shadowy skylines of Buffalo and far-off Niagara. At Derrick Industries, he imagined a typical American Main Street as it used to be, full of bright signage, busy small businesses and cars with tailfins. On the outer wall of AmVets, a veteran’s organization, he pictured a proud, orderly scene of military vehicles on land, air and sea. These compositions are simple and straightforward, clear about what they promote as valuable: nature, industry, hard work, democracy. But it’s the dilapidated shed that Alejandro painted behind his house in the regenerating Old First Ward that reveals the tension underlying so much of what orders his murals: covered with a sunshine background and a giant purple orchid, the shed remains in such poor condition it’s practically unusable. A coat of paint isn’t enough, it isn’t, though it’s something.
—Lori Waxman 11/11/16 11:51 AM