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Master muralist faces off with Olympic-sized tower

Artist paints rower and kayaker at Lake Lanier Olympic Center

POSTED: October 22, 2013 1:00 a.m.

The Olympic tower at the Lake Lanier Olympic Center got a face-lift over the weekend by Argentine mural artist Franco “Jaz” Fasoli.

Atlanta-based nonprofit organization Living Walls, in conjunction with the “Inspired Georgia” state art exhibit and The Arts Council’s “Traveling Show,” brought the artist to paint the west wall of the tower Saturday. The mural depicts a rower in a boat with an inverted kayaker underneath.

“I always paint about confrontations,” Fasoli said. “I know the kayakers and the rowers clash sometimes, but at the same time, they share this space and they are part of this area. So I am painting the confrontation between the two.”

A native of Buenos Aires, Fasoli has studied art since he was a child. Today he is a prolific artist who has more than 500 murals in many different countries including the United States, Mexico, Canada, South Africa and most European countries from Spain to Turkey.

When he was 15 years old, Fasoli began his street art career as a graffiti artist. He later supported himself by creating stage props and backgrounds for theater productions, which he attributes as the source of his strong work ethic. In 2004, he traveled to Barcelona, which at the time was a major hub for street artists, and other areas of Europe. It was during this time he began to aggressively pursue mural painting.

“My trip to Europe changed me a lot,” he said. “When I came back I couldn’t even think of doing the same things. It was just the total opposite of what I was doing.”

One of his most memorable and largest murals was a towering depiction of two soldiers on horseback that he painted on the side of a five-story building in Istanbul, Turkey. While he was painting it, the city was rocked by massive protests against Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

In addition to mural painting, Fasoli is a traditional painter, which he uses to support his mural painting.

“I live by my gallery works, but at the same time, I need to work in the public space,” he said. “The inside works are the experiments for the art of the public works, and the public works influence my other artwork.

“I can’t do one thing; I have to do both.”

The “Traveling Show” is a part of the “Inspired Georgia: 28 works from Georgia’s State Art Collection” on display at the Quinlan Visual Arts Center, and it is composed of Fasoli’s mural and the dance group gloATL.

Living Walls started in 2009, and its mission is to “promote, educate and change perspectives toward public space in our communities via street art.” Executive Director Monica Campana said the organization’s aim is to bring street artists, urbanists and city planners together and create a platform for dialogue about our public spaces. Living Walls has organized close to a hundred murals in the Atlanta area, including three by Fasoli, and has organized works in Dalton, Clayton, Athens and Gainesville.


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