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.
International urban artists include Pastel from Argentina, Franco Fasoli JAZ from Argentina,
Alexis Diaz from Puerto Rico, Axel Void from Spain, L.E.O. from Miami, Evoca1 from the Dominican Republic, 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.
The first of 352walls was produced by internationally renowned Italian artist 2501. Lately 2501 is painting on architectonic surfaces to try a build an alchemy between what is happening around the world. The mural for 352walls is an animation. The shapes he paints can either be related to the natural form, the moon or even to technical form, a camera. his murals aim to trigger the viewer’s imagination.
Gaia’s powerful historic mural for 352walls entitled ‘What are the aesthetics of Reinvestment’ concentrates on downtown Gainesville, focusing on new urbanism and gentrification. The piece begins with a portrait of activist and urban journalist Jane Jacobs next to the historic immigration house, now the Lower East side Tenement Museum. It continues with an image of the newly constructed University of Florida, paired with a church from Porters, a historically black neighbourhood on the south side of downtown. Finally the piece is concluded with an old photo of Union Academy, the second accredited all African-American high school in Florida, and the school’s founder A Quinn Jones. Lastly there is a person on their laptop drinking coffee in the corner.
2Alas paints another wall painting faces amongst the black strokes, complimented with red.
Interesni Kazki duo, WAONE and AEC collab can be explained in 2 parts, Waone part is called ‘Irretrievable time is flying’ and is dedicated to the University of Florida located in Gainesville. The starred black cube of Sapientiale, representing wisdom and knowledge, opens up to a monkey getting smarter. The Black Cube is also a representation of Saturn/Cronus, the God of time and Karma. Which encourages us to look at the clock, and is also in control of cultural achievement, affects the development of science and technology. AEC part is called ‘Intuition or Sixth sense of Pedro ‘. It represents taste, hearing, sight, touch, smell and a flying eye is the 6th sense – intuition.
Portuguese artist Add Fuel painted a series of seven electrical boxes throughout downtown Gainesville. All of these interventions are part of the ‘Electrical Animal’ series. They are based on the ongoing reinterpretations of traditional Portuguese tiles but with his added twist of Florida’s fauna. Each painting is a small homage to one of the many animals found in the Sunshine State, such as the mockingbird, horse conch, sea turtle, armadillo, atlantic sailfish, manatee and the alligator.
Elian’s wall is painted on a second-hand shop that raises money for a hospice, in the city of Gainesville. His mural consists of five panels and is based on ‘the disappearance of life’. Each panel painted fades away into white, as you walk past, and eventually leads you to a tree, which he incorporates with his mural as a metaphor for life, referring to lives cycle.
“The hospice is not a bakery or paint shop its some special space it’s not easy to come up with ideas there. I tried to be super respectful with that space. Also the sign is super organic, everything was made by hand … The geometric shapes are organically made and they are not perfect which gives more reference to life.” Elian
Check back later for more street art updates from Gainesville in our Part 2 coverage (coming soon).
Photos courtesy of Iryna Kanishcheva, Founder and Curator of 352walls