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The Writing on the Wall–Local Artist 5ivefingaz Creates a Movement

“Quiet people have the loudest minds,” said the late Stephen Hawking. It made me think of my friend 5ivefingaz: artist, author, activist, and a bit of an enigma. He has created a movement with one goal: to spread love. “Everyone has something or someone they love,” he says. “It’s a commonality we share as humans.”

Quiet but not shy, soft spoken and insightful, 5ivefingaz listens well but also has a lot to say. And he says it loudly and in technicolor on walls, sidewalks, shipping containers, and giant canvases he creates and exhibits in the most unexpected places and by unusual means. Just by chance, I found one of the pieces he had hidden for his scavenger-hunt giveaway. He posted on social media that it was out there in the world for the taking. No one had found it for days. It was hidden near the estuary where I walk my dogs. The piece hangs in my kitchen. It reads, “I opened two gifts this morning. My eyes.”

This South Norwalk native created the Love More Than Ever movement in 2017 while living in Chicago. The movement is catching on, with some international exposure and some 43,000 followers on Instagram. “I started putting up canvases with the hand-painted words ‘Love More Than Ever’ in the South Side of Chicago. Then I brought it back to the East when I moved back. I use the movement as a way to uplift anyone that comes across it.” 5ivefingaz explained this when I visited him as he worked on his installation, “Love Box,” which includes a colorful tribute to Mr. Rogers, with the words, “I like love you just the way you are.”

The installation is now complete and can be seen in Isaac Square, across the street from 22 Leonard Street and Mad Lab, a shared art studio space where local artists work and collaborate.

The Love More Than Ever movement is “working to shift the paradigm from hate and bigotry to love and acceptance.” And 5ivefingaz does this using a variety of media, not just street art. He talks at local schools about his life experience, creates scavenger hunts, and promotes positivity on social media. He has written and illustrated a book Love More Than Ever, the Little Book of Big Love that explains the basic tenets in a rhyming scheme inspired by one of his heroes—Dr. Seuss. “The audience is everyone—not just children,” he explains.

“The message is universal. It’s not political. It’s about being there for people and uplifting those around you. The movement is about positivity, but not false positives,” he says. He provides his contact information to students when he speaks at schools and tells them to reach out if they are ever feeling low. “I do my best to get back to everyone within 48 hours.”

Along the way he created a distinctive stencil-type logo for Love More Than Ever. In 2019, Reebok began replicating his logo on T-shirts sold in Dick’s Sporting Goods stores in the U.S. and internationally. “My friend called me to congratulate me on ‘my brand’ being in Dick’s. I was like, ‘What?’ I saw for myself and was in shock. I wanted to grab all the shirts with my designs on them and walk out of the store. This is a grassroots movement, not a brand to be exploited.” He is currently involved in a lawsuit.

At first, he was not being taken seriously, but it turns out he may be David to the Goliath Reebok. “In this case, I want to help develop a law that will protect the art.”

Why “5ivefingaz?” The name harkens back to his time in high school when he listed his many passions to a guidance counselor. She dramatically counted his passions out on one hand and told him, “You can’t be good at everything; you have to choose.” While he liked her, he didn’t agree. “My name became 5ivefingaz—first as a DJ, and later as a street artist.”
When asked his greatest influences, 5ivefingaz’s answers are a little surprising. “Besides my mom and dad? Albert Einstein. Of course, Basquiat, Picasso, Haring, and Warhol. But there was a little-known street artist in the ’70s and ’80s named Richard Hambleton who I love. Watch the documentary Shadowman when you get a chance.”

@5ivefingaz on Instagram. His art show and book signing is February 15 at Mad Lab.

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