If you take a mural tour with Chad Mize, the soft-spoken multimedia artist in St. Petersburg who once owned the hip gallery Bluelucy, you’ll be surprised to see how much a little exterior paint and some imagination can go a long, long way.
The walk is a casual affair each Saturday from 10-11:30 a.m., led by Mize through a few blocks off Central Avenue along a narrow road flanked by brick and cement houses that would otherwise have been rather dull if not for the handiwork of visionaries like Derrick Donnelly, one of the founders of the city’s mural craze.
One of the first pieces you’ll see on this tour is by the duo Donnelly and Sebastian Coolidge, a vibrant number that greets you right off Central Avenue. This is only one of the more than 40 murals on your walk, including two done by Mize himself: a pair of beautiful, popping eyes called Twiggy, an homage to the model’s most salient feature; and a rather bouncy picture of the sun that is a tribute to St. Petersburg’s moniker.
Along the way, expect to see how the artists used the building façade details (e.g. a window becomes part of the art; a lopped-off branch somehow adds texture to the mix) to express themselves.
Mize tells me that a mural festival called Shine takes place each year early September, which brings together artists who will radically redecorate blank walls in a matter of hours.
Murals have long since been forms of socio-political expression, and this tour is not without exception. You’ll see Frida, heart-warming family portraits, and cartoonish versions of pop and even skate and street culture. This tour is definitely one for the Instagram account.
The cost is $19 for adults.