As a fine artist myself, I’m grateful to live in a city with a thriving art scene. Orlando is home to many talented artists. Orlando artist JEFRË is one who stands out. He is a world-renowned Filipino American artist that specializes in environmental art and couture landscapes. His artworks can be appreciated throughout the world in major cities like London, Miami, New Orleans, Philadelphia, Abu Dhabi, San Antonio, and Manila.
Making Our Cities Unforgettable
JEFRË has been a part of a variety of art projects from community design to art installations and sculptures. He approaches every new community project with curiosity. When designing artwork for public spaces, he designs in a way that brings people together to share a common experience.
If you live in Orlando, you may have seen some of JEFRË’s work. He is the artist behind some of Lake Nona’s most iconic art pieces like The Beacon. It’s a six-story installation that displays stunning visuals in Lake Nona’s Town Center. JEFRË also helped design the Code Wall parking garage. The garage is surrounded by specialized dichroic glass with imagery and messages written in binary code. It reveals the vision of Lake Nona — to inspire.
Another iconic sculpture in Lake Nona designed by JEFRË is Disco, a 35-foot 3,100-pound stainless steel sculpture resembling a golden retriever. This massive sculpture sits at the southeast entrance to the Town Center’s main parking structure in Lake Nona. I love that the sculpture is reflective and picks up the surrounding colors and environment.
Orlando Museum of Art Exhibit, JEFRË: Points of Connection
JEFRË even had his first solo museum exhibition JEFRË: Points of Connection at the Orlando Museum of Art that wrapped up at the beginning of this year. It was a beautiful, interactive exhibit where the artwork was accompanied by stanzas from his poem “Heart to Heart”. The themes of the exhibit explored the artists’ immigrant background and his history with heart disease.
One Peace, One Love
JEFRË’s installation, One Peace, One Love, includes two figures covered in living sheet moss. This interactive piece allowed you to become part of the artwork. You would simply walk up to the nearby machine and it would take a picture of your eye. Then, your eye would appear on the display cube. The experience is accompanied by a soundscape by Grammy-winning Ayo the Producer.
This art installation, Rice Field, is an ode to JEFRË’s Filipino heritage. He created it with 10 thousand pounds of white and brown rice. There are thirteen stripes of white and brown rice which is a reference to the United States flag. The topography is meant to resemble the rolling hills or ocean waves of an Asian landscape. It symbolizes the obstacles and efforts of his parents’ immigration journey and life’s journey in general.
This piece is called Talking Heads. Inside these head-shaped sculptures are neon lights with positive words like free, independent, and brave. The beauty of this collection is that the words are in a variety of different languages.
These pieces are from the Baks Series. The heads of the human-shaped sculptures are blocks because JEFRË believes that humans are the building blocks of cities. Each sculpture is a representation of a word like passion and empowerment.
World’s Tallest Heart Sculpture
JEFRË has a few upcoming sculptures scheduled to be completed within the next couple of years. By 2022, viewers should be able to visit the world’s tallest heart sculpture designed by JEFRË in Port St. Lucie. A public dedication is expected to occur on Valentine’s Day of 2022.
Pending: Jacksonville Riverfront
Most recently, JEFRË submitted a $12 million art design as part of a design competition in Jacksonville. If his design is the winning piece, it will become a new landmark on the Jacksonville Riverfront. His abstract design is inspired by the river itself as if it was coming out of the water in a scripted, fluid form.
I’m grateful for people like Orlando artist JEFRË who really help make a city what it is. Lake Nona would not be the same without the striking art pieces embedded into its pubic places. It definitely wouldn’t be as cool.
What are your favorite pieces from JEFRË?