Pensacola, Florida
Thursday December 14th 2017

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Foo Foo Fest 2017: Creative Cubes

By Shelby Nalepa

A new addition to Foo Foo Fest brings artists Ashton Howard and Evan Levin back for an innovative take on public art. CUBED, a 12-day outdoor mural installation is different than the Foo Foo Fest projects the two artists have taken on before.

“Ashton and I had a lot of time to talk about art ideas while in the lift for 60 plus days when we were painting the Jefferson Street Mural last year for Foo Foo Fest,” Levin said. “Everything started to look like a canvas to us. One idea we came up with was to do a mural festival in one of the parks downtown. We brainstormed on how we could build walls for artists to paint on.”

Levin said that they wanted to do something that was more engaging and interesting to look at instead of just a wall with a mural on the front and back, so they decided creating giant cubes would have a better visual impact.

“We had a blast painting Jefferson Street together and lots of time to brainstorm,” Howard said. “Like Evan said, to an artist, everything looks like a blank canvas and after realizing we couldn’t (but want to) paint every wall in downtown, we settled on CUBED.”

Levin said that Pensacola has a lot of talented artists and they wanted to create an event to highlight that.

“At the end of the three days of painting there will be 16 new murals that will become a part of the downtown experience,” Levin said.

The four eight-by-eight foot cubes were constructed by Fluid Metalworks and will allow 16 different live paintings to happen at once in front of an audience.

“We want to continue to be at the forefront of the art scene in Pensacola and help brand this city’s identity through the exposure and talents of many local artists,” Howard said.

Selected CUBED artists include Joe Hobbs, Joyful Enriquez, Stephanie Garland, Austin Garcia, Gabriel Smith, YehRim Lee, Poppy Garcia, Jarrod Goldman and Cecilia Lueza as well as collaborations from Wildcat Artists, Scott Satterwhite, Valerie George and Eliza Espy of the 309 Punk Museum Project, Veronique Zayas and Somi Choi, Olga Silva and Jaime Diffee and Selina McKane and Joseph Tempesta.

“We had 46 submissions this year,” Levin said. “We were really pleased with that response and I think it shows the potential of how this can become an annual event and grow each year. We wanted as much diversity as possible.  It is going to be really exciting to see all of the different styles and how each artist works. ”

The cubes will on display at Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Plaza all 12 days of Foo Foo Fest.

“After Foo Foo Fest is over they will be relocated to the new Museum Plaza that UWF Historic Trust built behind the TT Wentworth Museum,” Levin said. “They will reside there until we get close to next year’s Foo Foo Fest and start preparing for CUBED 2018.”

Levin said that for his mural, he will be painting a parent and child walking through a surreal landscape observing a bird in a tree. Howard also has a concept centered around the early learning initiative.

“The concept of the mural is to illustrate the 30 Million Words Initiative and the importance of engaging in conversation with your child in the first three to four years of their life when the brain is in a critical development stage,” Levin said.

Levin and Howard both said that there is definitely an exciting and fun energy that happens when they have an audience.

“Live painting is always a blast, especially in the beautiful outdoors,” Howard said. “I have painted live on cruise ships, gallery settings, and many other events, but CUBED will be something entirely unique.”

CUBED
WHAT: An outdoor mural installation and live painting event
WHEN: Installation Nov. 2-13; live painting events Nov. 3-5
WHERE: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Plaza
COST: Free
DETAILS: cubedgulfcoast.com