Jay Hoff with Chad Mize
and LGBTQ+ Teen Volunteers
Tucked in a quiet parking lot at 2437 Central Avenue, is a bright celebration of color, identity. . . and Legos.
St. Petersburg’s Jay Hoff uses Lego bricks as his artistic medium, to create imaginative artwork and surprisingly realistic portraits. On his first mural, he translated the idea of Lego bricks into real bricks on a wall, 12 feet high and 50 feet wide.
Pride and Love is designed as a positive image of LGBTQ+ identity, with a giant, bright red heart at center stage – framed by hands stretching as high as the wall, hands in every color of the Pride and Trans flag.
video by Marcus Oania
The images are jagged, as if they’re built from squared-off Lego bricks – Legos the size and shape of the real bricks that the wall is made of. Jay even used a stencil to paint the official Lego logo on each brick, so it looks as if the wall is really made of Legos.
The mural faces West, onto a narrow parking lot between storefronts on the North side of Central Avenue. The background is white. A wide red heart outlined in white floats in the center of the wall. Jay wanted it to be the perfect setting for people to pose proudly, for photos.
The heart is set over a row of tall, bright-colored hands stretching as high as the wall, with fingers reaching past it.
A giant gold hand on the left and a richly green hand on the right cradle the heart, and are partly covered up by it. The gold hand is reaching down, and accented with scattered squares of pale pink. The green hand is reaching up, the edges are accented in pale blue.
Beside the gold hand on the left is an orange hand outlined in gold, that’s reaching up. And up against the left edge of the mural is half of a red hand reaching down, accented in squares of pink and orange. A grey breaker box and an electrical box and conduit stretching toward an overhead light, are held between the red hand’s thumb and forefinger.
On the right side of the mural, beside the green hand that holds the heart, a rich blue hand is reaching down and accented with squares of light blue. A horizontal window of glass bricks cuts across the palm.
And on the right edge of the mural, half of a rich purple hand accented with squares of pink stretches up, sheltered by the branches of a small oak tree.
The purple hand – and the mural – stops at a narrow concrete strip at the front of the building. At the bottom of the grey concrete is stenciled lettering in black capital letters, that reads –
Pride and Love
by Jay Hoff
and Chad Mize
and the initials of 27 gay, transgender and non-binary teens from Metro Inclusive Health, who helped paint this mural.
Muralist Chad Mize, whose murals and design work are seen throughout St. Pete’s downtown, assisted Jay Hoff with his first mural. The team got this mural done before SHINE’s official start, so the artwork could be part of the Come Out St. Pete celebration – a perfect and positive photo opportunity.
Even in the morning shade, before the sunlight hits it, this mural is a happy surprise for anyone who takes a break from busy Central Avenue. It’s playful, bright and glows with color – and the hands and the red heart open to welcome anyone who visits.