Tucked away in an unassuming industrial park in Naples, artists come together to express themselves in an underground artistic movement called LiveArt. Professional artists and art-amateurs mix and mingle as they create works of art out of leftover materials donated by people and businesses in the community, often accompanied by a live band.
The unwritten rule of LiveArt is to leave your ego at the door and come ready to collaborate. Professional artist and group member Juan Diaz says that he learned that lesson when he first started painting at LiveArt after the group’s founder began to paint over his work. Accustomed to painting alone in his own studio, the award-winning local artist was understandably jarred, but quickly learned to embrace the sense of community in the shared space.
“He put a hand on my shoulder and said ‘let go man, it’s not about you.’” Says Diaz. “What a great lesson!”
It’s not about making money or even being the greatest artist in the room. Diaz says it’s simply about embracing a shared love of art and helping each other to grow as artists in a space where everyone can feel comfortable regardless of skill level.
“The idea is that when you step through the door, you leave your ego outside. It doesn’t matter who you are in the world. It doesn’t matter if you’re a famous artist or if you just like to paint on Sundays—when you’re painting together, you let go of all that.”LiveArt Art members recently pooled all of their talents to paint and donate a custom mural to the Habitat Collier ReStores. Titled One Universe, One Human Race, One Home, Diaz says the theme of the work is based on the concept that “everything is for all of us and this [planet] is our home.” In total, ten different artists participated in the creation of the mural, each one adding their own talent and perspective to the piece as they visited the LiveArt studio.
In true LiveArt fashion, the 8-feet by 8-feet mural is painted with leftover donated paint on two sheets of plywood. The gift is actually two works of art in one, with the backside of the mural featuring another painting of Diaz’s.
This beautiful gift from Naples’s underground art community is a fitting addition to the Habitat Collier ReStores and can currently be viewed at the East Naples location, thought it may take up residence in the North Naples store in the future. Habitat for Humanity embraces the idea of a whole, supportive, and united community working together to create a better place for everyone, and that’s exactly what this mural embodies.
Special thanks to LiveArt and the individual artists who painted and donated this mural to the ReStores: Monika Bokelmann, Marie James, Catherine Branwood, Adilila Anu, Kelly Messmer, Juan Diaz, Pete Gottschalk, Kaylor McCracken, Matthew Christensen, and Brett Kirchdorfer.