This mural by Joram Roukes covers the three-story western wall of 2201 Central Avenue, facing the LGBT Welcome Center. The background is deep black, the artwork in flamingo pink, shades of ocean blue, and greys, stretched diagonally from the upper left to the lower right.
The mural is massive, 50 feet wide and 45 feet high. It’s a collage of several images, rendered with close, realistic detail to form a cacophonous whole. The overall effect is vibrant and disjointed but Floridian, like a tourist billboard gone wrong.
On the bottom right, a sliver is painted over the black as if it’s a break in the wall – light blue on the bottom, fading to darker blue, then grey – as if we’re seeing water against the horizon, through the wall.
Extending from the water is a large left hand, in swirls of pink up to the knuckles, then turning to blue. The thumb is hidden, the index finger almost straight, and the other fingers are curled inwards.
Over the tip of the index finger, as if it were resting its chest on the hand, is an enormous heron. The heron is in pink, with a brown stripe across the head just over the eye. The bird is facing away from us, angled as if it’s looking through the building at the intersection beyond.
Behind the heron, is a blue and pink striped blanket or towel. We see part of the blanket draped under the heron’s neck, another bit of it extending up and to the left past the heron’s body. A large pink amorphous shape sits to the right of the blanket, under the heron’s beak and flowing down to the hand.
Just above the heron, is a backhoe. The cab of the backhoe is almost the size of the heron. The arm of the backhoe reaches up and to the left, and is covered by the large head of a man.
The man’s head is bright pink. The right side of his neck and shoulder are pink. But most of his neck and collar are grey, like a black and white picture.
His hair is combed neatly. His right eye stares straight ahead. His left eye is missing, just a gaping eye socket. His lips are wide and tightly closed. He has a mustache and wisp of a goatee.
Over his head, at the top left of the mural, is the head and neck of a huge pink bird with dark feathers, with a pale pink cheek and a long, pointed beak. His beak is open, his neck is blue. The bird faces the same direction as the heron, to the right, looking through the wall of the mural.
Jagged blue and pink lines are scrawled across the mural. The artist’s name, “Roukes”, is sprayed like a graffiti tag across the center.
Joram Roukes is from the Netherlands. His work is a dark, humorous play on topics that range from popular culture and global affairs to personal experience. He juxtaposes images to create abstract narratives, and evoke contemplation.
Find out more about Joram Roukes at jroukes.com.
Follow Joram Roukes on Instagram @joramroukes.