Public art is slowly but surely becoming part of the downtown Tampa landscape. Here are three local artists who are making their mark.
The Artist: Ales “BASK” Hostomsky
Mixed-Media Urban Visual Artist
How He Got Hooked: As a high school student in the early to mid ‘90s, a heavy interest in comic books shifted to art in the streets. “I can’t say how or why,” says Bask, “but I do know it felt deeply instinctive, in a primal way.”
Claims to Fame: Bask’s work was famously featured in Iron Man 3. Locally he may be known best for his commissioned collaboration with Tes One on the now-famous Poe Parking Garage mural “Stay Curious.” “Tes One and I were asked to collaborate on a theme that would bring attention to the attractions in the surrounding Riverwalk area.”
Breaking it Down: Street art and graffiti are exclusive terms for art done illegally on a city’s lining. The legal versions of both are simply called murals, installations or public art.
The Local Landscape: “I think with murals going up on both sides of the bridge, people are becoming more open-minded to the idea of more public art. Well-executed public art murals are a huge asset on a number of different levels to a neighborhood. I’m glad to see this area investing in its local art stable to facilitate that.”
Upcoming Projects: In addition to preparing for a few in- and out-of-state exhibitions, Bask is currently finishing a series of massive indoor murals for Power Design Inc. He’s also working with Ducky’s again and doing some original work for their airport location inspired by the mural on Kennedy Boulevard.
Tools of the Trade: “The tools I use to work with on any given project are unconventional to say the least. And, it’s only getting stranger with each passing project. I find myself digging through construction site dumpsters for art supplies far more often than I find myself at an art supply store.”
Learn More: baskinyourthoughtcrimes.com
The Artist: Bianca Burrows
Mixed-Media POP Artist & Art Director for Ciccio Restaurant Group
How She Got Hooked: The native New Yorker first became enamored with street art on the streets of Brooklyn, but a visit to Venice Beach, Calif., cemented her interest in the medium.
Claims to Fame: Bianca may be best known for the Biggie Buddha that has popped up in numerous places and decorated the side of Buddy Brew for a while. That and the Arnold Schwarzenegger on the side of Fresh Kitchen.
Her Unique Technique: Buildings may be Bianca’s canvas of choice, but despite what onlookers may think, she’s not defacing buildings. Instead, she creates her art in studio on paper and uses wheat paste to adhere it to the side of buildings. “I like to consider it eco-friendly graffiti,” she says. “It doesn’t do any harm to the wall and it peels off like it was never there.”
Upcoming Projects: As art director for Ciccio Restaurant Group, she’s been working on murals for all of the properties. She’s also doing custom work for people’s homes.
The Local Scene: “I think Tampa is booming,” she said. “I can see it evolving. There are so many people coming from everywhere and so much culture coming in.”
Learn More: biancaburrows.com
The Artists: Jay Giroux, Greg Byron & Josh Pearson
Owners And Artists At Pep Rally Inc.
Business Snapshot: Pep Rally Inc. is a collaborative agency specializing in brand development and brand strategy. “We are a premium content creator,” they said. “That content can be a mural, a photoshoot, or maybe custom uniforms.”
Claims to Fame: You’ve seen their commissioned murals in Seminole Heights, Crowbar in Ybor City and you’ve likely seen their work on the side of Soho Cycling Studio and The Hyde Out in Hyde Park. They recently did a huge mural in the lobby of 22 Squared and partnered with the Tampa Bay Lightning to do a live painting.
Philosophy: “We very much appreciate architecture and our city, so we want to do things that add to the city and add character. Public street art is a way to add character to a city and add identity to a city. We love being involved in that type of project.”
Upcoming Projects: Though they can’t disclose their upcoming projects, they’re in talks with some major organizations to bring more public art to downtown Tampa. “We’re approached at least weekly for new murals. We’re starting to see the tip of the iceberg.”