Any local could tell you that Tampa Bay is one of the most vibrant, diverse, and creative areas in the US. We spent a little time with one of the many artists + small business owners that make our city so special.
Today, we’re highlighting local fashion designer Takeo Faison. Most recently, his work was featured at Tempus Projects (1624 E. 7th Ave., Ybor City) in a solo exhibition.
Takeo is a multi-media artist — which means he has his hands in a ton of different projects. Here’s what he’s known for:
- Bringing vintage leather jackets, WWII era trunks, couture bags, and thrifted jumpsuits back to life with fresh paint
- Various screen-printed shirts + wall decor
- Embroidered trucker hats
Takeo moved from Key West to Tampa at a very young age — which he says exposed him to different cultures, people, and perspectives. On top of the geographical shift, the artist noted that having an African American father and a Japanese mother had a major influence on all aspects of his screen-printing journey, interior design campaigns, and his magnum opus — his brand, COWBOY.
As I walked into BTMVLE Studios, Takeo explained that “In a world where everyone needs to take a deep breath, Tampa Bay is that injection of fresh air. COWBOY is my outlet to relieve creative tension without formal rules — in a world where there are too many. Everyone should have an outlet.”
Q: Tell us about your art.
A: COWBOY is not exclusively a fashion brand, an art gallery, or an online shop, but an endless curation and combination of all of these things. It’s whatever I’m feeling at the time.
Q: What can you say about Tampa Bay’s art scene?
A: I’d say keep your eyes open. There’s definitely a hunger out here that you’re not seeing in other places.
Q: Describe Tampa Bay’s art scene in three words.
A: Something really special.
Q: What’s a life lesson that you’ve learned through your art that you’d like to share?
A: My message to the community is simply to embrace the journey. Nothing good comes easy or fast.
Q: What past or upcoming projects are you most proud of?
A: Probably the COWBOY Magazine Threshold Fashion Show, my most recent show.
Q: What’s the deal with the Somewhere Store?
A: For now, our time with the pop-up has come to a little pause. I’m not opposed to bringing it back, but it has to make sense timing and location-wise. We want to run it back.
Q: Who’s up next in terms of artists that are about to pop off?
A: The other guys who work with me. Moose, Pollex, and Jotta.
Takeo’s work will be featured Friday, April 7 at Fauvism at The Factory (2606 Fairfield Ave. S., St. Pete) from 5 to 10 p.m. Fauvism is the early 1900s movement of art that emphasized wild colors, thick textured paint, and fierce brushwork.
Know another local artist or small business owner we should feature? Tell us why.