The following is part of the Downtown is on Fire “Firestarters” series, spotlighting people who light up Downtown. They are musicians, restaurant owners, entrepreneurs and Downtown enthusiasts just like you. Learn their stories and find out how you can blaze a trail by building your business in Jacksonville’s hottest neighborhood.
Muralist and illustrator Shaun Thurston leaves his mark on Downtown, one blank space at a time.
Since moving back to Jacksonville in 2010 after a three-year stint in Atlanta, Shaun has created a portfolio of work that lives beyond the pages of a portfolio. His vibrant creations — which range from colorful crystals that attracted thousands of visitors to MOCA Jacksonville, to ethereal islands full of natural wildlife that float above Chamblin’s Uptown, to a frog extending its hands to cradle a fisherman on an Adams Street building — are part of a movement to embrace public art as a vital part of the city’s placemaking efforts.
“When I moved back from Atlanta, I started thinking about doing art Downtown,” says Shaun. “I hope that my work reminds people what it’s like to be in a specific space. When you look at a mural on a city block, it becomes part of your life. That doesn’t happen with a single piece of art on a wall.”