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Tyler Staggs is a fresh new face on the Tampa art scene. Not only is he creating his own work and arranging art exhibitions and events all around Tampa, but he’s also helping others tap into their own creative sides through his job at Painting With a Twist and his work with mentally ill adults. Here’s the story of his journey, from his first sparks of creativity through his work today.

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What piqued your interest in art, and how did you get started in the field?

As a child I was notorious for getting lost in my sketchbooks. I stopped while in middle school and high school and rekindled my love for art making while in pre-architecture at the University of South Florida in Tampa. I took a beginning drawing class where my teacher encouraged imperfection in my art because “being perfect doesn’t look good.” This instilled a new perspective of art in my life. I think the several year lull really gave me an appreciation for what I missed. Ever since that moment, all art has been a focus for me throughout my Bachelor of Fine Arts degree at USF and even after.

How has your artwork evolved?

My work has evolved drastically in the time after college. I began art school with limited technical skill and was self-taught until 2009. Gaining this knowledge added to my arsenal of skills in all mediums. This gave me options as an artist. I currently make work that focuses on the sexiness of acrylic paint, the painterly method to making cyanotype photographs and sculpture in any form, including performance art. I discovered what I love about art during my studies, each medium’s tactile quality. My work spans across all mediums but always has a focus with materiality. A direct connection with my art has always been there, but it’s something I am now conscious of. Now understanding the ‘why?,’ I can essentially teach myself any medium through experimentation and research.

What are some of your current projects?

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I am involved with coordinating art events through various businesses in Tampa. The current exhibition I established is called “Scary Movie Poster Show,” which includes movie posters made by 21 artists. The show is on display at Tin & TONIK in Seminole Heights until November 13th. It will be open for Seminole Heights First Fridays as well. I came up with this idea because of my love for scary movies, Halloween festivities and art.

I realized after planning and participating in over 40 exhibitions in the past four years, I have experience with art events that can bring artists and the community together through art. In addition to planning art events, I am the Art Coordinator at Project Return where I teach adults with mental illness art, organize art exhibitions and integrate involvement with the community. I also teach at Painting with a Twist in South Tampa. Teaching art was a natural way for me to utilize my education and have a job that is relevant to my undergrad.

What do you think is most notable about the Tampa art scene in general? Is it a good environment for fresh faces/voices in the art world?

The Tampa art scene is constantly changing and growing with new galleries popping up, but there is art for every person. There is great opportunity for fresh faces and voices to enter the Tampa art scene because there is room for the art scene to grow. The most important part is appreciating art through the community and talking about it. I look forward to Tampa’s art scene continuing to develop and increase in richness.

Where do you see yourself going with your art? What would you like to be doing five to ten years from now?

I see myself expanding my art specifically in painting, performance and collaborations in the near future. In five years from now, I see myself building my business, Style Raggs, as a place for artists to connect with the community. Ten years from now is difficult to foresee because so much can happen in just one year. I do see myself continuing in an art-related field. most likely in Tampa or in grad school.

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Barbara Nefer is a freelance writer covering all things Orlando Her work can be found on Examiner.com.