On the afternoon of April 18, a large crowd gathered in the parking lot of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church to enjoy grilled cheese sandwiches and root beer floats while celebrating the final flourishes of Kodi Klocinski’s aerosol arsenal as he put the finishing touches on his latest mural.
Art Minister Kate Philabaum said several titles were considered for the church’s new mural before they settled on “Awakening,” which implies a greater awareness– we are Toledo, and we are not going anywhere.
The vivid colors of Kodi Klo’s freshly painted mural is a beautiful reminder of Toledo’s thriving art scene. While Kodi has painted other murals, this latest work is one of the largest and most colorful murals downtown.
Klocinski began tattooing alongside his father when he was in high school. After graduating in 2009, he began working in the art of the ink full time. His work is influenced by illustrative art, Japanese paintings, sacred geometry and graffiti. Due to the pandemic, Toledo Tattoo was forced to close (it has now reopened). Kodi adapted and began work on his next creative challenge: mural art. Besides the St. Paul’s installation, his mural work can be found at his own Toledo Tattoo Company (4747 N. Summit St.), Fritzie Freeze (5137 Summit St #1), Condado Tacos (5215 Monroe St.), and Salinas Roofing (5313 Secor Rd).
“Awakening” represents five symbolic elements: the Heart Wall around the HeART Gallery’s entrance, the Butterfly, Luther’s Rose, the Gemstone Heart and the Trumpeter Swan. Klocinski works those elements seamlessly together in a bold panorama while emphasizing each piece’s individual significance.
St. Paul’s newest ministry, the HeART Gallery, emerged as an avenue of outreach through the inspiration and community building opportunities surrounding art. Kodi has captured the ministry’s message of inclusion with the Heart Wall with a promise that all are welcome, regardless of circumstance. An orange butterfly, resting on a rose petal, is a Christian symbol of resurrection that represents change, hope and new life. When Kodi included this symbol, he also added subtle swirls throughout the piece, representing winds of change coming from the butterfly’s wings.
Luther’s Rose, a prominent Lutheran symbol, is represented with a contemporary interpretation of Martin Luther’s original design for the seal of his theology, with blue throughout representing the future of heavenly joy. The mural’s centerpiece is the Gemstone Heart. The royal purple amethyst, known as the “King’s Gem,” utilizes patterns and “sacred” geometry from St. Paul’s sanctuary and brings them outside for passersby to enjoy. Kodi selected the towering Trumpeter Swan, which because they were previously in danger of extinction. The swan was then reintroduced at Magee Marsh in 1996, and now the birds flourish, like the city of Toledo itself.
Klocinski’s newest mural is a vibrant addition to downtown Toledo’s public art stock and a symbolic reminder that we will prosper if we are willing to come together.