From time to time, Creative Loafing devotes a chunk of its bi-annual arts preview issues to a survey of the area’s most promising young artistic talents under the age of 25. With 2013 being CL’s 25th anniversary year, we decided to allow a few honorees into the mix who were, gasp, actually 25 (sorry, 26-year-olds, you aged out) and to honor, you guessed it, a total of 25 artists.
In the links at right you’ll encounter some names that are familiar to CL readers, artists we were astonished to realize were still in their early 20s given all that they’ve achieved already, like the actor/director Chris Jackson, the fashion designer Dolly Donshey, and the muralist Sebastian Coolidge. Others on the list have such compelling personal sagas — like 15-year-old opera singer Maria Zoller or the amazing Quixtan Brothers — that you may have encountered them in local news stories. Others, like drummer Woody Bond or poet Ryan Cheng, may not ring the same bells but are having breakout years in their fields. And still others — like singer/songwriter Jessica Rose Powell, or actor/dancer Tristan Braboy, or artist/musician/inventor Brian Mahoney — are just at the cusp of their careers. But their mentors — and our own eyes and ears — convinced us that we’re likely to hear a lot more about them in the future.
Which is true of everyone on this list. The optimism, the resilience and the creative spark of these young artists made talking with them a joy, and renewed our confidence in Tampa Bay’s cultural future. And believe me, the list could have been two, three, four times as long — many more, equally talented young people were suggested to us whom time and space didn’t allow us to include.
But that’s the great thing about being a young artist; there’s still more time, and more room, to grow. And to make CL say in five years, “Damn, how’d we miss you?”