Q + A with Gulfport muralist and artist Judith Villavisanis

The longtime muralist and artist shares her story.

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The artist puts finishing touches on the Rosacea spoonbill.

Photo by TBAYtoday

It’s a spicy hot Thursday afternoon in Gulfport when a pod of speed walkers pauses to gaze (and take photos) of the fuchsia spoonbills, egrets, and wild mangroves coating the Old Florida-esque teal house on the corner.

They’re the work of muralist and artist Judith Villavisanis, a Tampa native and Gulfport resident — who’s spent most of the past several days sketching “the Florida fantasy” using a bamboo stick with a brush attached to — “keep her loose.”

You might’ve seen Villavisanis’s work around town at Columbia Restaurant in Ybor City, the Pasadena Yacht and Country Club, or on display at local galleriesor not — as most of her hundreds of murals decorate the interiors of homes. She’s painted all kinds of things — an immersive Coney Island, a cherub-dusted ceiling, John Travolta’s house (hush), and lots of her favorite Old Florida scenes.
We asked her a few questions.

How would you describe yourself as an artist?

“I’ve never thought about how I would describe myself as an artist. I paint in all mediums. I’m very eclectic. I love the process. I love playing with all kinds of mediums. I’ve done everything from fiber art to mixed media pieces with paper mache. I get excited when I discover something new, and I apply it to whatever I’m working on at the time.”

Where do you find inspiration?

“Inspiration I find everywhere. I’m just always amazed. I’m never at a loss for ideas or inspiration, that’s one thing... Nature, of course, is a big inspiration for me... I love taking my little hikes at different places in Florida and just snapping away. And a lot of the work that I do that are not murals are Florida related.”

What was it like working on the Columbia?

“I loved the Columbia restaurant growing up, and I’m a native of Tampa. I was born and raised, and my father was born and raised in Ybor City. I have a special fondness for the Columbia Restaurant. And each dining room is so magnificent and different.”

Visit Villavisanis’ Instagram or Facebook to check out more of her pieces.

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