In case you haven’t seen the brightly painted buildings, St. Petersburg is in the middle of a mural festival. The SHINE festival is bringing together more than a dozen street artists, including Ricky Watts from the San Francisco area. This morning Watts stopped painting for a few minutes and lowered his bucket truck to ground level to talk with me about the SHINE mural festival and his art on 1st Avenue North near 6th Street.
“This mural is a wall that is 96 feet by 32 feet wide. It’s the largest mural that I’ve ever painted. And it’s part of the SHINE festival.”
One SHINE curator, Chris Parks, is an artist who goes by the name Pale Horse and has a gallery at 3rd Avenue North and 9th Street.
“Yeah, there’s tons of walls (available for new murals in St. Petersburg). That’s what’s kind of nice about here, being Florida; we don’t really have a lot of beautiful architecture, so we sort of use that to our advantage. You know, there’s a lot of these flat, dull, you know, tan buildings you don’t even notice. But when you start looking for walls you realize this is just like a gold mine for artists to come here. There’s festivals all over the place, but St. Pete is special in that way where it’s just like everybody that comes in here is really loving St. Pete, you know can’t believe this little place they’ve never heard of is so cool. But then there’s just so much room to grow and so many walls here to make these tan grey dull buildings look great.”
Ricky Watts interview:
Casey Paquet interview: