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Bo Diddley Mural Comes to Downtown Gainesville: Curator Iryna Kanishcheva of Monochronicle teams up with mural artist JEKS

Press release from Bosshardt Realty

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – A mural of Bo Diddley is in progress on the side of Bosshardt Realty’s downtown office on 16 South Main in downtown Gainesville. The mural will feature two side profiles and two portraits of the late Bo Diddley, as well as his famous rectangular guitar. The mural project is curated by Iryna Kanishcheva of Monochronicle and is being created by North Carolina-based mural artist JEKS. It is funded by State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Arts and Culture and the Florida Council on Arts and Culture with support from Bosshardt Realty. 

JEKS is a graffiti/mural artist from Greensboro, NC. Over the past 4 years, he has carved out a spot in the street art scene, being one of the top in large-format portraiture and hyperrealism. Self-taught from painting graffiti since the late ’90s, the spray can is his medium. He has painted 100s of multi-story murals all over the U.S. and as far as Canada and Colombia, South America. He is a contract Monster Energy artist as of late 2021 and has worked with many high-profile clients recently such as Spotify, PBR, Optimo, Warner Media, Bleacher Report, and United Way. Many of his murals have become viral social media hotspots and beloved landmarks in the cities where they are installed.

Iryna Kanishcheva, MBA is a public art curator and producer. She was the founder and curator of several groundbreaking public art projects in the USA and her hometown, Ukraine. Among them was the first urban art initiative in North Central Florida, 352walls.  She is the Founder of Monochronicle, an arts service organization and software.  Monochronicle assists state arts agencies and private property owners in the artist selection process and production of murals, sculptures, and other art installations. 

Iryna is a recipient of the 2021 Business Arts Award, which recognizes businesses that have contributed significantly to the arts in the city. She also was awarded the 2015 Public Art Award for her significant contribution to the enhancement of the greater environment through public art; the 2018 City Beautification Award for the outstanding public space and community project; and more.

The idea of painting Bo Diddley came from responses to a community-wide survey put out by Monochronicle. Many people wanted to highlight the rich history of the Gainesville music scene, Bo Diddley in particular. “Bo Diddley deserves a good mural in Gainesville!” – Bill Bryson. From the perspective of the site, the musical theme of the mural is complemented by various shows and events that happen right next to the wall and around the corner. 

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The late Bo Diddley of Archer was one of rock music’s principal architects in the 1950s. He is generally credited as the man who gave rock its beat—the “rock” upon which the “roll” was built. His innovative and original style of rhythm and blues has been influencing generations of musicians for more than five decades. He was known as “The Originator” because of his key role in the transition from blues music to rock & roll, influencing a host of legendary acts including Buddy Holly, Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, and The Rolling Stones. He introduced more insistent, driving rhythms and a hard-edged guitar sound on a wide-ranging catalog of songs.

In the late 1970s, Diddley moved to Archer, Florida, where he lived until he passed away in 2008. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987. Among his top honors were a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1998 and placing 20th on a list of “The 100 Greatest Artists of All Time” in 2004 Rolling Stone Magazine. 

The Artist JEKS was selected through Monochronicle call-to-artist software. The design was developed based on the Design Thinking in Public Art approach that includes observations and surveys of the community. 

The design thinking approach brings together what is desirable from a human point of view with what is technologically feasible and economically viable. In public art, it is understanding a local community and producing an artwork that is technically and economically reasonable. For example, immersive community research helps artists set aside their own views and recognize people’s needs. Carefully planned dialogues help artists build on their diverse ideas, not just negotiate compromises when differences in vision arise. Experiments with new ideas and solutions reduce all stakeholders’ fear of change. 

Some of the goals of design thinking are to support the site, develop empathy, do site-specific research, and identify alternatives. Public art’s inner purpose is to serve the public. Design thinking is an organized way of approaching a problem by asking the right questions of both project stakeholders (property and business owners, organizers, artists) and people residing nearby, followed by a process of ideation in order to arrive at a successful solution. Design thinking takes into consideration architecture, traffic, culture, and surrounding fluid dynamics. The Monochronicle team conducted surveys and identify people’s needs/desires on public art topics. 

This project was sponsored in part by the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Arts and Culture and the Florida Council on Arts and Culture awarded to Iryna Kanishcheva. The project is supported by building owner Aaron Bosshardt and Bosshardt Realty Services. 

The mural will be placed on the corrugated metal part of the second floor of the façade of Bosshardt Realty’s downtown office on 16 S Main Street, Gainesville, Florida. Bosshardt Realty acquired the building in 2021 and opened their downtown office this past summer.  Bosshardt Realty is Gainesville’s only full service independent local real estate broker. Bosshardt Realty offers both residential and commercial real estate services, and has served the Gainesville community for 35 years. Their downtown office is their fifth in the area. Bosshardt’s main office is located in Waterford Park on 43rd Street, with satellite offices in the Haile Village Center, Newberry, Ocala, and now downtown Gainesville.

This property is situated in the middle of downtown, at the intersection of South Main Street and SW 1st Avenue. JEKS began sketching and painting at the site on Thursday, November 3rd and is slated to finish before Thursday, November 10th. On Wednesday, November 9th from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., there will be a mural unveiling celebration of Gainesville’s first Bo Diddley mural, in the closed road in front of the mural on Main Street and 1st Street. 

  • I’m not sure Bo Diddley would want Bosshardt using his name and likeness to make themselves look good to the community of people of color. Are they involved in the gentrification of the old neighborhoods or the marketing of the new complexes? It’s bad enough that they had to open one of their offices in that quaint downtown location. Not impressed at all.

    • Is there a reason for your negativity toward such an empowering mural? It seems your personal agenda is clouding your judgement. After looking through Bosshardt Realty’s website compared to other companies, it looks like their company is more diverse than any other in town. According to their social media, the family of Bo Diddley have reached out and are extremely happy with the results along with the company’s building it is hosted on. It is refreshing to see a company purchase a building and actually preserve it rather than tear down and build up. I believe as a community we should see past Mr. Peabody’s hate and continue the progress in downtown along with NE Gainesville! This extremely talented artist created a beautiful piece for our community and it is something to be celebrated, cheers!

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