SHINE
Artist: Hoxxoh, Photo: by Edel Mohr

Michael Vasquez

About Michael Vasquez

Based out of: Miami, Florida
A St. Petersburg native, working out of Miami, Vasquez is a figurative artist best know for his focus on urban, street culture and identity. His work has been shown in galleries around the world including a current exhibit at the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery in Washington DC. This is Vasquez’ first large-scale mural.
The mural by Michael Vasquez on the front wall of 2260 1st Avenue South, is one of three murals on this single-story building. It’s titled, Let’s Go Back.

The impressionistic view of the former St. Pete Pier is like an old-fashioned Florida postcard, with a delicate blue sky surrounding the angular upside-down pyramid that was demolished in 2015.

That pier design was always controversial, but unique. The classic Mediterranean-style pier famous in the 1920s made way for the inverted pyramid in 1973, an effort to help St. Petersburg be seen as hip and modern.

The mural takes up the entire wall, 60 feet long and 14 feet high. The Pier is painted slightly left of center, at the end of a long dock connecting to St. Petersburg’s downtown. It’s white, with huge dark triangular windows and bright red, blue and yellow blocks of color. The roof is wide and square, and the building narrows at the bottom, an upside-down pyramid shape. Low, white buildings and blue buildings with white roofs cluster around the base, with palm trees bristling between them.

To the right of the Pier, at the center of the mural, are a father and son standing in the water, close to us, with fishing poles.

Their backs are toward us. The father’s looking down and to the right, toward his son, and reaching out his right hand to assist. The boy has a much smaller, yellow fishing pole. He’s looking toward the Pier.

The father wears a baseball cap, that holds his dark hair in a rounded ponytail. He wears a light blue shirt and black knee-length shorts. The boy has unruly dark hair, black shorts and a bright red shirt. They’re standing in the shallow water, with a blue and yellow fishing float washed up beside them. The view is framed by the downtown St. Petersburg shoreline in the lower right and left corners, raised above the water with a secure concrete edge and freshly-mowed grass.

The colors are the colors of a classic painted postcard. The bright red of the boy’s shirt matches the red block on the Pier, and the yellow panels on the Pier are the same shade as the yellow on the fishing float and the boy’s fishing pole.

But the blue sky and blue water are more layered and complex than any postcard. The sky is many shades of light and darker blue, riddled with peaks and valleys halfway between clouds and imaginary mountains. Large blue circles fringed with geometric lacy patterns blend into the sky. And on the right as the dock leads to downtown, the sky becomes more abstract and geometric, with blue arcs like sound waves undulating across the dock and a lacy white circle poised above the green grass.

The water that the father and his son are standing in is roiling with small waves and whitecaps.

On the left side of the wall, a door with a circular overhang is barely noticeable – both the door and metal overhang are painted to become part of the mural.

Michael Vasquez spent most of his career documenting and painting street kids, including in his hometown of St. Petersburg. Many of these children joined gangs, to be part of a substitute family. Michael’s paintings have earned national attention, including in the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery in Washington DC.

This is Michael Vasquez’s first mural. It reimagines his childhood in St. Pete. Michael grew up with a single mom, and chose to use this wall to imagine what his childhood could have been, fishing with his father.

The abstract lacy patterns in the background were created by his friend, the artist Hoxxoh, who used aerosol cans and a modified house painting sprayer to create the clouds. The lacy diamond patterns are recognizable from the larger mural Hoxxoh created just a couple of blocks away, at 2130 Central Avenue.

Address: 2260 1st Ave S

Notes: As of 2021, this mural is no longer visible.

Installation Date: 2015

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Brain Storm2020

Brian Butler2020

Lili Yuan2020

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BASK2020

Tatiana Suarez2020

Elle LeBlanc2020

Mason Schwacke2020

Alex Yanes2020

Kenny Coil and Marc Berenguer2020

Nneka Jones and Bianca Burrows2020

IBOMS2020

Cecilia Lueza2019

George Rose2019

Morning Breath2019

Vitale Brothers2019

Cory Robinson-CLEAN Campaign2019

SHOK-12019

Taylor White2019

Reda3sb2019

Princess Smith2019

Brian McAlister, Gibbs High Mural Club and Boys & Girls Club Members2019

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Paola Delfin2019

Jimmy Breen and Anthony Freese2019

Drew Merritt2019

Low Bros2019

Jay Hoff2019

Taj Tenfold2019

Leo Gomez2019

Palehorse2019

Blaine Fontana and Plastic Birdie2019

David Charlton2019

Todd Frain and Creative Clay2019

Haider Ali2018

Ya La Ford2018

Gibbs Rounsavall2018

Angela Faustina2018

Bekky Beukes2018

LOOK The Weird2018

Belin2018

Melanie Posner2018

Illsol2018

J and S Signs2018

Sarah Page2018

Nomad Clan2018

Tasko2018

Cecilia Lueza2018

Matt Kress2018

Michael Vahl2018

Noirs One2018

DAAS2018

Justin Wagher2018

ZuluPainter2018

Matthew Hoffman2018

Hueman2017

Joram Roukes2017

Jose Mertz2017

Stephen Palladino2017

Yok and Shero2017

Herbert Scott Davis2017

Jujmo2017

Lauren YS2017

Mikael B2017

ZuluPainter and Thirst2017

Axel Void and L.E.O.2017

Suarez Art2017

Cryptik2017

Daniel "R5" Barojas2017

Sam Yong2017

Ali Vasquez and Todd Frain2016

Angela Delaplane2016

Apexer2016

Arlin Graff2016

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Daniel Mrgan2016

Pixel Pancho2016

Michael Reeder2016

Alex Pardee2016

Cecilia Lueza2016

Jade2016

Pantonio2016

Nosego2016

ZuluPainter2016

Dasic Fernandez2016

Caratoes2016

Mark Gmehling2016

Ya La Ford2016

Ink Werkz Crew2016

Andrew Spear2015

Chad Mize, James Oleson and Pinellas County Center for the Arts2015

Erik Jones2015

Hitnes2015

Hoxxoh2015

Michael Vasquez2015

Shark Toof2015

Morning Breath2015

Ricky Watts2015

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Carrie Jadus2015

BASK2015

Greg Mike2015

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Ya La Ford2015

Carrie Jadus2015

Vitale Brothers2015