Launched last October in Gainesville, Florida, the 352Walls initiative is an extensive project founded and curated by Iryna Kanishcheva, and coordinated by the City of Gainesville and Visit Gainesville,
The idea behind the project, that so far has hosted a wide range of international and regional artists like 2501, Evoca1, Axel Void, Elian, Pastel and Gaia, just to name some of them, was born from a desire to bring art that was both new and contemporary to Gainesville, a university town with a growing student population.
Iryna Kanishcheva, born and raised in Lviv, Ukraine where she pursued a successful career in the pharmaceutical industry as well a growing passion for art and photography, moved to Gainesville 3 years ago after a short stay in France where she had the opportunity to travel across Europe and cultivate her interest in art. It didn’t take long before she noticed a lack of interest for street art in Gainesville and decided to do something about it.
“When I arrived in Gainesville, 3 years ago, I was disappointed that there wasn’t a street art scene. It was weird to me because Gainesville is a University town with average age of populations of 27 years old! So, I decided to bring something new and contemporary that people would enjoy.”
After gathering permissions for walls and writing a proposal that could benefit the city, 352Walls finally got the support of the City Council and Visit Gainesville helping to produce the event. It is worth to highlight that the idea behind this wonderful project isn’t only to beautify Gainesville, but rather bring international attention to Gainesville and encourage development of high-quality urban art culture.
The first edition of 352Walls organised and produced 11 murals by internationally recognised artists in addition to 10 murals by local artists. The second phase has already kicked off with an impressive and surrealist mural by the Ukrainian duo Interesni Kazki (covered). It will be exciting to see who is next!
To learn more about both the participating artists and the project visit www.352walls.org or follow them on social media like Facebook, Instagram or twitter or here, because we will be covering the festival in the months to come.
The line-up so far:
2501 (Italy), Axel Void (Spain), Alexis Diaz (Puerto Rico), Pastel (Argentina), Elian (Argentina), Franco Fasoli JAZ (Argentina), L.E.O. (Miami, FL), Interesni Kazki (Ukraine), 2Alas (Cuba & Puerto Rico), Evoca1 (Dominican Republic), Gaia (Baltimore, MD), Add Fuel (Portugal). And of course the local talent represented by 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, Jenna Horner.
Here some of the biggest murals painted so far explained by the artists:
‘Gainesville is considered a college town. The nature of the town has been subjected to the structure of the university campus. In my view, this format impedes the town’s development towards its own sense of community and idiosyncrasies.
Where students normally join a town, adopt its culture and contribute to it, in this case they reformat the town to feed their needs and often with economic purposes rather than cultural ones. This is not seen exclusively in college towns. Many other places in the US share this format of city planning that seems to be based on a pragmatic point of view rather than a cultural and community-oriented one designed to better the quality of life of its citizens.’
‘The mural in Gainesville, is the 3 step in the deconstruction of another mural how I did in Argentina 2 years ago, so I make the first mural, then I make a collage and then a mural of the collage, is like a travel of the mural.’ Whilst earlier work focused on the context and surrounding area, the new collage-based work highlights the meaning of the process or as expressed by the artist “It’s kind of a simple image to understand, it’s not a specific image that tells something it’s just a fragment of a mural and using that image I’m just trying to find a way of working, a chain of process…but it’s just one step we need to see the whole process to get the whole idea.”
Diego Machado aka Add Fuel from Portugal did a series of seven painted urban equipment throughout downtown Gainesville all part of his ‘Electrical Animal’ series, based on ongoing reinterpretations of traditional Portuguese tiles but adding this time some Florida’s fauna. Each painting (box) is a small homage to one of the many animals found in the Sunshine State.
“This work is based on disappearance. The wall is located in the city of Gainesville, FL. and specifically in Haven, which is a resale shop dedicated to raise money for a hospice.
As we know, hospices have the hard task to accompany in his last days of life to people. With the idea of showing the advance of the absence, use a repetitive module with a basic colour design inspired by my work and move each module as presented by the wall, add white to the colour fades away into the background. The least square now defunct site contains a tree as a metaphor for life, referring to the life cycle.
This work may not work in another space. Also, other specific data on the location, is located in a passageway and the idea of progression in the play, accompanying the motion and the dynamics of the site.”
“There’s no use in hiding, no reason to hold on, We most learn to release the things that are detrimental to our growth and prevent us from moving on.” – Evoca1
‘Entitled ‘What Are the Aesthetics of Reinvestment’ the mural seeks to develop a portrait of downtown Gainesville and locate the theoretical framework behind New Urbanism and its influence upon gentrification. The piece begins with a portrait of the one and only Jane Jacobs with an adjacent picture of a tenement typical of New York’s Lower East Side. It continues with an image of the newly constructed @ufcontinuum paired …with a church from Porters, a historically black neighborhood 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. Special thank you to Faye Williams for providing an insightful local perspective that let me hit the nail on the head with this one.’
Images © Iryna Kanishcheva
Founder and editor of Urbanite. Street Art lover who after the finishing her MA thesis on the muralist movement in the 1920-50s, developed a fascination for street art and graffiti that eventually led to collaborations with different art blogs, including the creation of this one.