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WADA Member Blog

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

  • 05 Oct 2020 12:08 AM | Anonymous

    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:

    • 1st place: Darlene Meisenholder – “Missing You”

    • 2nd place: Zhanna Thomas – “Give Me A Break” and “A Sip of Wine”
    • 3rd Place Qing Wang “It’s Time to Drink”

  • 04 Oct 2020 11:24 PM | Anonymous

    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!

    How long have you been an artist?

    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.

    What is your medium and how did you arrive at it?

    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.

    Why did you join the Warehouse Arts District Association?

    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.

  • 28 Sep 2020 1:22 PM | Anonymous

    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

  • 21 Sep 2020 1:43 PM | Anonymous

    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. 

  • 13 Sep 2020 1:46 PM | Anonymous

    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.  

  • 13 Sep 2020 1:22 PM | Anonymous

    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: 

    • Outgoing board members are Jamie Marcario Moore and Julie Angerosa. We’re grateful for the service they have given. Julie Angerosa has been Education Chair for three years and we’re grateful for all she’s done.  
    • New board members are Richard McGinniss, a local developer, and Jessie Javens, a retired military officer. Welcome! 
    • 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 audrie@whereartismade.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.

    • ArtsXchange lot. We secured $50K in donations to pave the plaza area and put in lighting, a power grid, landscaping, irrigation and water supply.  This will allow us to host open air markets. We’re in the final stages of grading the surface and adding banners, planters and planting beds. We hope to complete this by late September. 
    • 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 renee@reneedabbsllc.com

    • Welcome Seven C Music.  In the warehouse where Dazzio Art Gallery was formerly, Seven C Music is coming to the ArtsXchange compound. Owners Dave and Tamara Hosler are renovating the space and planning to open in October. We’re excited about this as it will also have a musical venue and bring a musical component to our artist’s compound. They are a well-known guitar repair shop and champion of the local music scene. They will offer a musical venue. 
    • Eric Higgs and Chris Booth Sculpture. On the corner of the ArtsXchange compound, where 5th Ave S and 22nd St. S meeting, Eric Higgs and Chris Booth are developing what was formerly the Air Hydraulic Small Engine Repair (the place with all the lawnmowers in front) into a sculpture studio, which should be open in the next couple of months.
    • Catering Kitchen.  WADA will allocate a small studio in the ArtsXchange Studios for a catering kitchen to facilitate holding events.  Many thanks to Jim Aresty, who donated the kitchen equipment!
    • 22nd Street S Corridor development. A developer plans to redevelop seven acres along the 22nd St South. They are working with the city to open up the current zoning from just industrial usage to commercial and residential usage. You can find out more about their plans at www.22imix.com  
    • We currently have approximately 250 members.
    • The WADA Membership Committee organizes quarterly events (alternating between membership meetings and social mixers) for members to mingle, network and learn about the latest events happening in the District and with the Association.  With COVID, we haven’t hosted social mixers this year. 
    • Member Shows: Since the beginning of the year, we’ve held to two member shows, one for ArtsXchange studio residents in the Tully-Levine gallery and one for general membership in the Burka Lounge. They are both currently on view. Take a 3D Virtual Tour see the Condensed, SuperCut Video or view the Full Video Walkthrough Tour. Our goal is to host member shows six times per year, once the COVID situation normalizes. 
    • Sponsorship of Member Shows.  We are deeply thankful to Business Member Damien Bertucelli for being the first member show sponsor which allows us to offer artist prizes for best of show for our I Need a Drink: Cocktail Hour member show.  
    • Five new artists in the ArtsXchange Studios. We’re so excited to welcome Babette Herschberger, Saumitra Chandratreya, Zulu Painter, IBOMs, and Nick Davis to the studios at the ArtsXchange.  
    • Three new members in the ArtsXchange Shoppes. We're super excited to welcome artists Zhanna Thomas, Shelby Dillon, and Beth Miranda in the shops across from the studios, which is also part of the ArtsXchange property.  Be sure to visit. 
    • Outdoor Marketplace. Membership Committee is organizing an outdoor marketplace on Second Saturday Art Walk and hope to start it in November. See more info here.
    • Improved Communications. In focus groups with members at the beginning of the year, we heard from members the desire for more communications and updates.  We now have a weekly email newsletter, the WADA Facebook Member Network group (for members only), and a blog on our website
    • Promoting Members. Our focus groups also wanted ways to promote member work.  We have been profiling a member every week in our blog, digest, and on social media. We will also put your events on our website calendar. Fill out this form to have your events listed in our digest and website. 
    • Modern Tampa Bay Homes Artist Call. MTBH selected eight contemporary artists to showcase and ultimately commission works for buyers of a new seven-unit development in the Grand Central District, called AD Lofts. These eclectic residences will celebrate local artists in the area, with close proximity to all the Warehouse Arts District has to offer. The artists selected include: Carrie Kilgore, Dana Killion, Geoffrey Baris, Lesley Jeffery, Mark Mitchell, Nathan Beard, Pamela Van Sant, and Tom Amidon-Rivero. Check out this MBTH catalogue featuring these member artists.
    • Ask Miss Lonely Arts!  We have our own guru to answer to answer your questions about art, love, relationships, and WADA.  Send your questions and comments to: MissLonelyArts@gmail.com
    • WADA has had an active, amazing education committee for three years, that provides professional development classes/workshops for artists and free for members. They are also working to create arts enrichment programming for the school-aged midtown population and the broader community.
    • In July, the committee organized a free three-day painting workshop with professional artist, Robert Simone, available here. They are currently in the process of planning our 2021 class roster so if you have any suggestions or have skills you would like to donate for a future class, please drop me a note: susanantoinetteArt@gmail.com. 
    • WADA Art Tubs for select Pinellas County Schools. WADA Art Tubs are a student directed, independent activity allowing students to explore architecture through a set of artisan-made building blocks where students have the opportunity to create their own buildings, inspired by art-focused buildings in St. Petersburg, Florida. Tubs are set up for elementary art classrooms for grades K-5. A Call to Artists sought artistically detailed color renderings of these six local buildings: Dali Museum, Museum of Fine Art, Carter G. Woodson Museum, Royal Theater, Palladium, and the Museum of American Arts and Crafts Movement. 
    • The committee is collaborating with local museums to bring you private tours of collections and an opportunity for follow up questions and answers, all live on Zoom! See the James Museum tour. Next up this fall is the Tampa Art Museum on September 26 and the Imagine Museum. Stay tuned for more information!


    • Artist Relief Fund. WADA was fortunate to have the generous support of donors; we were able to give 20 grants of $500 each earlier this summer. See more info here.
    • Grants. The HUD grant will allow us to build the Education Center, which we hope will allow us to seek out more grants for community programming.
    • Online Sales Platform for Artists. We’re developing the capability to allow artists to exhibit and sell work on our website.  We think this will be a huge member benefit. Stay tuned as we work on this platform.

    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 @ joinwada@gmail.com and I’ll match you with activities that align with your interests.  

  • 31 Aug 2020 9:46 AM | Anonymous

    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.

    Why did you join the Warehouse Arts District Association?

    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 nathan@dfac.org.

  • 23 Aug 2020 10:52 PM | Anonymous

    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:  

    • Image will be used in the creation of 12 tubs and will appear on the tub exterior at approx. 2 inches x 3 inches 
    • Image will be used in high resolution form for publicity of this project in which the artists will receive credit 
    • WADA will also reserve the rights to use this image in future duplications of this project. 
    • WADA will not own the original artwork nor exclusive rights to the image.

    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.

    Deadline Dates:

    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 

  • 23 Aug 2020 10:00 PM | Anonymous

    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.

    What is your medium and how did you arrive at it?

    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.

    What inspires your art?

    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.

    Why did you join the Warehouse Arts District Association?

    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.

  • 20 Aug 2020 1:10 AM | Anonymous

    Dear Darling Readers -

    My name is Miss Lonely Arts and I’ll be here every week to answer all your questions about art, love, relationships, and of course our fabulous Warehouse Arts District Association.  Some have called me a know-it-all (my mother, for instance) and they’re right.  I know it all!  So bring it on!  Ask whatever questions you want and feel free to comment on my answers.  Really good ones will be published in the Digest and in our WADA blog and I’ll try to answer everyone. You can reach me at MissLonelyArts@gmail.com.

    And here’s our first question from “Looking for Love at WADA”:

    Dear Miss Lonely Arts,

    I recently ended a tragic relationship and now am looking for love in all the right places.  I’m thinking my best bet is to focus on artists. Which artists make the best lovers?


    While glass blowers might seem like the obvious choice... all artists are great in the sack.  Creativity, patience, and perseverance - hallmarks of great lovemaking - are all part of great art making. 

    Painters are sensitive, photographers are observant, sculptors and welders are strong, ceramic artists and potters are earthy, and jewelers, weavers, and mosaic artists have wonderful small motor skills.  Yeah, artists will definitely ring your bell.


    Miss Loney Arts

    Frequently Wrong But Never In Doubt!

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