By Abby Cloud | Photo: Kenny Maguire
Since moving to the Tallahassee area in March of this year, artist and muralist Kenny Maguire has most definitely left his mark on both the Sunshine State and its capital city. Maguire, a hidden treasure artist found in the quirky and vibrant Railroad Square Art District, has been a devoted muralist since he was 9-years-old. The Tally Wire was able to speak with Maguire to discuss his life as a local muralist and what it entails for Tallahassee.
Maguire was born in Youngstown, Ohio, “but grew up all over.” During his adolescence, he attended over thirteen different schools, including 4 different high schools. “After graduating high school in Atwater, Ohio, I attended Kent State University, majoring in Fine Art, with an Art History minor,” Maguire shares.
While his formal education in art didn’t happen until he was in college, he likes to note that he has been a freelance artist and muralist all his life. “I’ve been an artist since I was old enough to hold a pencil. I was something of a child prodigy, completing my first professional mural at age 9, for which I was paid $100, in 1978,” says Maguire. Since this first experience with murals, Maguire fell in love with the craft and hasn’t looked back.
After arriving to Tallahassee earlier this spring, the first thing Maguire recalls doing is setting up a gallery at Renditions, An Art Space, in Railroad Square. “I caught the attention of the owners of Railroad Square, and have been commissioned to paint a number of murals here in Tallahassee,” Maguire says.
His first commissioned mural is found inside of the Railroad Square Craft House, and he also has eleven canvasses hanging inside the house. An additional mural can be found in Cascades Grove; the cemented side of the building showcases a large and winding oak tree with branches extending into the bright blue sky and lush greenery. Maguire cleverly calls this his “Tallahassee camouflage” as much of his inspiration is drawn from Tallahassee’s environment. “I get my inspiration from everything around me. Tallahassee has some wonderful trees, and I find living here very inspiring, as trees are some of my favorite subjects,” he shares.
Maguire’s mural expertise does not stop here: “I’ve painted murals in Key West, Stuart, Jensen Beach, Vero Beach, Fort Pierce, Hobe Sound, St. Petersburg, and Dunedin, Florida, as well as all over the country.” So far, his favorite mural that he’s completed is a depiction of a kraken on the side of a building in Fort Pierce, Florida. This mural and more are also featured on the Florida Mural Tour, created by Visit Florida.
Maguire has very big plans for himself for the future. “I have just applied to go back to school to learn digital art at 50-years-old,” he admits. “I believe that artists should always try to improve, learn, and experiment with the very latest tools and techniques.” In addition to his new studies, Maguire has also been commissioned to paint a new mural at the entrance of Railroad Square, which he hopes to begin soon. “The owners are trying to ramp up the image and accessibility of Railroad Square, and I’m happy to be a part of the renaissance!” he excitedly shares.
Maguire looks forward to remaining a permanent resident here in Tallahassee, surrounded by the bustling art scene within Railroad Square and Downtown Tallahassee. “I find Tallahassee to have a vibrant, exciting, and growing art scene, and I’m very happy to be a part of it,” he says. “I can’t wait to start creating and celebrating this wonderful town.”