Art Republic Jax muralist Guido van Helten is an Australian artist whose breathtaking monochromatic portraits adorn walls around the world. For each site, Guido invests a lot of time and effort to develop his concept for a location – he visits the site or city, learns about its history, tradition and culture before choosing a photo that he will use as a source of inspiration. He often uses images of friends, famous and locals to highlight the soul and spirit of the city and its inhabitants focusing on the themes of unity and diversity.
When Guido first came to Jacksonville he spent a few days interacting with locals by walking through town, stopping in coffee shops, and going to the theater. He met Connell Crooms (left) and the female depicted (right) at a rally in Hemming Park just days after the 2016 Presidential election, when the city was peacefully gathering in solidarity around their shared views.
“I was quite inspired by these two people who reflect two communities. They really reflect this idea of unity that I want to promote,” says Guido van Helten.
As it turns out, Connell is a hearing impaired musician, and his passion and conviction for using art to unite us made a deep impression on Guido, which is why he chose him as one of his subjects. It took the Australian less than a week to finish the mural using rollers, paintbrushes and fatcaps.
To learn more, watch this First Coast News interview with both the artist and Connell Crooms.