352walls. Carrie and Jesus. Interview with the artists

I know you both are self-taught artists, you do not have any formal art education? How is it possible?

Neither of us has gone to school for art nor taken a single workshop, but we have spent thousands of hours creating art and challenging ourselves to learn new techniques and master our skill. Anything can be accomplished with regular practice and an insatiable desire to learn and evolve.

Where are you from and how long have you been living here?

Jesus is originally from Miami, FL, and I am from Bethlehem, PA. We met in 1999 in Miami where we lived on a sailboat, then made our way to California where we married and had children. In 2014 we wanted to be closer to our families, and chose Gainesville because of the city’s vision to create a vibrant art and cultural scene in the southeast.

Why you decided to start particularly this business? How people react to the combination of gym and art?

Jesus owned a CrossFit gym in California and came to Gainesville with the intention of opening a gym. I needed a place to hang my paintings, and so we combined our passions to create a versatile space that could function as both a gym and an art gallery. The design of Visionary CrossFit included careful consideration of paint colors, lighting, and equipment so that it really feels like you are in a gallery more than a gym, and members appreciate the culture and beauty they are exposed to; several have told us it’s like working out in their living room, very clean, comfortable and stylish. The building also has an art studio and several rooms to showcase the work of over 13 different local and famous artists. The eclectic art collection is primarily visionary and surrealist works along with street and sports poster art. The gallery hosts monthly art shows, and provides a space for emerging and underground artists to show their work.

Mural #3 at Visionary CrossFit, see more murals here.

Those several murals in fact your first experience in painting on walls, how are you feeling about it?

A few years ago I saw Hera of Herakut painting a giant mural in Miami, and I realized how art can impact a great number of people when done in public instead of hiding in a gallery. I decided to challenge myself to paint murals, training myself by painting live at events and also working on larger and larger canvases. The murals on the Visionary CrossFit building are Jesus’s and my first public art collaboration, and the response has been phenomenal…we are truly inspired.

What is the difference between murals and studio work?

Murals, like live painting, connect the artist with so many more people than would happen if the creation of art remained in the studio. Public art invites people into the process of the artist, connecting them with the artist, the work and their environment. Suddenly the ordinary wall is transformed into a work of art, so the viewer is invited to be present in th moment to witness the beauty of their surroundings.

Jesus, tell please about your graffiti experience. Have you ever tagged illegally? What do you think about it.

Growing up in Miami, I had been doing graffiti since the 6th grade. I used to do a lot of illegal graffiti when I was really young and was arrested for it, but it’s been a long time since I’ve done that. I have a family now and own a business in town, so it’s not a good idea for me to be out there getting in trouble.

Tell please about your board paintings, you must be have a huge collection of them already! How much time it normally takes to draw one? Where the ideas come from?

My whiteboard art that I create at the gym is my outlet now for creative expression. I get up at 5am every day and spend about 2 hours working on drawings to frame the workouts. This is my time to reflect and meditate, and a the end of the day I erase what I’ve drawn. I’ve been creating these for almost a year, and my work has been recognized on the official CrossFit social media sites. My concepts are always different and focus on some positive aspect of life or nature. The ideas for the drawings I come up with are derived from things I see or experience on a daily basis.
 
What kind of opportunity Visionary CrossFit can give to young artists?

There are not many galleries in Gainesville that show visionary and street art, so we are unique in many ways. Our expansive space allows us to host many artists at once, which makes for a very eclectic and ever-changing collection of art. We host monthly art shows that are becoming known for their fun and creative flair: there are 2 indoor swings, art supplies to create during the show, and kids are always welcome.

Visionary CrossFit is one of the best places where we can hear good, contemporary electronic music. Tell please about your passion to this kind of music, about DJ’s participating sometimes and opportunity for them. It is really amazing that you support not only artists but dj’s and musicians as well!

Electronic music is definitely our favorite genre, and most of our creative work has been inspired by it. There is a culture associated with this music that focuses on shifting consciousness and raising vibration. Our art embodies that same movement toward spiritual evolution.

Mural at Hi Fi bldg., 352walls

What is  your attitude to 352walls project, your opinion, wishes, expectations, impressions etc.

We are so grateful to participate in the 352Walls project and meet all of the amazingly talented artists and promoters associated with it. We have made some truly wonderful friendships through this. We love Gainesville and are excited to bring our energy and vision to this beautiful city.

What is the idea/meaning of the mural at Hi Fi bldg.?

Our mural on the Hi Fi building was inspired by the artist who painted next to us, Turbado Marabou, and his mural of a Goddess. Both of our sections of wall are the largest, so right before the project we consulted with Turbado about connecting our murals somehow. Jesus and I decided to also paint a Goddess, connecting the 2 with elements of earth, sun and stars . Both are very powerful and striking, a balance of light and dark, and we hope that they inspire in others beauty, wisdom, peace and power.

Whatever else interesting about your life, art, music, vision?..

It has been a lot of fun for the two of us to collaborate creatively on the mural projects. We have a mutual respect and admiration for each other’s work, and our ideas flow together naturally.

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Read one more article about the couple here.

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