I was born and raised in South Florida where I went to art magnet schools for both middle and high school. I then moved to Jacksonville where I went to the University of North Florida. I discontinued my studies at UNF and pursued a career in art. For a while I worked as a waitress and created artwork on the side, but now I am living and working solely as an artist. I have also established a program called the Jax Kid’s Mural Festival as well as the Jax Kid’s Mural Project through which we paint murals in underprivileged schools with students for free. I am currently working as an artist and muralist as well as maintaining these projects in Jacksonville.
How long have you been into street art and how did you get involved?
I have been into street art for about 4 years now, but more seriously in the past couple of years. I learned from my friends who are graffiti writers in South Florida. They taught me how to use spray paint and were attempting to teach me letters, but I turned out to be pretty terrible with words and such. So I decided to continue painting in a different way which lead me to murals.
Do you have any formal art education?
I attended the BAK Middle School of the Arts as well as Alexander W Dreyfoos High School of the Arts.
Tell about the idea of this mural, how did you come up with it?
I believe that art, at least my art, is not about ME, it is about the art and the message within. My concepts lately have been focused on highlighting the beauty in others and giving others a platform through which they can share their messages. I enjoy portraits, so I thought it would cool to feature different writers and unite them through a shared theme. “Love” is the theme and it is something that I believe our country and our world needs now more than ever. I feel that, through social media among other factors, ego has become very strong and taken over our world in a sense, and love is the best way to combat that.
You are painting this project for free… What drives you to do that?
My passion is to paint, to communicate my thoughts and feelings through, and to change the world through art. Having the opportunity to paint a big and beautiful wall is like a dream. It is my favorite thing to do! From a business standpoint it is a great opportunity for exposure. This mural will be seen by many on the internet as well as around town. It will undoubtedly lead to other mural and art opportunities as well as increase my audience through which I achieve leverage in the art world.
Do you think a city has to support their local artists and how?
I think it is important for the city itself to invest in projects and organizations that provide artists with opportunities to learn and grow. Culture is one of the most important aspects of a community’s balance, and ART is very important for our world. I believe it is important for cities to support their local art communities. There are many ways that a city can help its local art community, but I also believe that artists should not depend on anyone or anything to give them hand outs. In order to be successful, you must be independent and have ingenuity.
Do you do also studio work? Tell about it, please.
Yes, my studio work is also one of my favorite things to do. It gives me an opportunity to practice new concepts and ideas that I have before I bring it to thew all. My time in the studio also gives me the chance to develop my thoughts and ideas.
What do you think about Gainesville? Gainesville is a great town. Everything is so close and it is easy to get around. There are a lot of great restaurants and cool spots. It’s also really special that there is so much amazing art around town. Having international artists come and paint really changes a city. I believe it raises the level of consciousness. I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to come and spend time here.
Last question, who are the writers and how did you find them?
Spencer Rooney @sus_pence We have been friends for a while now. He lives in Jacksonville where I live.
Breanna Jenkins @Brejenkins We are up in the same town and have many of the same friends. We have recently become closer and I’ve discovered her passion for writing.
Adrian Hendryx @adrianhendryx I’ve been following her on Instagram for a while now. She’s an incredible writer, one of my favorites!
Thank you, Nico, for this interview and the amazing mural you created for us!
I was told once that all we need is truth to make us whole again, like poisoning our reservoirs with Veritaserum will magically fix our broken race. But, I don’t think we need more truth. What we need is an overdose of empathy, we need heart walls to tear open and bleed until scientists are forced to find a way to make us clot. We need to invent a formula to repair this apathetic world view because it has become an epidemic. And this is a disease that targets what makes humanity human. And It continues to infect us with the silent insanity moonlight offers nightly. We lay in bed and feel our skin crawling as loneliness carves crevices into our hearts so we take it out on others in the morning. We refuse to care about the third world because in the first and second we aren’t happy. Because our first world problem is that no one can see our soul is dying inside, no matter how loud we are screaming. Because crying on the streets is crazy. And begging for help is desperate. And we’re all too blind and proud to see each others pain. To scared to see our own pain reflecting back at us.
Love is enough. Let the battle begin, with a flick of the wrist and the feelings of sin. Some say that it’s not, that you still need a job, or be taught, how you ought not to have been. Some say that love is no different from lust, as you gather your feelings and thrust and you thrust, but I must take a step back from the compact walls of shimmering slacks. Which white is right and which black is more black than the attack of the click clack bloom in a springtime filled room with colors and colors and colors of you who I do love? Maybe still with a taste of the lust, but why can’t we set our differences inside of the us, and forget all the who’s, he’s, she’s, she’s enough? Why can’t we say that love is the only thing that matters? While soldiers’ blood splatters the media’s fingertips chatter like raindrops falling on the lap of the mad hatter who’s laughter and singing’s too soft for the actors, love is enough to make it all stop.
But, Love is never enough for those who fall short, for those who decided that money is more, than a heart can provide as the Mercedes-Benz mini van door slides to the right, and their love starved children continue to fight for a packed lunch that you might pack or just give them cash and tell them that soon you’ll buy them an ass, and some tits, and some dresses, and boom they say that they love you. When we know it’s not love it pretentious feelings of hatred they clutch.
But to me, and my love, love is enough. Although she moved, and I felt feels and and and and I still feel. I have no money, and three jobs between lonely cat naps and creative writing attacks and and and I gotta stop in the middle of ranting, to tell you I’m painting, my face is uncanny, or if not, it can be. Damn B! How you think we can stand in the streets and take turns blowing fire every time the other side speaks. We cannot just do what we’re told. Let the buyers buy up all the other mans’ souls. Let the liars lie down to die in the cold. But us lovers, us lovers, we know. That love is enough deep down where love grows.
I’ll always be a pioneer woman of ever-changing emotions. I’ll always dig deeper to summon the fundamentals of me. Through the ban of my dirt filled hands, I’ve washed them along with the burden that hate had carried.
Never think you know everything.
We can’t think we know everything.
An open heart to an open wound of a man who caught a glimpse too soon of his fate and what was at stake.
I made it a point to never slight hate cause sometimes I’d hear things the wrong way. When you think you knew everything but weren’t listening. Love terrifies hate.
I remind myself that I’m human every day. Love terrifies hate.