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An unlikely partnership brought pizza and art together to create the Toon Town Warehouse.
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — From covering warehouse walls to painting luxury cars.
One artist’s journey to the top started in an empty building downtown.
“You want people to figure out how it got there, why it got there and when it got there,” said Kyle “KBMR” Montero.
That desire to keep people asking questions and scratching their heads is what drew Montero into graffiti art in the first place.
Up until a few years ago, he was looking to paint anything he could find while he honed his craft.
Fortunately, food truck owner Chance Gerisch had the perfect canvas.
“There was some kids doing live graffiti and selling their art,” said Gerisch. “I walked up to them and said, ‘hey, I got about 28,000 square feet of white walls, canvas, that need color.”
Gerisch had one stipulation – he wanted one of the outside walls to feature a Looney Tunes saloon.
“I liked it because it had my name in it, the fat chance saloon, the last chance saloon, the no chance gambling,” said Gerisch.
Montero painted it with no problem, but that was only the beginning of the cartoons.
Years of work and hundreds of cans later, the entire outside is covered with animations.
They range from little kids shows to adult animation.
Montero isn’t worried about running out any time soon.
“I’ll make a Facebook post, then there’s a million cartoon characters that people drop names of that I’ve never even heard of,” said Montero.
Montero filled up the outside, while other Jacksonville artists have coated the inside.
Gerisch has used it as an event space for a few years, and he just recently opened Toon Town Pizza a few months ago.
He says any time someone comes for a slice, they’ll get to see a whole new scene.
“It’s always changing, because they just take a picture, post it, and it’s free to paint again,” said Gerisch.
Montero’s gone nationwide now – he’s painted football star Keelan Cole’s weight room, the cleats of several Jaguar players and recently wrapped an Acura NSX in spray paint.
“I wouldn’t be where I’m at now if I didn’t have this space to do what I did,” said Montero.
And Gerisch has the restaurant of his dreams.
“I love it,” said Gerisch. “I fell in love with graffiti from him.”
Toon Town is working with the City of Jacksonville to become an official event space, they’ve got some upgrades to do, but once they’re done with that, they’ll be able to host pickleball tournaments, large events and, of course, plenty of graffiti artists.