by FranCisco Vargas
When you walk thru the city of concrete and steel
Never turn your back to the snakes,
For you know their will.
They are slick and they are sly!
They will take your life
Without a blink of their eye!
Trust not whom you talk,
Beware of the ones, where you walk.
Within the heavy crowd in the yard is a rumble,
A shot is fired! A man has stumbled
But his fall was not from the bullet,
This man was stuck!
And he is out of luck,
Cause in this prison yard of madness.
There is no time for sadness.
For behind these bloody walls,
No one will come to his calls…A
In 1974, FranCisco “Cisco” Vargas spent time in a place he named, through poetry, The City of No Pity — San Quentin State Prison. The experience, he said, helped him turn his life around.
After getting out, he worked his way through the art world by specializing and painting large-scale murals on smooth or heavily textured walls. He drew upon his California Chicano-Latino heritage by combining vivid colors with classic lettering and picture imagery.
In 2014, Vargas designed and painted a mural in downtown Fresno. The mural is located on the Fresno Business Journal building, and measures 125 feet long by 33 feet high. It became known as the largest painted mural stamp in the United States.
“It was a huge challenge but one of the most rewarding,” Vargas said in an interview. With the majority of the work done alone, the mural took Vargas five and a half months.