The cultural intersection in Ft Lauderdale just got a whole lot more beautiful with a new mural by Brazilian street artist Arlin Graff. The installation was unveiled last November 7 on the walls of the Arts & Entertainment (A&E) District garage, across the street from the Broward Center for the Arts, the Science Museum and the gorgeous riverfront park.
The bare beige painted garage stood in stark contrast to the rest of the area, so the Downtown Development Authority in partnership with other city agencies did an artist call and awarded the mural design to Graff, whose bright, colorful and energetic work graces buildings worldwide.
Arlin’s unique geometric style is rooted in his childhood in Tatuí, in the countryside of São Paulo, Brazil, where he played with blocks and scraps of wood in his father’s woodshed, making birdcages and other functional objects. As a teenager he began with street art, painting trains and later studied Industrial Design in college, graduating in 2007.
After working in advertising he began drawing on his deconstructionist beginnings, imbuing images with slats and shards of color that shoot out like ray beams. He often adds in animals – birds, cheetahs, zebras, tigers – that vibrate with shots of blue, red, yellow, green. Flash forward a decade and Graff has created murals in countries around the globe, exhibited in galleries and collaborated with some of the world’s biggest brands bringing color and energy to projects all over the world.
The Florida Daily Post caught up with him to get some insight on the new Ft Lauderdale project.
What kind of imagery have you created for the A&E garage?
“For the A&E District Garage Mural Project, I created a bright and energetic geometric installation spanning various surfaces of the structure, creating harmony among shapes and colors and constructing a world where they all build upon one another.”
What is it about animals that inspires many of your murals?
“I’m very inspired by the energy and movement of animals. I’m the type of person who is always moving, always acting, always searching. I’m interested in those natural animal instincts. It’s amazing to study different animals and see this movement in their actions. The same force that makes the bird flap its wings so that it doesn’t fall from the sky, that leads animals in the savanna to migrate toward water in a dry season, that makes a lion attack his prey or that makes the zebra kick in order to escape. When I was a child living in Brazil, my home was filled with colorful birds that my dad raised. Unfortunately, they were often living in cages. That was something I never understood. Outside, when I could spend time observing birds living freely, I was able to understand that they are so much more interesting in movement. I started to capture this energy and get inspired by it. Later, I discovered that all animals have a similar impulse, from cats that always land on their feet to a tiger that executes a fatal attack. Even humans have those natural instincts, but for various reasons we distance ourselves from them.”
What do want viewers to feel when they look at your A&E garage mural?
“I hope that people will see the art as an extension of the energy that is happening in the area around the garage. Just like someone might see an incredible show at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts or learning something new at the Museum of Discovery and Science and get inspired to follow their creative interests, I hope the art will also provide that spark for some people. Encouraging them to see life as an opportunity expression and feeling inspired and engaged.”
Graff believes in the power of street art in a community. “It makes people laugh and smile, so to me bringing color is bringing happiness,” says Graff. “This is how I choose to live my life. As much as I like exhibiting in galleries, working in a city making a mural is what I like best. It means I was there and now I’m part of the community.”
The mural by Arlin Graff on this iconic art mural elevates the overall aesthetics of the garage, but above all, it connects the parking garage to its surrounding arts and science centers.
New Mural by Arlin Graff at Arts & Entertainment District Garage