352walls/The Gainesville Urban Art Initiative is part of an international urban art movement that brings a colourful transformation to downtown Gainesville, Florida. The initiative is founded and curated by Iryna Kanishcheva, and coordinated by The City of Gainesville and Visit Gainesville.
Starting in November 2015, street artists from around the world, and local to Gainesville, have been invited to paint large-scale murals in and around downtown Gainesville.
The Gainesville Urban Art Initiative, Florida – Part 1 covered murals by artists: Gaia from Baltimore, Maryland, 2Alas duo from Cuba and Puerto Rico, Elian from Argentina, Interesni Kaski duo from Ukraine, Add Fuel from Portugal and 2501 from Italy.
Part 2 carries on with the event and sees the talent from Pastel from Argentina, Franco Fasoli JAZ from Argentina, Evoca1 from the Dominican Republic, L.E.O. from Miami and ten local artists.
Pastel mural for 352walls is titled ‘Main Pollution’. Pastel paints beautiful flowers with a graffiti technique. He likes to visit the surrounding area and paint the flowers he finds. Pastel previous studies in architecture compels him to connect his artwork with the people of the city and the building he paints. The mural for 352walls covers 2 floors.
“My concept behind working in the street is what I call urban acupuncture, it is like making small interactions with the city that can improve the place, to make it better. Because there are a lot of cities with no identity, or aren’t designed for the people who live there. So working in the streets, working with murals, working with identity, with the city and local people is the way to make a relationship between this city and a wall” Pastel
The mural in Gainesville by Franco Fasoli Jaz, is the third step in the deconstruction of another mural he painted in Argentina 2 years ago. Jaz likes his murals to travel, a unique ‘collage-based’ concept explained below…
” I make the first mural, then I make a collage and then a mural of the collage, it is like travel of the mural” Jaz
L.E.O. paints a tribute titled ‘Lil Richard’. The painting is part of a series about the inner city of “Overtown” a place where L.E.O was born and raised. The specific painting is of Richard Hallman a 16-year-old kid from Overtown. Richard was shot in March 2015 on the same day Marlon Eason a 10-year-old kid was killed. His mural is a tribute to Richard and a reminder to all about gun violence.
“The reason I chose to paint Richard in Gainesville is because His older cousin Treon Harris and dear friend Antonio Callaway are football players for the University of Florida which is in Gainesville. For some of the home games the family would visit Gainesville to watch Treon and Antonio play. Richard played football for Overtown Tornadoes (was known as Rattlers) his whole life along with his cousins and friends who are all playing for the Booker T. Washington and is on their way to the State championship Ricard would have been on that team this up coming season.” L.E.O
Evoca1 is working on a series of pieces called “Through The Perils Of Our Youth.” The piece illustrates getting through childhood and letting go of past experiences. Evoca1 said his work is a like a metaphor of what goes on in everyday life events. The mural he paints for Gainesville is called ‘Juvenile Souvenirs’
“There’s no use in hiding, no reason to hold on. We must learn to release the things that are detrimental to our growth and prevent us from moving on.” Evoca1
10 Local artists also contributed to painting Gainesville and were invited to collaborate on the huge community mural. Each of them had an individual part. The artists were chosen based on experience and different styles of painting. Iryna Kanishcheva (352walls curator) selected artists who both had and hadn’t previously worked with murals. Iryna wanted to give these artists a chance to showcase their talents, as they may not otherwise have the chance in this capacity. Among Gainesville based artists: Blake Harrison, Tiara Henderson, Jefreid Lotti, Carrie Wacher-Martinez and Jesus Martinez, Turbado Marabou, Rachel Sommer, Luis Justo Rodriguez and Point108, Evan Galbicka and Senta Achee, Clea Lauriault and Jenna Horner.
For more news and interviews with artists about the 352walls check out GNV Urban art
Photos courtesy of Iryna Kanishcheva, Founder and Curator of 352walls