SHINE 2017, St. Petersburg, FL

Represented by numerous of independent galleries and museums devoted to such big artists as surrealist Salvador Dalí and glass artist Dale Chihuly, rank St. Petersburg, FL as one of the most attractive art destinations. Museum on the streets where everybody can see work of Internationally accomplished artists for free, SHINE St. Petersburg Mural Festival, even strengthens this position for years to come.

SHINE is a good example of a mural project when the community is involved. Made up of local artists and community members, SHINE intends to illuminate the power of art in public spaces by revitalizing bold vacant walls, inspiring dialogue through artists’ messages and gathering the community at public events.

I’ve been following the project since 2015. Artists selection and organization meet and even exceed expectations since then. Among participated artists such well-known names as Evoca1, Pixel Pancho, Michael Reeder, Caratoes, Jade, Pantonio, Dasic Fernandes, Mark Gmehling, and more. For 3 years, the project has hosted artists from 13 different countries to show the diversity in styles. The energy and the excitement around the whole town are what makes me keep wanting to come back and take some pictures. It is not possible to show all the murals here, but I am happy to share some of the most interesting walls of SHINE 2017.

Allison Tinati, known as Hueman arrived sooner than others and finished her mural in just 4 days. The size of the wall was a bit underestimated and the artist did all possible to finish in time. Sometimes painting from 8 am to 3 am, she created a colorful abstract of the word SHINE.

“We meditate on the most adored Supreme Lord, the Creator, whose effulgence illumines all realms. May this divine light illumine our intellect.” – Stated Cryptik about his stunning piece. The Southern Californian hypnotically blends Eastern philosophical mantras with calligraphy.

Los Angeles based Mikael Brandrup combined bold colors with geometric shapes building a dynamic universe on of the St. Petersburg streets.

The belief that you can take any crazy vision and turn it into reality…I had this in mind when I created the mural “Inner Visions” experimenting with the warm the cold, the sharp the soft, the light the dark. All merged together as a vibrant energetic explosion bringing my canvas style alive as a large scale mural.  With “Inner Visions” I want to keep dreams alive. Sticking with your vision and what you believe in is so important. When you have a vision it affects your attitude. Your attitude becomes optimistic. – Mikael B.

For the SHINE project, Axel Void, collaborated with his good friend, artist and musician Reginald O’Neil aka L.E.O. Both artists also showcased their art pieces at the group show “Outside In“, this years’ special addition.

Our goal is to have a variety of artworks. Artists that are seen in the gallery and have also powerful works on the streets. Thus, we had Evoca1 for the first year, Jade for the second year, Axel Void in 2017th. It helps people open horizons. For those who never would go to a gallery to see these artworks can now see them on streets. We usually look for a variety of different messages and styles. – Says Chris Parks, the project’s curator.

As an outdoor installation at the “Outside In” exhibition, James Oleson created a sculpture CANO with glowing lava and smog, based on his Incredibuds character.  Ricky Watts painted a 3D interactive corner, so did Vitale Bros. on the other side of the room.

I always have trouble explaining a meaning or purpose or inspiration behind my work. Because it’s not a recognizable subject like a face or a plant, it’s tough to explain why something is the way that is. What I have is a process that I’ve developed over the last 6 years. It’s become what I’m now known for and I’m letting it play out to see where it takes me. The majority of the time, I go into it with no pre-conceived sketch of what it’s supposed to look like. I start somewhere and it just builds off of itself. I think maybe one or two steps ahead, but that’s more of a paint saving measure than anything else. This past year, the painting process (or style) has taken a different direction and become more dimensional. I’m exploring new ideas and techniques (like the holes and rip effects), really trying to make the art pop off the wall. This Shine 2017 piece is a good example of that. – Ricky Watts.

This year, SHINE arranged several social projects. Among them community mural. Volunteers and most importantly the kids ages 6-17 worked together to plan out their ‘Dream Big. Be Big.” Community Mural at Childs Park Recreation Center. SHINE brought back the CLEAN campaign with Current Initiatives’ Laundry Project. A series of colorful laundromat murals aimed at delivering a positive message through street art that can be seen across Tampa Bay and the country. As part of SHINE,  the project kicked off Corner Canvas where local artists took over bland traffic boxes around the city. To top it off, they organized a family-friendly SHINE ‘Outside In’ Art Exhibit & Finale Event, with large-scale installations by The Yok and SheryoJames OlesonThe Artwork of Ricky WattsVitale Bros.Sentrock and many more.

I met SHINE’s curator and the Founder at Pale Horse Design, Chris Parks, at this event. He was very busy welcoming visitors of the show but took a moment to answer several questions.

What is the difference between 2017 edition and 2015-2016? I assume it is the “Outside In” exhibition?

We always try to have a final event to gather people together to celebrate the new murals. The first year [2015] we had more traditional gallery event at Morean Art Center. The second year we had an outdoor music festival, pop art gallery, street market, artist talk. This year we were looking for a large space for big installations, so that was kind of a catalyst to this event.  We have taken over a warehouse space at Behar + Peteranecz Architecture. It has 5,000 sq. ft of air-conditioned space that makes it perfect for such event that could host large-scale installations, indoor murals, outdoor installations, DJ’s, interactive works also.

What is the massive installation in the middle of the space?

New York-based The Yok and Sheryo collaborated on the “Gator Lounge” installation with local people. Heinz Hinrichs built the whole structure for about 4 days, shops donated plywood, local artists worked on the video projection on the Gator. So, it was kind of community effort. A special performance by Sound Bath featuring Manuel Mendez and Chris Silva was a very nice match with the installation piece. Rather than putting a DJ, we created kind of loud noise, in the big space, we had a nice resonant sound of this wild psychedelic healing music.

As a curator, what are your criteria in choosing artists? 

Since the beginning, we keep the same mix of traveling and local artists. We normally do about 5 local artists and 10 traveling. We choose artists that we are big fans of their work. We have Miami Wynwood and Art Basel nearby, and a chance to see many different artists. We do a lot of traveling’s to different countries, different festivals, find interesting talents and happy to bring some of them here. It’s cool to be able to have an international show.

What should we expect for the next year? 

We always take a break for a while, it is kind of mystery for me at the moment. You never know but I would keep it doing as long as we can, for sure.

I think the mission of making streets beautiful and bring people great vibe and hope is successfully accomplished. Wishing you many more editions to illuminate the power of art in public spaces and have all the most adorable artist in the future line-ups! 

Images by Iryna Kanishcheva.

Originally published for Street Art United States.

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About the author: Iryna