A 1974 pop single that could be the unofficial theme song of the Global Peace Film Festival asked plaintively, "What's so funny 'bout peace, love and understanding?" At the 2021 iteration of GPFF, artist Leo Bianchi brings a dozen pop songs to visual life in service of the fest. Not that one, but still, it's a playlist deeply concerned with change for the better.
GPFF founder Nina Streich chose Michael Jackson's "Heal the World" as the official theme of the fest for its pro-change, pro-child lyrics. And "Heal the World" is just one of Bianchi's paintings at Do the Evolution, the GPFF-affiliated exhibition currently hanging at CityArts.
Pearl Jam's "Do the Evolution," Imagine Dragons' "Radioactive," "Land of Confusion" by Genesis and more are illustrated by Bianchi — or in fact, by his artist's nom de brosse, GMcFly — in Do the Evolution. Their sinuous, splurty lines belie the weighty subject matter, drawing in the viewer and turning that grin outside-in.
Argentine-born Bianchi, a designer currently working with Orlando-based branding firm Larimer & Co., brings a vintage-cartoony vibe to his works. He's inspired by the "rubber-hose style" (so called for the characters' rubbery, jointless limbs) of early animators like Ub Iwerks, Tex Avery and the Fleischer Brothers — but even if you know nothing about the history of animation, you'll respond to these bendy bois, advocates all for social justice.
"For some, the United States is a true manifestation of the 'American Dream,' yet, for many individuals both nationally and globally, basic human and civil rights are abridged and jeopardized with a judicial system that has eroded confidence and trust," says Bianchi. "It is my wish that my art opens up dialogue and sparks change."
The sparks will fly at CityArts through Oct. 17.