This mural by the artist Pixel Pancho is called, “Against Monsanto.” It takes up the entire south-facing wall of the warehouse at 1701 3rd Avenue South.
At the moment, this is the largest mural in St. Petersburg, 40 feet high and 271 feet wide. The wall faces a parking lot of Tropicana Baseball Field.
In the center of the wall are two large robotic figures standing in a garden that stretches the length of the wall, thick with green leaves, white flowers and rust-colored oranges.
The male figure is on our left and female on our right, depicted from mid-torso up. The tops of their heads are sheared off by the edge of the roof. Their simple vintage clothing contrasts with their mechanical, futuristic bodies.
The male’s head is a tall, empty basket made of coins. Some of the coins have faces, each one different. A few have numbers – like 5, or 2. One of them has the image of a leaf. Most of the coins are silver, but some are copper. He has no eyes, nose or mouth, just the shape of a cylindrical head, and a narrow neck that’s also made of coins, disappearing under the collar of an old-fashioned tan shirt with five small white buttons that go halfway down, and thin brown suspenders.
The female figure is more classically robotic, with a distinct face made of metal. But she has dark brown hair, parted in the middle with braids on either side. She wears a dark green vintage dress with puffy white shoulders and a high lace collar. The pattern on the green cloth of her dress is made of coins, echoing the coins on her companion’s head.
Her eyes are round depressions in a metal face, each with a small, white, gold-rimmed button in the middle. A copper nose sits over a thin slit for a mouth. Lines etched in the metal connect the pieces of her face.
Her cheeks are inset bronze grates, round with a pattern of small black hollow crosses. She wears an oblong pendant with a blue stone, at her collar.
Both figures stand still in the garden, looking out at us, like children.
The image is framed on the enormous wall with a thin white border at the top and bottom, and a larger white edge on each side.
The background behind them is horizontal stripes of light green and grey. The leaves of the garden come up to their shoulders.
The garden around them is lush. The large white flowers scattered in the leaves have four long, oval petals, arranged to echo the shape of a cross, and a deep, circular center. Ripe oranges are spaced out in the garden, in clusters of two or three. They’re not brightly-colored storebought oranges, but the dark, rusty, textured red of blood oranges, from the Mediterranean.
On the top left of the mural, against the white background, are the artist’s signature and the title, ‘Against Monsanto.’
The mural is a commentary on the Monsanto agricultural corporation’s patents on genetically-modified seeds, and corporate ownership of the global food supply. As Pixel Pancho explains, “Americans allow companies like Monsanto to spray pesticides on their food, you don’t have controls, you shouldn’t even eat the chickens here.”
Pixel Pancho is an Italian artist who specializes in large-scale wall murals, often with complex robots in earth tones, and inspired “by a forgotten world hidden under a thick blanket of dust and dirt.” His work has been displayed on walls from New Zealand to Turkey, Argentina and Las Vegas.
All the colors were made by hand, mixing white, black, cyan, magenta and yellow. Half a dozen local artists helped out during the ten days it took to complete this mural, which was hand-painted using brush and rollers.