Michelangelo had the Sistine Chapel, Jason Kennedy has the Cayman Cabana. The talented artist has transformed the blank canvas of the whitewashed walls of the waterfront bar into a vibrant mural that is turning heads in George Town.
“It’s colorful, it’s refreshing, it’s something a little bit different for Cayman. We hope people will like it,” said Mr. Kennedy, who spent around 12 hours on a hydraulic lift painting the enormous piece of street art over the weekend.
The mural shows a cartoon blue iguana – styled on Cabana owner Luigi Moxam – wearing a felt hat and heart-shaped sunglasses as he beats out a rhythm on a pair of drums.
“It is Luigi’s vision to wrap the building in art work. We worked together on the concept for around a month. We wanted it to be Caymanian, but we wanted it to be original – not just blue skies and palm trees,” said Mr. Kennedy.
Mr. Moxam, who owns the bar and the One Tree Four Five clothing and entertainment company said the funky blue iguana was based on a character called UBoy, the emblem of the brand, originally inspired by a three-pawed iguana he adopted as part of a conservation program.
“We wanted to do something expressive and creative that would bring the street to life. When you travel and you see street art it reflects the people and the culture and the vibrancy of the community. That’s something that’s been missing in Cayman. Jason had done some stuff for us before and I really like his style. He pulled this off perfectly,” Mr. Moxam said.
It’s the first time Mr. Kennedy has ever produced anything on this scale. Normally he paints on 5 foot by 4 foot canvas. Bringing his unique style to a larger backdrop was not without challenges.
“The biggest obstacles were the windows and doors. We had to try to find a way of incorporating them into the design,” he said.
“It’s physically demanding too. Both my shoulders are still sore and my legs are sore from balancing on the lift. I had to keep jumping off to make sure I got the perspective right.”
The artist worked through the weekend on the mural, putting the finishing touches to his piece at 2.30 a.m. on Sunday. So far, he says, the reaction has been positive.
“As I was painting, lots of people were asking about it and saying very positive things. People were happy to see something original and vibrant happening in George Town. The idea of art is to get some kind of reaction and so far it’s all been good.”
Mr. Moxam said he had been getting calls from around the world as the image spread on social media.
“Hopefully, it’s something that everyone will stop and look at and tourists can take a picture.”
The artwork will be the front for a new “Made in Cayman” store, which will include works from local artists, including Mr. Kennedy.