Visual Arts

Friday, August 29, 2014

Ask the Locals: Sebastian Coolidge, mural master

Posted By on Fri, Aug 29, 2014 at 5:59 PM

  • Photo by Heidi Kurpiela

Sebastian Coolidge’s impressive body of work spans St. Petersburg office buildings, cafes, shoe stores, barbershops, alleys and roofs. Chances are you’re more familiar with Coolidge’s street art than you are with Coolidge. The 25-year-old artist does the majority of his painting at night. Although most of his murals are big, bold and attention-grabbing, Coolidge is soft-spoken and shirks the limelight.

His style can be dark and surreal or light and whimsical. Most of his high-visibility murals line downtown St. Pete’s 600 Block, but one of his most well-known designs wraps around the corner of MLK & 1st Avenue North: a kid in a newsboy cap with long outstretched arms squeezing an orange on the storefront of Freshly Squeezed, a clothing store. Coolidge says when he painted that mural in 2012 it started a chain reaction of commissioned work.

A native of Kansas City, Missouri, Coolidge moved to St. Pete six years ago. He was looking for a change of scene, and his aunt lived in the city. He enrolled in classes at St. Petersburg College, but dropped out his first semester to pursue a full-time living as an artist. His first two years were rough. He and his friend, fellow painter Elijah Barrett, would scavenger used paint from dumpsters and offer to paint murals on downtown businesses in exchange for food, money or clothes.

Now he’s one of the hottest artists in town, and does commissioned work for private homes as well as exterior murals for businesses. This past spring he pumped out two dozen murals, including a giant face on an industrial silo near Woodlawn Park that’s visible from I-275. In April, he and his girlfriend, yoga instructor Brittany Cavener-White, had their first child, a daughter named Lillabelle.

Where he gets a good buzz: The Bends. “That’s the ol’ hometown bar. When it first opened, my go-to drink was the Cucumber Creeper, but I got creeped out on it too many times, so now it’s the Singapore Sling.”

Where he eats brunch: Café Alma. “The banana foster French toast is amazing, as is the full bloody mary bar.” [Editor's Note: Since our interview, Alma has moved from downtown St. Pete to John's Pass in Madeira Beach.]

Where he orders takeout: Bodega. “I love that place at lunchtime. The Cubans, the Cortaditos… It’s perfect.”

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Thursday, February 13, 2014

Lust List 2014: Jacob Stout & Mariel Bass

Jacob: Director, St. Pete Hot Glass Workshop at Duncan McClellan Glass, 35, single. Mariel: Studio Manager, St. Pete Hot Glass, 30, single.

Posted By on Thu, Feb 13, 2014 at 4:04 AM

You’re not a couple?
Jacob: We have a wonderful working relationship.
So you don’t mind posing for the photo together?
Jacob: We get right up in there at work so we’re not scared.
Mariel: “I want to start a Facebook page for his forearms. But he doesn’t want to do it.” - TODD BATES
  • Todd Bates
  • Mariel: “I want to start a Facebook page for his forearms. But he doesn’t want to do it.”

What were your initial reactions to being asked to be on the Lust List?
Mariel: No.
Jacob: A little embarrassed at first. I was quickly Googling to find out what the hell a Lust List was.
Glassblowing is a sexy profession. True or false?
JS: Some artists take it on. The real famous ones oil themselves up.

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Saturday, February 1, 2014

Best of the Day: Graphicstudio: Uncommon Practice at Tampa Museum of Art

An astonishingly varied show of works from a USF cultural treasure.

Posted By on Sat, Feb 1, 2014 at 9:54 AM

Christian Marclay: Allover (Rush, Barbra Streisand, Tina Turner, and Others). 2008, Cyanotype.
  • Photo by Will Lytch/Graphicstudio
  • Christian Marclay: "Allover (Rush, Barbra Streisand, Tina Turner, and Others)." 2008, Cyanotype.

Uncommon is right. This is a don't-miss show at TMA (which has been getting in the habit of mounting don't-miss shows of late), co-organized with the USF Contemporary Art Museum. A huge retrospective of works created in collaboration with USF's world-renowned printing workshop, Graphicstudio, it's full of astonishments. Start with just the roster of artists, a roll call of some of the biggest names in contemporary art — 45 in all, including the likes of Ruscha, Rosenquist, Mapplethorpe, Louise Bourgeois, Christian Marclay, Chuck Close — who have used the facilities and expertise of Graphicstudio over its 46-year history to expand notions of what printmaking can be. And that's the biggest astonishment of all: the sheer variety of this show, which has been brilliantly curated by Jade Dellinger. From exquisitely rendered lithographs to fantastical 3-D confabulations to fascinating reconsiderations of printed forms — blueprint, photogravure, even choreographic notation — there's a jaw-dropper around every corner.

Graphicstudio: Uncommon Practice opens today, continues through May 18. Tampa Museum of Art, 120 Gasparilla Plaza. Tampa. Mon.-Thurs., 11 a.m.-7 p.m.; Fridays, 11 a.m.-8 p.m.; Sat.-Sun., 11 a.m.-5 p.m. General admission prices: adult $10.00; seniors, groups, military plus one guest $7.50; students $5; and children ages 6 and under free-of-charge.

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Monday, December 30, 2013

Best of the Day: Greek Life and Epiphany photo exhibits open in Tarpon Springs

Posted By on Mon, Dec 30, 2013 at 1:27 AM

Providing a striking, candid glimpse into a Tampa Bay cultural enclave, The Horio: Greek Life in Tarpon Springs — a new exhibit of images by photographer Beeba Christopoulos-Lekkas — opens today at the Tarpon Springs Cultural Center. The show is a perfect complement to a visit to the Sponge Docks.

Also, in anticipation of the city's big Jan. 6 celebration, the city will open Epiphany in Tarpon Springs, a show by Christopoulos-Lekkas with husband Kostas Lekkas. For the last five years, the couple have worked to capture the event's spirituality and pageantry along with the people who take part in it each year. The exhibit will be displayed in the upstairs gallery.

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Sunday, December 1, 2013

Make merry, holiday shop at Art on the West End

Posted By on Sun, Dec 1, 2013 at 12:16 PM

Take part in a festive throwback that offers more than 20 artists and artisans conjuring the Ybor Square Arts and Crafts Festival of yore.

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Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Do This: HCC Ybor City campus celebrates Native American Heritage Month

Posted By on Tue, Nov 5, 2013 at 5:02 PM

Mateo Romeros painting of a Pueblo dancer
  • HCC Ybor City
  • Mateo Romero's painting of a Pueblo dancer
Timeless, archaic elements are juxtaposed with post-modern imagery as HCC Ybor City Visual and Performing Arts will be showcasing work Tues., Nov. 5 4:30-6:30 p.m., from mixed-media Native American painter Mateo Romero at the HCC-Ybor Art Gallery.

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Thursday, October 17, 2013

Do This: Fine Art, Fashion & Photography, Three Magical Worlds Collide

Tonight at the Museum of Fine Arts!

Posted By on Thu, Oct 17, 2013 at 10:51 AM

  • G. Salmon Photography
Thursday night has a good many of us itching to get our weekend on early. If you need a good scratch, head to the Museum of Fine Arts, where inventive eye candy and well-dressed hobnobbers will rule the night at Fine Art, Fashion & Photography, Three Magical Worlds Collide, a visually decadent soiree on St. Pete’s scenic waterfront.

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Sunday, July 14, 2013

Couple caught in the act of an Urban Art Attack

Posted By on Sun, Jul 14, 2013 at 12:21 AM

ELVIS SHIVA: Artists Ari and Christian Little are painting a mural of Elvis Presley as the Hindu god known as the Destroyer or the Transformer.
  • ELVIS SHIVA: Artists Ari and Christian Little are painting a mural of Elvis Presley as the Hindu god known as "the Destroyer" or "the Transformer."
While my friends participate in the the Zimmerman verdict Tweet-comment-Google-athon, I am choosing to shift my focus, to share a positive discovery made in my 'hood en route to dinner with friends.

Well, we were actually on our way to Publix to pick up food. We would have taken 15th Street North if we didn't need to stop at the store. While turning north onto Nebraska from Caracas Avenue, I saw a unique mural being painted on a little gray building directly across the street from my block.

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Saturday, July 13, 2013

St. Pete art shows galore tonight!

Posted By on Sat, Jul 13, 2013 at 2:57 PM

If you're craving some creative stimuli, venture over to the Burg. Downtown St. Petersburg is hosting its Second Saturday Gallery Walk 5-9 p.m. tonight and the Warehouse Arts District trolley will be shuttling art lovers from downtown St. Pete to its little cluster of venues, too.

Audiowood Listening Party and Record Player Display Audiowood designs represent the pinnacle of both handcrafted woodwork and audio design — even Chris Pine's Captain Kirk spins an Audiowood's Bachelor turntable in Star Trek: Into Darkness. See some badass turntable handiwork in person when Joel Scilley, a Florida native, woodworker and Audiowood designer, presents a showcase of his Audiowood designs in conjunction with Florida Craftsmen Gallery, The Suncoast Audiophile Society (SAS) and Daddy Kool Records. Scilley will discuss and demonstrate his turntables and other audio goods in two connected events. The SAS July Meetup and Audiophile Listening Party beginning at 4 p.m., and the Second Saturday Gallery Walk from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m., both on July 13, featuring DJ Mike Rozak spinning on Audiowood turntables, records for sale and a gallery talk at 6:30 p.m. Florida Craftsmen Gallery, 501 Central Ave., 727-821-7391,

Summer Salt Alabama native Emily Barnes presents an exhibition that illustrates the human form in water. Her use of oils and vibrant colors contrasts underwater life and life outside the water. Attend an opening reception for Barnes' show during St. Pete's Second Saturday Downtown Art Walk from 6 to 9 p.m.
ARTicles Art Gallery, 1445 Central Ave., July 13-Aug. 6, 6-9 p.m., 727-898-6061,

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Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Bolts are calling all Tampa Bay artists

Posted By on Tue, Jul 9, 2013 at 5:13 PM

Sacred Heart Church by last years first place winner Nicole Abbett
  • Nicole Abbett
  • "Sacred Heart Church," last year's first place winner in the Lightning arts competition.

The Tampa Bay Times Forum and the Tampa Bay Lightning are hosting their second annual arts competition with another open call to artists.

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