In November, a new street art festival was launched in Jacksonville, Florida. With the mission to establish city’s urban core as a nationally-recognized Art District that will unify the community, elevate the creative spirit and raise the consciousness of the city through universal language of art, the following artists were invited: Case Maclaim, Reka, Phlegm, Kenor, Astro, Jason Woodside, INO, Guido van Helten, Borondo, René Romero Schuler, and Nico Holderbaum. Jacksonville is a hidden gem within the world of art, a city whose DNA is rich with art and culture but who has also dealt with division, suppression and lack of a strong identity. Art (Re)public aimed to bring some changes. Take a look below for images of the creative in(ter)vention!
All photographs by Iryna Kanishcheva who also acted as the urban art consultant of the project.
The project kicked off with the world-renowned muralist Case Maclaim, recognizable for his photo-realistic artwork. He arrived a month ahead of the other invited artists. After a city tour, Maclaim decided to incorporate inspiration from local businesses, including Chamblin’s Uptown Bookstore. Maclaim’s mural features some hands (the artist’s favorite human body part) holding stacks of books: “Story of 100 years” refers to the wall’s neighboring buildings, as well as city’s rich history, “Great Expectations” and “The Prophet” possibly suggest the potential for a creative awakening in the city.
“Flora + Fauna” by James Reka aka RekaOne, Australian artist based in Berlin. A Florida themed mural seems to be the biggest in Florida until the contrary is proved. Definitely, the largest mural in the artist’s career so far. Despite such large scale, the lines are obsessively clean and strong as always. Surrealist, abstracted ocean creatures and whimsical plants were obviously inspired by the local surrounding. Special thanks for the support artist’s assistant and a big friend Jacob Tolstrup.
Phlegm, a Sheffield-based world-known cartoonist, illustrator, muralist and artist, who developed his illustrations in self-published comics, has created distinctively detailed composition with his typical odd figures. The story meaning is under everyone’s interpretation.
“I don’t really leave explanations to my work. I prefer to let people use their own imaginations for what’s happening and what it means. Like all my wall work the imagery comes from comics I storyboard in my sketchbooks. I then paint the wall with a single frame. That way walls become moments from my untold stories.” – Phlegm.
“Detroit moves” by Kenor, a Barcelona artist and DJ. Inspired by music, he uses simple shapes and lines to create art in many different forms. The defragmentation of those lines into pieces of color abounds in his artwork. In some cases, it seems as if the outline of the lines imploded, parted from inside. In other cases, it seems as if external splashes spread around the scene. Conveying a sense of movement in both cases. It is no coincidence, that the title of this work is “Detroit moves”. This indicates, on the one hand, the basis on which his paintings are created, and on the other, how he interprets the artwork. Indeed, the creative development usually starts by choosing a song and interpreting it.
In this case, Detroit´s techno music is present, its abstract and futuristic rhythm is perceived in a composition exclusively made with straight lines. Every beat seems to correspond to a gesture, a color. The lines intersect and overlap each other. Just as the beat forms the color of the song, the set of lines and colors form the rhythm of the artwork. When a melody or a change of pace is associated with each set of lines and colors, it is possible for Kenor`s work to transmit its full potential. It aims to encourage the viewer to feel part of a sound fragment.
The creator of a new technique called “CelloGraff” which he uses since 2006, Astro connected two walls in one concept by exploiting the subtlety of shadows and lights, the strength of colors, and the perspective of depths. Focusing on lettering and Wildstyle at first, this self-taught and passionate artist brings his knowledge and technique towards an abstract art which mixes curves, calligraphy and dynamic shapes.
“Art (Re)public has selected a very interesting wall for me, rather large one, which is one of my favorite sizes. I have adapted to the shape of these two walls in order to create an illusion of depth, as I normally do. Concerning the color, I have chosen the turquoise color because it is one of the most popular colors in Florida and it represented well the spirit of Jacksonville.” – Astro.
“Gradient Channel” by Jason Woodside, Miami-born and NYC based artist.
“For me, this piece highlights the positive feelings and progressive movement happening within this community. Layers of contrasts and color leading to the chapter.” – Jason Woodside.
Murals were not the only art form. The project featured city excursions, a fashion show, collector’s lounge, lecture series, culinary experience, performances, and more. Check on the Website, FB, Instagram of Art (Re)public and stay tuned with Instgrafite for more details about the project!
Text and pictures by Iryna Kanishcheva