Up and down the streets of Gainesville, avid restaurant-goers and nightlife aficionados often stand near colorful murals that have taken charge of the city’s eclectic art scene.
From alligators to Tom Petty, the murals strive to represent Gainesville and artistically bring the aspects that define the city to life. There’s just one common factor: the hands behind them.
Gainesville locals and full-time artists Jesus, 46, and Carrie Martinez, 50, are the co-founders of Visionary FAM, a mural production company that has graced the walls of various Gainesville businesses with more than 160 murals.
“We love our community, we love Gainesville,” Mrs. Martinez said. “We’re not some artists just floating into town and then leaving.”
The business traces its roots back to Visionary CrossFit, a gym, art gallery and event space founded by the couple in 2014. The space provided its patrons with a comfortable and creative space to exercise while admiring the art that was plastered on its walls — including that of the business owners.
Visionary Crossfit closed down during the COVID-19 pandemic, but Jesus and Carrie’s reputation had already been established in Gainesville. Full-time mural painting came naturally.
The couple founded Visionary Fine Art Murals in April of 2015, and they’ve been painting murals for businesses throughout the Gainesville area ever since.
Jesus and Carrie understand the effort that goes into running a business. By attracting people to places via bold murals, they’re dedicated to helping local businesses be successful, Mrs. Martinez said.
Visionary FAM has painted murals for many popular locations around Gainesville including restaurants like Mi Apá and Flaco’s and locations crucial to Gainesville nightlife such as Simon’s, Downtown Fats, White Buffalo and Vivid Music Hall.
John Pop, 33, an operating partner at Vivid Music Hall, said he recalls asking other businesses about their respective murals and hearing the same name more than once.
“They’ve just done so much of Gainesville,” Pop said. “[They’ve] become a Gainesville staple.”
Visionary FAM’s most recent project can be found at UF Health Rehabilitation Hospital, where the duo adorned the walls of the hospital’s courtyards with a total of six murals representing Florida’s rich wildlife — including vivid interpretations of turtles, manatees and more.
Long-time Floridians, the couple sought to highlight the abundant nature that defines the state. This project allowed them to tap into the flora and fauna of Florida, the state they proudly call home, Mrs. Martinez said.
Michael Hoffer, the hospital’s director of plant operations, described the courtyards as dull and uninviting before Visionary FAM was able to animate the space with their bold and vibrant artwork.
“They provided us with a lot of examples of their work throughout the community. We were just very happy with the way they presented themselves to us,” said Hoffer, 44.
Visionary FAM has captured the attention of the city’s inhabitants — including fellow local artists.
Julie Santana, 36, an artist and the creator of Twoeleven Art, said she came across Visionary FAM’s murals while driving around Gainesville when she first moved to the city.
“The idea that it’s a husband and wife, I think, is super awesome,” Santana said. “It’s very rare that you’ll see a husband and wife, especially in the art world, come together and work together to create a piece.”
The couple’s creative range is remarkably broad, and their artistic flexibility is very admirable, Santana added.
Visionary FAM’s latest venture is a roadside billboard-style mural for a regenerative farm in Newberry. But they won’t stay away from Gainesville long.
“We just go in there and do what we do: create magic,” Mrs. Martinez said.
Contact Amanda at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @amandacrubio.
Amanda Rubio is a first-year journalism student at the University of Florida and an Avenue staff writer at the Alligator. When she isn’t writing, you’ll probably find her reading romance novels; binge-watching Glee, which she’s watched an unnecessary amount of times; or somehow finding more ways to make Harry Styles her entire personality.