FALL RIVER — As a Fall River native, Rene Gagnon said he’s thrilled to be among the artists creating murals as part of the inaugural FABRIC Arts Festival.
Gagnon, along with artists Bráulio Amado and Elian Chali, have created murals that will be lasting pieces from the festival. Trolley tours Saturday will take festival attendees to the sites of the murals as well as past an “art intervention” at the Carousel and to Ferry Street, where artist Albonero has created an art installation at the end of a dock jutting out from the Canned Heat Brewery parking lot.
“It’s the largest mural I’ve ever done and the fact that it’s in Fall River is amazing and that it’s my art (and not a design dictated to him) is even more amazing,” said Gagnon. “My history as a Fall River street artist has come full circle.”
A teacher with the Visual Design Program at B.M.C. Durfee High School, Gagnon is also a successful artist whose paintings are sold through the Gabba Gallery in West Hollywood. From 1986 to 1993, Gagnon was one of the most well-known graffiti artists in Southcoast.
When Gagnon found out the location of his mural, on the north side of Alexandra’s Bridal at 372 South Main St., was on the building that housed the former Capitol Theatre, he was even more excited, he said.
The mural he created is based on his Jagged Tears series of paintings that draw upon Hollywood images from the 1930s through the 1950s. The cloth-like patterns that run through the mural are inspired by Art Deco designs. Gagnon said he also likes burying things in his art and in this mural, he buried the Capitol Theatre logo in the furthermost layer.
“I’m so happy to be doing this in Fall River. I think this is the beginning of something (here in the city),” said Gagnon. “People are beginning to appreciate street art and now the biggest street artists are doing these murals. It’s a lot of work, especially the one I’m doing, but it’s worth it.”
A few buildings up from Gagnon’s work, Amado created a mural based on his interaction with local art students in the Youth Experiencing Art and Hope program. On Wednesday, Amado met the students at their YEAH studio at Narrows Center for the Arts for a workshop.
Amado said he posed five questions to the students about themselves and Fall River. But instead of responding with words, the students were tasked with responding visually. At the end of the workshop, the students came up with various images that Amado incorporated into the mural. “It’s a purely visual mural combining all these stories,” he said.
The third mural, designed by Argentinean street artist Chali, is on a building at the corner of Bank and Greene streets.
FABRIC Arts Festival was organized by Casa dos Açores de Nova Inglaterra, with the curatorship of international art impresarios Jesse James, Sofia Carolina Botelho and António Pedro Lopes.
For a complete schedule of events, parking details and more information about the festival, visit fabricfallriver.com.