ORLANDO, Fla. – It all started in a garage with a group of artists thinking about the art scene in the Orlando area. They realized a lot of the artwork on display came from a small sect of artists. That’s when they noticed a lack of representation and decided to collect their resources and call themselves, “The Solution.”
Right now the group features four artists: Genevieve DeMarco, Jamile B. Johnson, Victorious McLeod and Yve.
“The concept of diversity became one of our goals through necessity. At the formation of our group, there were only a few galleries to show at, and they’d only give exhibits to group shows or curators of multiple artists," McLeod said. “If they gave a solo show, it was a pay-to-play game, and they were generally abstract expressionists who had political ties to the gallery. Through the group having multiple styles represented, we would continue to give quality and quantity without sacrificing either.”
The group says they are collectively inspired by social issues.
“Our artwork explores racial concerns, mental health, self-care, and the masks people wear every day in society. We remain motivated to bring awareness to the world through our art,” said DeMarco.
If their artwork looks familiar, you may have seen it driving around. DeMarco and Johnson painted a mural in the Pine Hills area on Silver Star Road. It features Mary Ann Carroll and Alfred Hair from the Florida Highwaymen, a group of African American artists who painted the Florida landscape from the 1950s through the 1980s. Also on the mural, A.E. “Beanie” Backus. He was a landscape artist from Fort Pierce who taught Hair.
One of the owners of Wall Crawl in Orlando saw the mural, and commissioned Johnson to put together a piece at their studio for visitors to take pictures in front of. It features four African American historical figures with direct ties to Parramore: Ella Fitzgerald, Dr. William Monroe Wells, Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune, and Arthur “Pappy” Kennedy.
It’s all part of Black History Month and the wall will be on display until March 29.