Author Archives: keltiowl

Artists Participate in Sand Sculpture Competition

By: Kelsey Al

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Artists from around the world gather every November at Treasure Island Beach for the sand sculpture competition, Sanding Ovations. The competition also features multiple food and craft beer vendors.

Although there is no theme for the sculptures this year, most of the artworks are abstract or surreal, featuring human forms. The sculptors use conventional artist tools like palette knives and spatulas.  Instruments unique to the medium such as tubes for blowing away unwanted sand are also used. Artist Rusty Croft from California says that working with the fragile medium is all about seeing how far the sand will hold through experimentation.

The first place sculpture is two skeletons embracing each other on the ground, reminiscent of the mysterious skeletons discovered several years ago in Siberia. All of the sculptures will remain intact for viewing for the next three weeks.

 

 

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Sanding Ovations Master’s Cup at Treasure Island Beach

By: Kelsey Al

 

Artists from around the world gather at Treasure Island Beach every November for Sanding Ovations, which is in it’s sixth year. The event is held behind The Bilmar Beach Resort and the finished sculptures stay standing for three weeks after the weekend competition.

First Place sculpture “Love Never Dies” by Jobi Bouchard

First Place sculpture “Love Never Dies” by Jobi Bouchard

There is no theme for the sculptures this year. Most of the artworks are abstract or surreal, and feature human forms. Third place and Sculptors Choice winner is Sue McGrew’s piece titled “Vertigo”. It features a vortex of bodies on one side, being sucked into the eyes of a portrait that loosely resembles the artist on the reverse side.

The sculptors use conventional tools like palette knives and spatulas, as well as instruments unique to the medium such as tubes for blowing away unwanted sand.

Artist Rusty Croft from California describes working with the fragile medium, “You have to find the limit of the sand, how far it will hold”. Croft has been in the sand business for 17 years, and says Florida’s sand has a lot of clay-like chunks that creates an obstacle for sculpting.

The first place sculpture, “Love Never Dies”, is two skeletons embracing each other on the ground, reminiscent of the mysterious skeletons discovered several years ago in Siberia. The artist Jonathan (Jobi) Bouchard is the youngest of the sculptors, and traveled here from Montreal. This is his third year competing and has won first place all three years.

“Go With The Flow” by Rusty Croft

“Go With The Flow” by Rusty Croft

In addition to live art, the beach was packed with food and art vendors. Multiple bands took turns performing. Visitor and artist Aaliyah Martinez says that she thinks this is one of the most unique events in St. Petersburg, and enjoys seeing contestants from all over the world. Two sculptors came from Amsterdam, one from Mexico, and several from the west coast of America.

Oddities in Downtown St. Petersburg

By: Kelsey Al

 

The 600 Block of Downtown St.Pete is known for being the hub of creative spirit. Tucked off the main street of Central Avenue is a gem that goes by the name Dysfunctional Grace.

The taxidermy and oddity shop has been locally owned and operated for two and a half years. Co-owner Elizabeth Ann sells her work and work from various artists from the area that fit the theme of the shop, which centers on the beauty of death and nature.

Preserved dove with roses and faux pearl eyes.

Preserved dove with roses and faux pearl eyes.

The prices of pieces range from as low as 20 dollars for small items such as air plants mounted in an antique frame to upwards of 3000 in the case of a real giraffe with metal gears attached to the head.

Ann says her business began when she got fired from her previous job, and she no longer wanted to be part of the corporate world. She began making morbid artwork for about four years ago, when her father died. According to Elizabeth Ann, the best part of owning Dysfunctional Grace is “being her own boss”.

All of the materials used in the pieces on display in the unconventional shop are ethically obtained. No animals were harmed for the intent of the artwork. The skulls and skins were either found from road kill or obtained from collectors.

Though the company does not have a high influx of customers due to its unusual nature, Dysfunctional Grace does have a lot of regulars. Ann says that a lot of her customers that visit frequently become more like friends.

Weird and Surreal on the 600 Block

By: Kelsey Al

 

The walls are lined with antique medical equipment and animal skulls. Art pieces made of furs and industrial equipment are dispersed around the two spacious, well lit rooms. The 600 Block of Downtown St.Pete is known for being the hub of our area’s creative spirit. Tucked off the main street of Central Avenue is a gem that goes by the name Dysfunctional Grace.

The taxidermy and oddity shop has been locally owned and operated in its current location for two and a half years. Co-owner Elizabeth Ann is one of the many artists that contributes to the pieces on display. In addition to her own work, Ann sells work from various artists from the area that fits the theme of the shop, which centers on the beauty of death and nature.

The prices of pieces range from as low as 20 dollars for small items such as air plants mounted in an antique frame to upwards of 3000 in the case of a real giraffe with metal gears attached to the head. The money keeps the store up and running, and commission goes to the artists that made the pieces possible.

Ann says her business began when she got fired from her previous job. She decided that she no longer wanted to be part of the corporate world. She has been making morbid artwork for about four years, beginning when her father died. According to Ann, the best part of owning Dysfunctional Grace is “being her own boss”. She loves not having to answer to anyone or following her own rules. She gets to sleep in and is surrounded by things and people she enjoys.

All of the materials used in the pieces on display in the unconventional shop are ethically obtained. No animals were harmed for the intent of the artwork. Many skulls and skins were either found from road kill or obtained from collectors. “I don’t even kill bugs” says Ann. The co-owner says she tries to keep her sources local, including searching at thrift stores and estate sales in addition to community collectors. The store and the artists involved strive to support other small businesses in the process of creating revenue in order to keep the vibe local and close knit.

Though the company does not have a high influx of customers due to its unusual nature, Dysfunctional Grace does have a lot of regulars. Ann says that a lot of her customers that visit frequently become more like friends. She allows artists to sketch the objects and pieces on display for any projects they may be working on without purchasing anything.

One regular customer, Hope Williams, says that the items in the store make great gifts for unique people that “may not want soap or candles for their birthday”. She says that a lot of her steampunk and goth friends really enjoy the store and go browsing for fun. Williams says that Dysfunctional Grace is a home away from home for the weird folks looking for a place that fulfills their curiosities.

Elizabeth Ann and her store of oddities are uncommon individuals that serve as a source of inspiration for many in the St. Pete area. While many of her neighboring stores sell art supplies like yarn and thrift store dresses with the shoulder pads cut out, Dysfunctional Grace provides an alternative to the creative community and hopes to reach a wider customer base while continuing to provide one of a kind specimens to the area.