Mural painted outside local art supply store causes controversy

Ivan De Lucia and Atomiko’s mural, painted on the side of De Lucia’s art supply store, was cited by a local official. // Photo Courtesy Ivan De Lucia

Art is in Ivan De Lucia’s genes. Born in Gainesville, Florida, and raised in Valencia, Venezuela, the 36-year-old grew up around artists and the tools of the trade, as his parents founded a paint factory. After moving back stateside to get his bachelor’s degree, De Lucia enlisted the help of his family to open i.d. art Supply & Custom Framing, an art supply store with one location on Biscayne Boulevard and another on South Dixie Highway, right across the highway from UM’s campus.

In light of the difficult social, economic and political climates of the past year, De Lucia decided to use his store as a canvas, enlisting the help of Miami artist Atomiko to paint the pictured mural on the side of i.d. art.

“We decided to paint something to cheer people up, with a mural that reflected the brightness and beautiful colors that identify Florida, and the strength and success of the Miami Hurricanes,” De Lucia said about his choice of what to feature in the mural.

Unfortunately, the City of Coral Gables was not as impressed with the mural as many viewers have been. De Lucia first received a citation from Code Enforcement Officer Amparo Quintana. Then, after seeking approval that would allow the mural to stay up, De Lucia was displeased by the tone in which a city architect referred to the mural, calling it “art” in facetious quotes. In the same email correspondence between Quitana, De Lucia and the architect, the architect went on to say he was not aware of any code that would permit the mural to be displayed.

As it stands, the City of Coral Gables has requested that De Lucia erase the mural completely by Dec. 31, 2016, or face a $500-per-day penalty until he does so.

Considering the hard work and good intentions that went into the artwork, De Lucia is upset that he is being forced to remove it. The fact that the mural does not directly face U.S. 1 and that it was referred to sarcastically made him feel the city is out-of-touch with the mural’s message.

“It will be erased forever,” De Lucia said. “[But] in its moment, it served as a rewarding sign to the community. So, for that, we are grateful.”

While the grim future of i.d. art’s mural is likely irreversible, the spirit in which it was conceived and created by De Lucia and Atomiko is certainly not. For now, the mural is still visible at 1132 South Dixie Highway. And, even though the wall currently inhabited by these smiling oranges will soon be white again, De Lucia has no plans of stopping his effort to bring together artists to create future projects.