The hometown of The Salvador Dalí Museum is becoming known for much more than surrealism. Street art has exploded in St. Petersburg with the work of dozens of amazing artists and muralists adorning the walls of local businesses and homes.
In 2015, the city added 17 new murals to its streets thanks to a groundbreaking new festival known as SHINE, which transformed the city’s streets into a curated, open-air museum. The burgeoning local art scene is not only attracting internationally renowned artists, but St. Pete’s large-scale murals work to beautify and revitalize a once-neglected part of town.
The SHINE mural festival plans to return again in September, according to the festival director Leon "Tes One" Bedore, but in the meantime, here’s a guide to some of the most iconic locations and artists who created them.
Leon Bedore (a.k.a Tes One) is one of those artists who makes you say, “Wow!” His creative talents are described as “so far ahead of the art-curve that many people didn’t know what to think.” His 2012 collaboration with fellow artist Chris Parks (Pale Horse Design) transformed St. Pete’s legendary State Theatre into a work of art that contrasts nature with technology, urban grit with natural grace. 600 Block, Central Ave., Northside Alley
St. Petersburg native and local paint pioneer Derek Donnelly is one of the founders of the downtown art scene. His now closed St. Paint Arts gallery was responsible for helping spawn the careers of several area artists and is still the site of his tribute mural of the late artist Bill "Woo" Corriea. His 2014 mural, “Time To Think,” in collaboration with fellow artist Sebastian Coolidge on the side of the Florida Craftsmen building, is the largest wall mural in the entire city. 500 Block, Central Ave., Northside Alley
Damir Tabakovic (a.k.a. AKuT), born in Bosnia and drawing since age 4, is a free-style painter with sensational, wall-size murals speckled through St. Pete’s warehouse district. His colorful works contrast the darkness of his former life in a war-torn country and draw inspiration from the likes of Picasso. The letters above the head are the respective letters for the crews of Dolla and Acud-AKuT. The massive mural that spans 85 feet created in 2013, can be found on the side of the Morean Hot Shop facing 8th Street. 700 Block, Central Ave., 1st Ave. N
Brothers Paul, Johnny and Joey are considered to be the driving force behind St. Pete’s art scene. Since launching a local sign-painting, art and film studio in 1992, the Vitale Brothers are responsible for dozens of signs and murals on businesses and homes throughout the city. Evil Don Tattoos, 2000 Block, Central Ave.
Founder of the now defunct Bluelucy gallery, Chad Mize is the brainchild behind the ever-popular Paris-London-Tokyo-St. Pete T-shirt, created as part of his current venture, a lifestyle brand called CHIZZY. His murals include the ’60s icon Twiggy and Mr. Sun, behind his former gallery. 600 Block, Central Ave., Northside Alley
Inspired by the ’80s New York street art explosion, Greg Mike’s surrealist pop art reinvents public spaces into fractured fantasy worlds. The Atlanta-based artist features his gleefully twisted mid-century-style cartoons, including his signature “Mr. Loudmouth,” in an installation he created as part of St. Pete’s 2015 SHINE Mural Festival. Goldman Wetzel, 915 1st Ave. N
Born in Italy, the Roman street artist Hitnes captures the brilliance and elegance of natural, indigenous wildlife in his murals that grace walls across the world. His large-scale mural on the wall of U-Haul Moving & Storage at Tropicana Field was inspired by his epic artistic journey retracing woodsman John James Audubon's 1830s historic trek across 15 states. 975 2nd Ave. S