Mural artist’s unique style began as classroom teaching aid

Mural artist’s unique style began as classroom teaching aid
A mural in Murray Hill by Christopher Sweeney combines two signature themes, an XoRobot and a stretched heart, which signifies Sweeney’s philosophy: Be open to sharing and stretching your heart out big enough to love everyone.
Mural artist Christopher Sweeney puts finishing touches on a colorful mural of his signature stretched hearts and popular XoRobot on the side of the CareMax Pharmacy at the corner of Park and James Streets.

Mural artist Christopher Sweeney puts finishing touches on a colorful mural of his signature stretched hearts and popular XoRobot on the side of the CareMax Pharmacy at the corner of Park and James Streets.

Businesses in two of Jacksonville’s historic districts are spreading a message of love, thanks to the unique style of contemporary street artist – and second-grade teacher – Christopher Sweeney.

The Vero Beach resident was first engaged by Murray Hill Preservation Society to add another mural to its growing collection. Sweeney came to Jacksonville in 2017 over his summer break to paint a 25-foot by 15-foot mural at 813 Edgewood Ave. South, then he was introduced to Carmelo Martinez, chief operations officer for CareMax Pharmacy.

Martinez wanted a mural for the side of his Riverside location at 2789 Park St. and liked what he saw in Murray Hill.

“I think the XoRobot shows a gesture and relays a message to the community that we are part of the family. We are a small, independently-owned business here to support them through convenience and ‘small-town’ service,” said Martinez. “The project was well received by recurring patients. Even some drive-by residents have paused for a quick selfie to post on Facebook or Instagram. Overall we are happy with the artwork.”

Sweeney said his signature style began from a second-grade classroom coloring sheet. “I figured a robot that ran on love and had XO for eyes would be a cool image and positive character, and my class loved him,” said Sweeney. “I thought if kids liked him, adults would too, so I started painting him bigger and bigger and bigger.” 

The other image Sweeney created was a stretched heart, which he has painted in murals in Naples and Vero Beach. “I wanted to have something to show how we can all ‘share the love’ or to show how people often have their hearts pulled in many directions,” he said. “I feel like love is something that everyone can relate to and I love being able to have people feel something when they see my work.”

Sweeney spent five years in Jacksonville, graduating from Jacksonville University in 2013 with a bachelor’s degree in sociology and credits in education and art.

“When I heard about the Jacksonville Murry Hill mural project I jumped at the chance to be a part of helping make Jacksonville more colorful,” he said. “I love coming back and giving back to a city that gave me so much.”


By Kate A. Hallock
Resident Community News

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (No Ratings Yet)
Loading...

You must be logged in to post a comment Login