Ybor Art Colony [Link] is a group of artist's studios located on Seventh Avenue, on the 1500 block on the 2nd floor. Art Taco used to go there during the Ybor Art Walks to see work and the artists in their open studios. A month ago, the Colony had its first Open House in a long time. The Colony hallways are now clear, the floors sparkling, sparkling and the walls newly painted. It has a new director, Hance Clay [Link].
Hance's roomy studio [Link] has surfboards leaning against the wall, along with this work, paintings in the form of a wide variety of portraits, figures, landscapes [Link], florals [Link] and abstracts. The work has a distinctive color palette, spirituality, intensity and at times, it reflects Hance's sense of humor.
At the top of the stairs that connect the Ybor Art Colony to Seventh Avenue in Ybor is Jason Shiver's studio. Jason works in different media including paint, pencil, pastels, charcoal and a welding torch. His talents became apparent early, as in this painting, "Mother and Child", he made when he was eleven years old [Link].
There are portraits [Link], commissioned and uncommissioned, of people -- and pets. There are several ecologically-themed paintings and sculptures in his body of work [Link]. There are the representational works, in which Jason departs from realism and his imagination takes flight [Link]. From the way Jason paints and sculpts fish, he must have spent lots of time on or in the water. AT had the pleasure of speaking with Moira Shiver, Jason's charming wife and most enthusiastic supporter.
Some of Jason's latest paintings are still works in progress in his studio, and concern current economic and political conditions. They're in the same passionate vein as his ecologically themed works.
At the very back of that hallway is the Fashion Design Studio of Elizabeth Carson Racker, who is a native of Tampa. At age twelve she attended an Ebony Fashion Fair show. Years later, after lots of work and a bachelor's degree at Savannah College of Art and Design, she began working with the Ebony Fashion Fair and her senior collection was purchased and featured in the Ebony Fashion Fair's 2006-2007 Stylishly Hot Fashion Show. Her designs were also featured in the 2007-2008 Glam Odyssey Fashion Show and other shows from Tampa to NYC since. At the opening a month ago, the hallways were lined with people and photographers eager to see Ms. Racker's elegant formal evening wear designs, which you can see here [Link]
Adjacent to Hance Clay's studio is a smaller one practically wallpapered with multi-hued figures and spaces occupying every square inch of the canvases. In medieval paintings this kind of density is known as horrovacuity. Greg Latch's prolific output covers the walls of his studio. Greg is one of those people that one feels a kind of instant intimacy with. He's very friendly, funny, smiles beautifully, and, like his paintings, is full of life. [Link]
From his biography on his site:
"I drew all the time, no video games back then and no art in the schools. The only art classes I had was at bible school. After I got older I drew for the church, I think mainly because no one else wanted to."
His art is varied, eclectic and intensely human. [Link], [Link], [Link].
Treat yourself to the Ybor Arts Colony Open House this Saturday, Dec 11th at 1521 1/2 Seventh Avenue, from 5-9 PM. The quality and variety of the work, the reasonable prices, delightful, talented, creative and skilled people make for an enchanted evening.