Local Love: Connecting at Brooklyn Station on Riverside

A connection made in the community near Brooklyn Station on Riverside in Jacksonville, FL has since fostered a relationship that has blossomed — in the form of a detailed skyline mural inside fast-casual Vale Food Co. Artist Angelina Kaduk and small business owner Sunny Ilyas partnered on a fun local project to enhance a blank wall inside Ilyas' 1,999 SF eatery.

SunnyIlyasI knew I wanted to work with local artists, and was taking a stroll through the Riverside Arts Market one Saturday near Vale, and was looking at all of the vendors' and artists’ work,” said Sunny Ilyas, owner of Vale Food Co. “I found what I was looking for when I saw Angelina’s work — it immediately stood out to me because some of her illustrations were so detailed with texture, but also had color and layers.

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Ilyas approached her and asked if she’d like to come by and see the oversized blank Vale Food Co. wall he had in mind. She obliged.

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"Sunny came over to my stand at RAM and said he liked my watercolor vegetables and asked if I paint murals,” said Kaduk. "I told him I hadn't done any yet, but would love to try."

They talked through the piece, Angelina mocked it up — and then delivered.

"It was a big wall for her, and she put in so many hours and it really shows,” Ilyas said. "I'm glad to have worked with Angelina and showcase that businesses can work together in the community."

Originally from Ukraine, Kaduk returned to Jacksonville after a brief stint in Seattle. "I’m going on my 5th year in Jacksonville, and I love the city and the art community here. I originally moved to Jacksonville from Ukraine in 2012, followed by a move to the Seattle area in 2014, and returned to Jacksonville in 2016."

I have been painting regularly and systematically sinKadukce middle school, but it was on and off and more of a hobby than anything else,” said Kaduk. "About two years ago, I decided to make it my main occupation and started building my personal brand. I specialize in watercolor but also like to paint in oil and ink. I am a very detail-oriented artist and usually do small paintings, so painting a mural was a bit of a challenge for me and a way to step out of my comfort zone.

Ilyas sees the importance in supporting local artists and has partnered with one in three of his Vale locations throughout Florida.


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