The bright, joyous colors and geometric style of DAAS are recognizable on murals in St. Petersburg and around the world, with lines and angles that echo origami folds.
This monumental mural at 128 20th Street South is 25 feet high and 103 feet long. Facing west, vivid red, yellow, orange, blue and green angled squares form a sunrise-colored backdrop for an enormous close-up of a little girl, looking at two curious, gigantic rabbits.
We Are Going to be Friends, is the title of the mural – the fourth mural DAAS has painted in an ongoing story featuring this young woman. It’s a tender moment that drivers at the busy intersection half a block away catch sight of as they’re passing.
The girl in the mural is in profile, turned toward the right with a soft smile. She’s painted in close-up, as if she’s lying on her stomach, propped up on one arm. Her tangled dark hair falls around her face. Her hair is streaked with gold, purple, pink and aquamarine. On this expanse of wall, the girl’s face and shoulders take up the whole left half, so large that the top of her head is cut off by the roof.
Her face is gentle, in shades of pale grey, with her right eye and dark lashes lowered, looking at a rabbit that’s looking up at her. Her eyebrow is cocked, thoughtfully. She’s propped up on her right arm. Her right hand holds a stump of orange carrot, which the rabbit is considering.
The rabbits take up the right half of the mural. One is near the far right edge, sitting up alertly, his body facing us, ears straight up and his face turned toward the girl, studying her with a wide eye, as if he might leap off the mural if she moves too quickly.
This rabbit’s face and whiskers and right arm are white. His left arm and chest are shades of grey, scattered with shards of gold and red and green. His eye is pale blue, his nose, pale pink. His right ear is white, with one pink edge. His left ear is grey, with black streaks and two shards of red. His left eye, angled toward us, is shadowed in grey. Just below, is a rippled pink mark on his cheek.
The other rabbit is near the center, close to the girl. He’s hunkered down, relaxed, his ears laid back, his eye half closed, contemplating the carrot she’s holding. His round body is in profile, white, with light grey marks, grey shading around his eye and mouth, and white whiskers. His ears are dark grey, edged in black. A pink streak runs above his eye and darts between his ears. Abstract shapes of gold, red, pink, aquamarine and green curve upwards, across his body.
The girl’s grey shirt is bunched up from lying on the grass, with textures and geometric wrinkles in darker grey, and shards of rich purple, pink and gold. A few blades of angular green grass poke up around her. Two garage doors and one set-back door, and four grates with louvers, are painted as part of the picture
The girl and the rabbits are set against a colorful, geometric sky, a pattern of squares standing on end. Rich gold and orange frame the girl’s face and the friendly rabbit. Shades of greens, blues, oranges and yellow surround the rabbits, and a hint of a rolling, rich green landscape behind the wary rabbit on the right.
DAAS: “I’ve kind of been doing these murals of this young girl. I kind of like following the story of her life, her youth and just her experiences interacting with nature, animals and things like that.
“Everything is like a playful scene or moments where she’s contemplating, you know, future things. This is a long story I’ve been developing. This one is just part of the story.
“All the colors that are here are supposed to vibrate. They’re supposed to represent positive emotions, they’re supposed to elevate.”
Which part of the story is this mural? Where is this in her storyline?
DAAS: “Well, I’m still developing it. I’m kind of following it as it goes. I just started doing it about three murals ago, so I’m still kind of in this process of figuring it out. What is this story after this one? I’m starting to focus on that. I need to really lay out the whole idea.
“But I want to keep her the same age, you know? So my next mural will feature her, and until the foreseeable future, I’ll keep using these experiences. I guess it’s kind of a way for me to kind of go back in time, just reflect on less hectic, closer to nature kinds of feelings that I don’t really get much in such a big city all the time. I don’t really get to experience that, so I’m kind of following it.”
Where are the other three murals that you’ve painted with this girl?
DAAS: “There’s one in Italy and there’s two in China.”
Born in Jacksonville, Florida, DAAS lives in Japan. His bold designs blend cubism and abstract techniques. He does canvas work in his studio and paints murals around the world.
DAAS uses an intricate taping process to scale his rendering on a wall before he starts to paint. This mural was completed in 7 days with only spray paint, and became one of the artist’s favorite designs in his career.
Watch a video of DAAS at work during SHINE 2018