MAITLAND, Fla. — Spray-painted stars, sharp colors and Stuff the Magic Dragon: On the exterior wall of the brand new Floyd’s Barbershop in Maitland, there’s no better way to catch the eye of passing traffic.
What You Need To Know
Jonas Never is a freelance mural artist who has painted around Central Florida
Never was tasked with painting an Orlando Magic-themed mural at the new Floyd’s Barbershop in Maitland, spending five days on this piece
He included classic Magic players, Penny Hardaway and Shaquille O’Neal, as well as Stuff
The LA-based artist specializes in sports murals, recently creating a Shohei Ohtani mural after he signed with the LA Dodgers
“This light’s so busy, you know, at Horatio and 17-92, so people are stuck looking at it,” muralist Jonas Never said. “And if it gets some talking, gets them stopping, then it’s good for the area.”
Locals know these lights take nearly forever to change around Maitland City Center, and even though Never isn’t from the area originally, he has learned quite a bit about Central Florida.
“Just painting here, you get to know the area that you know, you go to different places for lunch everyday,” he said. “You get to walk around and also find like on a the fifth or sixth, maybe seven people have done in Central Florida. So trying to get a better feel for my way around.”
Never has painted in the Orlando area in the past with a mural of Bob Ross in Winter Park and a Mr. Rogers painting at Rollins College. The Los Angeles-based muralist saw an opportunity to bring the Orlando community together through sports.
“The Magic’s really the biggest part being here, so and driving around, I never saw any Magic murals,” he said. “The 90s players are kind of forever, and Stuff’s been with the team forever, so it’s a little more of a timeless quality.”
Art, and large-scale art, has always piqued Never’s interest. He wanted his work to have meaning when it becomes so hard to miss.
“I start doing graffiti — I got used to being big and fast, and I realized that, like, it didn’t really at that point, I wouldn’t go anywhere, Like the Banksy movie hadn’t come out yet. Street art wasn’t a thing,” Never said. “So I was like, ‘What can I paint that might actually have a lasting volume appeal to the neighborhood instead of pissing off the neighborhood?'”
Never’s most well-known murals are of sports figures. Recently, he was tasked with creating a Shohei Ohtani mural in LA after the player signed with the Dodgers. He’s also notably painted murals which include Lebron James, Kobe Bryant, and has collaborated with Netflix for the release of various movies and shows. He knows the power and inspiring mural can have.
“Sports is such a rallying point for our community, because everyone wears, like, that’s a jersey, is just pop culture,” he said. “Movies are stuff that, like, you know, certain areas can take pride in.”
Never is a former college baseball player with the University of California, Riverside.
“When you play sports, you get used to getting up early and, like, working all day and stuff,” he said. “That was kind of the same mentality with getting up here and painting.
“And I love when I get to paint stuff that I remember, watching Penny and Shaq when I was a kid. So it’s cool being able to do that. And with just the players, they get to be a little more serious. And a little more just ‘straight sports’ but with that Little Penny of Stuff, it’s way more fun.”
After first completing a Sandlot-themed wall on one side of the barbershop, Never spent five days working on the Magic mural with just him, Shaq, Penny, Little Penny, and Stuff.
“It’s very gratifying, but it’s also scary because unlike most art, what you do in the privacy of a studio, you do this every step visible, and everyone you see every step of the way. So you kind of got to do right,” Never said. “Really, haven’t seen any Magic murals in the city, so to start with the two icons, I think is a pretty great start and hopefully some local artists will come and do Tracy McGrady and some other guys and keep it going.”