This mural by the artist Pantónio is at the northwest corner of Central Avenue and 19th Street North, and it takes up the entire east and north sides of the building.
The wall is enormous, 113 feet wide and and 19 feet high if you count where it wraps around the corner to the back side of the building.
The background is white, with swirls of giant fish swimming across it in shades of blue and green. The fish are huge, bigger than a car, long and thin and black with iridescent aqua blue stripes. Each fish has graceful green fins shaped like leaves on a tree, on either side of the head by the gills, and on either side of the tail. It gives the scene the feel of fish swimming in a clump of seaweed, but the wide green leaves are actually attached to them.
The fish are in motion, swirling around each other. In the middle of the large rectangular wall that faces 19th Street, they form a tangled knot – six fish curving, heads pointed down towards the sidewalk. Two fish swim in from the edge of the wall on the left. Several more are headed up and to the right and two are swimming down from the top of the building, most of their bodies cut off by the roof. Two are swimming around the corner.
As the mural spreads around the corner to the north side of the building, space opens up, and a larger, less crowded circle is created. Half of the circle is on the right side of the wall that faces east, the other half of the circle is on the left side of the north wall – so that the complete gigantic circle stretching from the roof to the ground, is only apparent if you’re standing at the corner.
On the smaller, north wall, two giant fish swim in from the east wall, diving from the roof. Two other fish, one larger and one smaller, swim across the bottom of the wall from right to left, headed towards the larger group around the east corner.
This east wall is shaded by huge oak trees, and the artist was very interested in the interplay of shadows from the trees, with the fish. The shadows falling from the oak trees often obscure the tangle of fish on the wall, as happens in the wild.
This is completely hand-painted, using hand-held paintbrushes. The artist Pantónio is from the Portuguese islands of the Azores. His distinct, stylized murals of fish, birds and animals are celebrated from France and Ukraine to Morocco. The creatures that he paints flow and weave and come to life on buildings.