My Time to SHINE!!

Ooooooo!! Pick Me, Pick Me!!

SHINE Mural Festival is a Huge Deal in Saint Petersburg, Florida. Every year the best and the brightest mural artists are chosen; some internationally known, some nationally, and a few locals. There are interactive online narrated maps that take you to each mural virtually, from anywhere in the world.

Each year I long to participate. For as long as I can remember, I have loved painting murals. Oh boy, give me a can of spray paint and a wall, you will soon be amazed at the wonders that pour out! I have long admired the works of underground artists, such as I was. I am admitting my age by saying that in my youth, murals on buildings, bridges, highway underpasses and box cars were the standard locations. These works were most often created at night, in a hurry. Many times the record on the artist’s passing by was marked with a few empty beer cans, cigarette butts and a roach or two. Or three…

Other tell-tale sign of haste were drips, dabs and unfinished words trailing off as the artist booked it away from the scene. A charge of defacing public property carried a hefty fine, and if a possession, trespassing on railroad property or underage drinking charge were tacked on, a trip to the precinct and an unwelcome call home to the “rents” was in the offing. Most unfortunate consequences indeed…

As time went on there was more of an effort to paint over such “graffiti”, even using this process as community service to the offenders who, sadly, had to paint over their art in drab shades of grey or funky beige. Often these endeavors at rehabbing the artists wound up in a defiant repainting of the boxcar or bridge girders, perhaps with an expletive or two directed at a certain public servant. Ah, the free and easy days of youth…

My work graced the interior of a specific race car shop where giant vampire mechanics worked on their mid-engine mustangs, as my boyfriend and his mates furiously readied their real mustangs for the next Friday drag races. These murals became a locally “famous” conversation piece and backdrop to pig roasts washed down with kegs of beer and fifths of Jack. Unfortunately, the parties ended with an eviction notice taped to the garage door; my masterpieces hidden from the public eye, only to live in the haziest memories of youth.

As I moved on to marriage and adulthood my dreams of painting extraordinary murals had to be put on a back burner. My Father had long before decided that a fine art education was not a ‘realistic’ path for me; in defiance I stomped off and got a Retail Management degree-I really showed him! So life had veered me off course, but art was never out of my hands for more than a few minutes. Doodling turned into having my doodles copyright, an undertaking I am rightfully pleased with, and hope to use again some time in the future.

And murals? Well, I still paint them. Every chance I get. After nearly n years of living with and caring for my deceased husband and both of my parents I began creating art full time, and have thrived ever since showing again for the first time in 2014. I get commissions for murals and other works, which I find so satisfying, and I spend the remaining time creating all manner of ingenious art using substrates such as vintage and found housewares, furniture and building materials. I also create tamer works such as acrylic and mixed media on canvas’.

Until last week I thought I had missed my chance to paint a mural this year… Then, I saw The Call for the Wall, a chance to get in The Shine St. Petersburg Mural Festival… So, I’m going for it… Even if it means painting giant Praying Mantis in my spare bedroom!

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