Last time I published something by Gaia was a pretty amazing mural in Monno, Italy that portrayed the issue of immigration (here). Now back in USA, he was recently invited by Iryna Kanishcheva and Daniel Pimentel to paint in virtual reality for Changeville: Gainesville’s Social Change Festival where he also was offered the opportunity to create another wall for the Grove Street Neighbourhood project.
Titled “Poetics”, the mural features the portraits of Wilhelmina Johnson, a prominent educator in Gainesville and civil rights activist, and the beat poet Jack Kerouac (On the Road) flanked by a frame of delicate flowers. Two seemingly unrelated figures, but connected according to the artist by the desire of the Grove Street Community Garden to honour both American literature and African-American heritage.
VIRTUAL MURALS TO INSPIRE POSITIVE SOCIAL CHANGE
In addition to the mural, Gaia used a HTC VIVE system to digitally recreate the wall, letting the audience watch the piece unfold in real-time through projectors, but not just that. People were also given the possibility to “replay” each stroke of the artist’s work with a personal head-mounted display (HMD). The event managed to bring together art enthusiasts and creators from various backgrounds in order to create virtual pieces that inspire positive social change in a pretty much fun way.
The event also counted with the participation of local artist Nicole Holderbaum and Martin Torres (Jacksonville), Steven Speir and Sanders Soloman (Gainesville), Rachel Sommer (Gainesville), Chaya Av (Orlando), with contemporary graffiti by Ras Justo Luis (Gainesville), Bhuta Bhavana Das Adhikari (Gainesville) and Miami-based artist Ruben Ubiera.
As mentioned above the Grove Street Neighborhood Murals Project is a community project founded and curated by Iryna Kanishcheva and coordinated by the neighbourhood leader Maria Huff Edwards (image above). The project is according to the organisers a total success thanks to the help of volunteers and neighbourhood supporters, who see murals as an artistic tool towards the neighbourhoods further stabilisation, beautification, and restoration.
Initially planed as a one mural event, the GROVE STREET NEIGHBOURHOOD Project quickly gained the support of neighbours, developing into a great selection of ten murals and a big celebration on Saturday, March 4 this year, where a number of regional and local artists participated with performances, live painting, free-style hip-hop and electronic music concerts. Guests were able to meet the artists, listen to poetry, paint a community mural, and other activities that involved the community at large with art, music and dance. Just like the lovely images below show.
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.