Want to know what the Warehouse Arts District Association is up to? Learn about the latest in this blog with features intended to keep members up to date. Also, members should join our closed Facebook group: the WADA Member Network.
WADA Member Artist Jim Gigurtsis' art provokes his viewers by taking the familiar and using a variety of media and techniques to express his emotions and feelings. His work strikes a common chord with his audience through unexpected means. Though his preferred medium is oil painting, he has also used video and installations for his expressions. Recent themes for his work have included explorations of decay and re-generation, as well as some of the issues currently facing Americans.
Jim is very active in the St. Pete arts scene teaching and working daily in his studio. His work has been exhibited extensively and can be found in a number of private and public collections in England, Ireland, Norway, Greece, Canada and the USA.
We asked Jim about his creative process, his inspirations and what he's currently working on. Read on for the details of his current exhibit at the Bilmar Resort Hotel on Treasure Island and his upcoming contribution in Creative Pinellas' Arts Annual.
How long have you been an artist?
I started painting part-time around 2004 and full-time at the end of 2016.
What is your medium and how did you arrive at it?
I am a multi-discipline artist and my work ranges from painting to video to installations. The choice of medium depends on how best a medium works to express my thoughts and emotions. On occasion I use multiple mediums in the same project to reflect the different perspectives of a subject. For example, I recently used portraits together with a video to depict non-verbal communication via Morse code.
I have tried different mediums from watercolour to gauche to acrylics to oils, but oils give me the flexibility to push and pull the composition until I am happy with the result. Oils on canvas or linen is my preferred medium for paintings. For commissions, I always use raw linen that I stretch and prepare myself. At times I even grind my own pigments.
What inspires your art?
My inspiration comes from my surroundings, events, and news, in addition to my personal experiences and travels. My art expresses my thoughts, emotions and dreams to evoke an emotional bond with the viewer. I create a visual comfort zone for the viewer by using recognizable images, but then juxtapose these images by adding and subtracting lines, shapes and colour to stir the viewer’s visual and visceral responses.
Recent work is driven by themes such as “Mortality” or “Decay and Re-generation”. I research my themes history, chronology and then depict what the theme makes me feel rather than copy an image or paint an illustration. For example, for the mortality theme I created a triptych which reflects the three top death rates: obesity, opioids and smoking. Titled “3 of Too Many” each panel is an oil painting on canvas with added objects such as pills, cigarettes and doughnuts.
Decay and Re-generation is a subject that intrigues me as it is a process we all go through on a daily basis. I am depicting human existence at a moment in time where there is contradiction between what is visually expected and my depiction of the essence of the person. For this subject it is all about allowing my emotions and feelings to drive the composition.
Are you a St. Petersburg native?
I moved to Pinellas County from Europe four years ago. Prior to the pandemic, I was in St. Petersburg every week enjoying arts and cultural activities and also teaching an “Expressive Still Life” course at the Morean Arts Center every Monday.
How is it being an artist in St. Petersburg?
St. Petersburg has a very supportive community for the arts and artists. There are a lot of cultural events, art events and art galleries as well as some amazing music and theatre venues. There are also a lot of opportunities for artists to work with others and to engage the community to participate. The “Second Saturday Art Walk” is just one example of an event that I enjoy.
Why did you join the Warehouse Arts District Association?
I wanted to meet other artists, collaborate, network and exchange ideas. WADA is a great organisation that actively promotes collaboration and supports networking.
Can you tell us a little about your creative process?
I work daily in my studio developing ideas. There is not day that goes by where I am not either creating art, studying art or selling art. Some of my time is spent understanding client requirements and discussing compositions for portraiture commissions.
I also work with my collectors going through my art to choose the pieces they like. I tend to meet collectors either through word of mouth or because they have seen one of my commissioned portraits.
Is there anything coming up that you would like to promote, any new works?
My website is www.gigurtsis.com. I developed and maintain the website and I photograph and upload my work to the website. On the website you will also find a dedicated gallery for the latest work, as well as, information on workshops and courses. To view the comprehensive collection, please visit the website.
I have had the pleasure of participating in many exhibitions over the years in both the U.S. and Europe. With the support of Creative Pinellas, I am currently exhibiting a number of my atmospheric landscapes at the Bilmar Hotel Resort, Treasure Island. These are on display around the reception area of the hotel. I hope you can make the trip to see them.
I am also working on a number of exciting new pieces that will be exhibited at Creative Pinellas’ Annual Art Exhibition. These works further explore the subject of Decay and Re-generation and also address some of the challenges we are currently facing in the USA. I hope you can all come and see the work at the Gallery at Creative Pinellas November 12th to December 20th.
I teach portraiture courses. One course is focused on tools and techniques I developed for capturing the likeness of a person for a portrait. This is a 6 week course, with 3 hours per week, using a life model. By the end of the course each artist will have completed at least two portraits.
At the Morean Arts Center every Monday night I teach an “Expressive Still Life” course. I give demonstrations on still life and portraiture painting techniques to groups of artists and give private art lessons in my studio.
Information for the courses and demonstrations can be found on my website under “Resources.”
Oil on flat Canvas
16 x 20
Oil on Canvas
30 x 24
3 of Too Many (Triptych)
Oil on Canvas, Cigarettes, Pills, Artificial Donuts, Glue
The Desperate Man, Interpretation of "Le Desespere" by Gustave Courbet (1819 - 1877)
Oil on Linen, Eyelets, Hooks
The Warehouse Arts District Association (WADA) proudly announces the winners of the Artists Member Art show with the theme “I Need A Drink! Cocktail Hour.” Thanks to WADA Business Member Damien Bertucelli of Vantage Point Advisors of Raymond James who sponsored this member show, we are offering 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place prizes of $300, $200 and $100, respectively for best of show paintings!
Winners were selected based on based on overall impact, originality, creativity, composition and mastery of technique. You can find all the entries here.
And the winners are:
ArtsXchange resident artist, Tripp Farrell's fun, edgy paintings will surely catch your attention as well as make you smile. Tripp has a keen eye for finding inspiration everywhere -- whether it’s in people, reading new literature, identifying fashion trends, traveling abroad, or just listening to new music. Tripp has been exposed to cultures from all over the globe, and his family roots from Australia have helped to give his artwork a unique, eclectic, colorful, and nostalgic feel. He invites you to visit his studio #209 every 2nd Saturday Artwalk or by appointment. Enjoy an interview with Tripp!
I began painting in 2008, although I grew up educating myself in all art mediums and briefly dabbled in musicianship. My art logo/brand is called McNealyART.
I paint in mixed media. As I researched other artists, I found that I looked up to mixed media artists and how they mastered their techniques.
What inspires your art? I seem to have a keen eye for finding inspiration everywhere-whether it’s in people, reading new literature, identifying fashion trends, traveling abroad, or just listening to new music. Also, I find life experience is a creative catalyst for me and I believe “we should all aim to teach or be taught wisdom by another at any given moment.” Each new encounter has a purpose, each person a piece to the overall puzzle of his exciting life. You can identify that puzzle ideology in my paintings, where I construct figures seemingly from puzzle pieces that comprise the person or object of focus in each work of art.
Are you a St. Petersburg native?
Yes, my family and I live in the Coffee Pot Bayou area of the Old Northeast.
How supportive do you feel the St. Petersburg community is for the arts and artists?
Very supportive! We're lucky to live in an area where art is encouraged in all mediums.
I saw being a member as an opportunity for personal and local growth.
What else should we know about you?
I want to be on the front page of opportunity and I want to make our world better for having been here. Please visit my website: https://trippfarrell.wixsite.com/mcnealy for more art and an overall background into my life. And, since I am not one to rest on my laurels, I have completed my Master's Degree in Global Merchandising from Florida State University and recently welcomed a beautiful baby boy named Whit into the world with my lovely and always supportive wife Jennifer. Last but not least, things show no sign of slowing down for me as there are “a lot of colors, shapes, and tastemaking” that go into manifesting my work—and I just want to grab viewers and continue to engage them.
Jessica Rivelli is the Founder of Working Women of Tampa Bay. The organization has been in existence for 11 years and currently has 750 members. It is the largest women’s networking organization in Tampa Bay. Keeping networking simple is key. They promote professional and business growth through establishing relationships that can provide referrals, new skills, and connecting women with resources. The organization strives to hold 20 events a month.
Jessica was born in Rhode Island but grew up in Florida. She graduated from Elon University in North Carolina with a degree in Broadcast Journalism and worked as a television news producer for 10 years. During this time she desired to connect and network with other women professionals and created Working Women of Tampa Bay as a result. The organization grew rapidly and she decided to dedicate herself to the organization full time.
Her interest in WADA is a focus on assisting women artists with the business aspect of their art. Working Women of Tampa Bay can assist artists with website building, graphic design, social media, and anything else a budding art business requires. She sees the organization as being symbiotic as well as reciprocal to women artists. In addition, she wanted the organization to be affordable and easily accessible. Late 2019, Working Women Of Tampa Bay hosted a headshot party at the ArtsXchange change Tully Levine Gallery. She brought in makeup artists and photgraphers for the event. She understands that owning your own business can be a rollercoaster ride. There will be slow seasons and seasons that are completely packed. Words that resonate with all artists. We welcome Working Women of Tampa Bay as a business member of the Warehouse Arts District Association. Visit workingwomenoftampabay.com to view their events and learn information on how to become a member.
Founder Jessica Rivelli and other Working Women of Tampa Bay members
Dylan Todd is a varied artist. While Dylan’s commission work spans the spectrum of photography, from portraiture to weddings, products to real estate, his fine-art is often self-as-subject portraiture and landscape photography.
Dylan, born 1991, began studying photography in high school and continued to the Southeast Center for Photographic Studies where he learned and worked at the Southeast Museum of Photography in their collection and youth programing.
In 2014, Dylan moved to Tampa Bay. After working in various roles, he picked the camera back up in 2017 and opened his first studio space in the Pinellas Park Arts Village. In late 2019, he moved his studio to the ArtsXchange in the Warehouse Arts District.
Currently, Dylan is the Art Director for Watermark Publishing Group, LLC and operates his business, Dylan Todd Photography.
Dylan’s fine art primarily focuses on the states of ‘self' versus ‘other' in understanding and considering the relationship of the subject to its environment either physically or implied. His fine art landscapes often involve visual repetition and emphasis of the weight of spaces. As a person who welcomes variety, Dylan is primarily a digital photographer using a DSLR or drone. He also utilizes his black and white darkroom in his studio.
“Moving to St. Petersburg has been one of the greatest decisions that I’ve made! Moving here, the city’s art scene was just starting to gain momentum. The amount of growth is inspirational. This is still a city of potential and I can’t wait to see what happens next.”
I joined the ArtsXchange as an opportunity to gain more traction as an artist and as a photographer for hire. I hope by being in here that I can not only further my business, but be a resource for artists and the arts community in St. Pete.
Dylan Todd is for hire for your portrait, wedding, commercial, and fine art needs.
Sculptor, Dominice Gilbert, is ready to welcome you to her new self-curated slice of paradise located at 2341 1st Avenue South! The moment you arrive, you can tell that she is a meticulous designer and creator of all things metal. The studio is poised for a grand opening as soon as Covid-19 allows. Until then, please take a moment to read an interview with Dominice on what inspires her to create and how she decided to move her business from Chicago to St Petersburg. Aren't we lucky?!
How did you come by such a beautiful name, Dominice? It was my grandmother's middle name. She was from Lithuania.
How long have you been an artist? Forever. I have never had another job that was not art-related. Growing up in rural Indiana, I was a very driven kid and attended art programs at several schools to learn all types of art techniques. I graduated from high school early and attended Chicago Institute for Art and completed my artist residencies at CrabTree Farm in Lake Bluff , Illinois and The National Ornamental Metal Museum in Memphis, Tennessee.
How did you decide on metal as your medium? I have worked with various mediums from plastic, paper, wood and fell in love with metal as it is the most forgiving medium and easily manipulated. It was suggested to me by a high school teacher that I should consider taking a class called Agricultural Welding as I was known to pull things out of dumpsters to use in my art. I knew from the first class that metal sculpture was what I was going to do with my art career.
What inspires you? Essentially, I am inspired by the elements and creating the best work I can is my primary focus, I am always pushing myself to the next level which causes my sculpture to be constantly evolving, as every new design works off the last. My work is about a feeling, I like to create tension between forms, mixing opposing textures and shapes in harmony, creating balance in opposition. My sculptures are a replication of my emotions, but also a reflection of the viewer."
Do you teach? Yes, before Covid-19 I offered classes but not sure going forward. I had a "safety first" education and managed a metal shop where I oversaw that safety rules were followed. It is hard to teach someone in a short amount of time how to use all of the tools and safely work with the equipment, not to mention the protective gear involved with the craft.
This is a fabulous studio! What's the story? My partner, JR and I bought the property 10 years ago. We saw an opportunity to own commercial property in an art-friendly city zoned for creating 3-dimensional art, as well as have their home adjacent to the studio. The building is brand new but I designed it years ago. I followed JR to St Petersburg for the opportunity to have an on-premise live and work lifestyle which would be cost-prohibitive for Chicago. Also, I enjoy the warm weather and I make my living exhibiting at Florida craft and art festivals including the 2020 St Petersburg Mainsail show.
How supportive do you feel the St. Petersburg community is for the arts and artists? Besides being zone friendly as mentioned before, I have been very appreciative of the grants that were made available during this pandemic that helped me to continue to create and keep the studio running.
Why did you join WADA? Because I live and work in the Warehouse Arts District and I find that WADA appeals to working artists.
Is there anything that you would like for our readers to know? Yes, the studio is open by appointment, or I will go on-site for custom design consultations. I hope that everyone will check out my website and plan on stopping by the studio when artwalk resumes.
On September 9, the Warehouse Arts District Association (WADA) held its twice-yearly General Membership Meeting virtually, with 47 people attending. It was great to see the faces of our WADA family, some of whom have been part of the community for a long time, and some new faces as well.
Below are the updates from the meeting, summarized below for the benefit of members who could not attend.
Board Member Changes:
Julie’s board position is an artist representative position, and we are accepting nominations among artist members to fill her position. If you are interested please send your interest and resume to email@example.com
ArtsXchange Compound Updates
The ArtsXchange is the name for the entire compound owned, developed and managed by the Warehouse Arts District Association. Soft Water Studios, the Studios, The Shops, and Seven C are all part of the ArtsXchange.
Education Center. Next to the ArtsXchange Studios, we’re planning to renovate a space for an Education Center that will be a huge asset for community programming. There will be a dance floor and three classrooms. The project cost is $225K to develop. WADA received HUD funding (federal funds allocated by the city) of $150K and we have been trying to raise the additional $75k. We currently have raised $50K but still need $25K more. We will lose HUD funding if we don’t find this additional $25K in the next month. We’re so close! It’s a tough time to fundraise as there is a lot of need right now. All help welcome. If you know a potential donor for the Eduction center please reach out to Executive Director, Renee Dabbs firstname.lastname@example.org
We get most of this work done thanks to volunteers! We have a membership, education, fundraising and marketing committee that would love your involvement. If you’d like to get involved please contact me @ email@example.com and I’ll match you with activities that align with your interests.
Nathan Beard’s richly-layered paintings combine playful Abstract Expressionism with fields of color that transition slowly through hue and temperature. He slices blue painter’s tape, strip-by-strip, and methodically applies it to create cyclic patterns that enhance the dimension and movement of roughly-hewn serpentine forms floating in a splatter-and-pour soup. Nathan often chooses colors for their metaphorical possibilities, and the dance between chaos and order helps him meditate upon the weaving of human will with natural forces as a creative activity that sculpts Space-Time to our adaptive needs and desires. Drawn to the visual, ecological and political labyrinth of the Floridian waterscape, Beard’s inspiration for his Pond’s Edge series comes from both unspoiled wilderness and from brief moments of beauty in urban parks and modified natural spaces. He references photos taken on walks with his family and the series helps to hone the drawing and observational skills he needs for his entire body of work.
Nathan creates in St. Petersburg, where he lives with his wife and daughter, and serves as Assistant Curator at Dunedin Fine Art Center. Nathan has exhibited extensively since 2013, including Leepa-Rattner Museum of Art, Tampa Museum of Art, Fukuoka Asian Art Museum (Japan), Highlands Museum of the Arts, Gallery 221, Olivet Nazarene University, Dunedin Fine Art Center, Morean Arts Center, JADA Art Fair (Miami), and Brooker Creek Preserve. His work is in a number of private and corporate collections, including Great Bay Distributors, B2 Communications, MHK, Penny Hoarder, Osprey Properties and Tampa Bay Title. In January, several of Beard’s large, multi-panel paintings were selected to serve in the Arts in Embassies program and will be on view at the U.S. Embassy in El Salvador until 2023.
How long have you been a full-time artist?
I began marketing my work and seriously pursuing a career in the arts in 2013. For the first three years, I balanced studio time with my role as stay-at-home dad to our daughter Vera. When she began school, I was afforded the opportunity to work with a number of art spaces in the Tampa Bay region as an art installer and exhibits organizer. In late 2019, I began to focus all energy outside the studio on serving as Assistant Curator for DFAC, under the tutelage of Curatorial Director Catherine Bergmann.
We asked Nathan a few questions about his art and inspiration:
What is your medium and how did you arrive at it?
My main medium is acrylic paint. I also have a beautiful series of charcoal/graphite/pastel drawings. I have always preferred paint and moved from oil to acrylic upon the birth of our daughter because it's easier to clean up. I love the versatility of acrylic paint. Its fast dry-time helps me work quickly without overthinking things, and its durability allows me to add interesting materials to it to create texture, like spanish moss and soil from my front yard.
What inspires your art?
The little things in life and how they connect to the big things. For example, how our vascular system is similar in form and function to the roots and branches of a tree, which is again similar to a river’s tributaries and delta, and finally similar to the filaments of dark matter connecting clusters of galaxies across billions of light years. Although vastly different in scale, they all perform the same necessary function: the transmission of energy. It is the nature of that energy which I seek to answer for myself.
What is it like to be an artist in St. Petersburg?
I grew up on a farm near Buffalo, NY, studied painting at Colorado State University, and Cate and I moved here from Denver in 2010, mainly for the beach and to go back to school at USF. I wanted to pursue a Masters in Environmental Science so I could get involved in wetlands restoration and management, with a focus on invasive species, specifically feral hogs. But when Vera was born, I had a lot of second thoughts and used her nap times to get back into making art. I didn't know how things were going to work out but trusted my gut and asked Cate for her patience and support while I took the leap. Early on, I went to one of the Art Marketing workshops held at the Greenhouse and met some really great people who would play significant roles in my growth, and who connected me to people or situations that, combined with my own work ethic, accelerated that growth. My personal experience is that St Pete has been a wonderful place for me to hatch and grow as an artist. I have developed some very strong professional relationships and even stronger friendships in the process. In addition to exhibiting my own work, I've had the honor of collaborating with a number exceptional individuals and organizations, and have served as juror for art exhibitions and fairs, which has exposed me to the abundance of talent in our region and beyond.
I joined WADA as part of the application process for the MTBH artist call. The nature of this project is exemplary in the way MTBH, WADA, and Barkett Realty are collaborating to connect local artists to new residents. I am very excited about all the aspects of this project, especially the prospect of completing a commission for a future resident of AD Lofts.
Finally, is there anything in particular you might like to promote?
I've been working hard in the studio this year to make new work, new connections, and consistent sales. I'd love for everyone to be able to stay connected with me and my work through Instagram @nathanbeardfineart and by signing up for my newsletter on my website, www.nathanbeardfineart.com. I make a couple of new pieces a month, so it won't be long until you see a painting or drawing that is perfect for your home or office. I'd also like to encourage everyone to come to Dunedin Fine Art Center to see our upcoming Fall exhibits that open to public view on September 14, including one I curated on my own called Vespertine, and others I co-curated with Catherine Bergmann, including Between Us that will feature work by some of Tampa Bay's most acknowledged creative partners, like WADA art stars Mark Aeling and Carrie Jadus. We've also just started offering a new program called "Enriched" Curator Tours that are offered every other Friday from 10:30 am - 12 pm beginning September 18. The tours are designed to create a safe way to engage with art and artists directly again. Groups are limited to 8, masks are required, distancing urged, and temps taken at the door. Artists who cannot join in person are invited to join via Zoom so that we may hear them speak about their work and engage them in Q + A. Email me to make your reservation at firstname.lastname@example.org.
ARTIST CALL for Detailed Color Paintings or Drawings of the exterior of the Dali Museum, Museum of Fine Arts, the Palladium, Royal Theatre, Carter G. Woodson Museum and the Museum of American Arts and Crafts Movement.
The Warehouse Arts District Association Education Committee has been working on a project to create Art Tubs for Pinellas County Schools. WADA Art Tubs are a student directed independent activity that allows students to explore the subject with materials in a tub. There are tubs for math, science and language arts, and our WADA Art Tubs project aims to create one for visual arts, to be utilized in the elementary art classrooms for grades K-5.
Our first WADA Art Tub project is a set of artisan-made architectural building blocks where students have the opportunity to create their own buildings, inspired by art-focused buildings in St. Petersburg, Florida.
We are looking for an artistically detailed color rendering of these local 6 buildings: Dali Museum, Museum of Fine Art, Carter G. Woodson Museum, Royal Theater, Palladium, and Museum of American Arts and Crafts Movement.
Artist Payment is $400.
In an effort to push this Call to Artist out to a diverse population, please feel free to share this Call with other qualified local St. Petersburg artists.
WADA will purchase the rights to a digital copy of your building image artwork for our WADA Art Tub Project under the following agreement:
Interested artists must return a basic “Letter of Intent” by midnight, August 30, via email to WADAarttubs@gmail.comincluding the artist’s intent to submit, identify which building(s) they would like to render and the artist’s return physical address. Although artists may submit for multiple buildings, each artist selected will be chosen to complete artwork for one building, allowing six artists to participate in this project.
August 30, midnight.: Letter of Intent Due via email to: WADAarttubs@gmail.com
October 18, 5pm.: Artwork images Due via email to: WADAarttubs@gmail.com
November 8: Notification via email and US Mail to Six Selected Artists
Mark Mitchell is an international multimedia artist, specializing in painting conceptual pop art. As a Pratt Manhattan graduate, School of Visual Arts alumnus, and former advertising creative director, he spent his entire career honing his visual and communication skills. Mitchell’s work has been exhibited during Art Basel Miami, at and also at Scope and Select Art Fairs. In the past few years, he was awarded seven times as an Art Slant Prize Showcase Winner. In early 2016, he launched HIDDEN AGENDA: The Conceptual Pop Art of Mark Mitchell — a large-scale solo multimedia month-long exhibition at The Melvin Gallery at Florida Southern College in Lakeland. He also won a Purchase Award at Gasparailla Festival of the Arts.
His work has shown in galleries and museums all over the Tampa Bay Region, and Mitchell is now the proud recipient of the Creative Pinellas Emerging Artist Grant 2019-20, and kicked off the year with a solo exhibition at TECO Public Art Gallery in Tampa. As a WADA member, he was recently selected for commission by both MODERN TAMPA BAY HOMES and FAIRGROUNDS PROJECTS. Mark will also be the featured artist to be showcased permanently in the lobby and common areas of a new national hotel property, opening soon in the Tampa Bay area (TBA). And he currently has four originals exhibiting on artsy.net via BG Gallery in Santa Monica, CA.
Always in pursuit of “The Big Idea”, Mark has learned how to put concept first, and manipulate imagery to surprise, provoke and reward the viewer. Mitchell’s approach as a fine artist is to draw on the power of mass media and pop culture, while repurposing its icons, imagery and techniques to deliver a more personal artistic statement. Through the use of meaningful juxtaposition and social commentary, Mark Mitchell’s work is an exploration of the irony, contradiction, parallels and harmony to be found in 21st-century life.
We asked Mark some questions about his art and inspiration:
How long have you been a full-time artist?
Conceptual Pop Art has been my prime focus for the past 10 years. That’s when I left my NYC advertising career behind and relocated to St Pete with my wife. I really needed to clear my mind and devote all my energy into establishing my painting style and developing a consistent body of work, which continuers to this day. That said, I continue to do a fair amount of commercial freelance work on the side—some art direction and design, as well as occasional voiceover projects that help pay the bills.
I paint in acrylic on canvas, which was a choice I made after starting with oils and becoming frustrated with the lengthy drying times, as well as toxic fumes from solvents. I made it my goal to achieve similar results with acrylics, and I’m happy overall with the technique at which I’ve arrived, and am breathing easier.
I’d say the answer is twofold. From a style standpoint, it’s the bold colorful imagery of classic Pop Artists like Rosenquist, Wesselman, Lichtenstein and Warhol—as well as current pop/street artists like Ron English, Banksy, Tristan Eaton, and so many more—including some amazing local artists and muralists. I feel like my style is a kind of mash-up of all my influences, refined through a filter that’s all me. But subject matter is another story. Since my work is thematic, my ideas are often “ripped from the headlines.” I find myself ruminating over current events, social issues, or topics that may be slightly under-the-radar. Lately they’re often issues around new technology, human behavior, and the relationship between the two. So, I set out with a theme, and use the canvas to convey my perspective on the topic, as a means to provoke viewers to think a bit, or spark a conversation.
Are you a St. Petersburg native? What is it like to be an artist here?
I’ve been here ten years. Not sure when I get to call myself a native! But no, i’m originally from New York. One of the things that drew me here, and continues to excite me is the connectivity of the St Pete arts community. I feel that I landed in a diverse artist colony of sorts—with a wide range of disciplines and experience who (mostly) have a great rapport and are happy to support each other’s artistic journeys. We have everything from high to lowbrow, museum to gallery to street, and so much talent! It’s nice to be in such good company, and it seems the opportunities for artists here continue to expand. As the city continues to build, grow and welcome new residents, I look forward to an influx of serious art patrons and collectors, as well as an even more robust and authentic gallery presence.
I’ve been a fan of WADA, its studios and galleries for years now—especially MGA Sculpture and Soft Water Studios, where I was honored with a Best-In-Show award. I was curious for a while about joining WADA as an off-site artist. As someone with a home studio, I liked how WADA offered open calls, an online profile, publicity and connection with other members. When the Modern Tampa Bay Homes commission opportunity was announced, it seemed like the perfect time to take the plunge. Very happy I did! As a result, I was selected as one of eight featured artists offered for potential commission to new townhome owners in Ad Lofts, now under construction in St Pete!
Finally, is there anything else you'd like to say?
It’s been a big thrill and honor to have been awarded a Creative Pinellas arts grant this year—a program including personal mentorship for me by the great Steven Kenny, blog writing, new art creation, virtual artists talks, studio tours and an online exhibition. And after a months-long pandemic delay, I’m happy to say the real-life Emerging Artist Gallery Exhibition is now finally open to the public! Among a lot of wonderful other grant winner’s work, the show features my largest piece to-date—a nine foot wide triptych called “Distracted Driving”. I’ve also included three new small pieces currently on display that carry the distraction theme through. I encourage anyone interested to check out my website to learn more at www.markmitchellstudio.com. You can also find Mark Mitchell Studio on Facebook and follow me on Instagram @mmstudioart.
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