Best Up-And-Coming Visual Artists In Tampa Bay

April 6, 2014 9:00 AM

File photo of an artist preparing a gallery for an opening (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

When you think of visual art, what probably pops into your head is a parade of Van Goghs and Monets, and maybe a special appearance by the “Mona Lisa.” While no one can doubt the lasting impression that history’s great artists have had on our culture, new art is being created every day. Here’s a list of some of the up-and-coming artists in the Tampa Bay area.
Teresita Hightower

This incredible Clearwater Beach-based artist creates colorful, unbelievably detailed prints that, from a distance, look like photographs. Most of her work centers on the natural beauty of Florida, such as her paintings “Florida Christmas,” “Desoto Park” and “Water Garden.” Plants, flowers and animals are rendered with care to create a peaceful, beautiful scene that would perfectly complement any office, library or patio. Some of her paintings, such as “Lombard Street,” are picturesque snapshots of scenes outside of Florida. Others, such as “Retired” and “Home,” are charming still-life pictures of everyday objects. The artist’s work is also very affordable, with the cheapest paintings priced at $17 for a print, and the most expensive original priced at $500.

John Brennan

This artist has a unique style all his own. While he has some traditional-looking work like portraits and wildlife paintings, his most striking creations are in his Symphonic Colors series. Everyday instruments, such as a piano, drum set or oboe, are rendered in their usual colors – black, brown and silver. Then in the background, splashes of bright colors surround the instrument. For example, in his painting “Piano,” swatches of blues, greens, reds and yellows surround the instrument, making the black-and-white piano pop right off the canvas. If you love both music and art, John Brennan may be your new favorite artist.

Jean Rascher

This Tampa artist uses drawing, oil painting, acrylic painting and mixed media to bring her art to life. Flowers, fruit and other colorful still life objects are carefully rendered and are so detailed that at first, it’s hard to tell if you’re looking at a painting or a photograph. If abstract art is more your thing, her mixed media collages are quite fascinating, with colors, shapes and textures bursting off the canvas. Jean Rascher is also a member of PAVA, the Professional Association of Visual Artists.

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Ungala does some incredible work you won’t find anywhere else. Her Jazz Art series shows an unabashed love for bright colors, with both musicians and instruments rendered in bold blues, bright reds and electric yellows. Her mixed media works are equally fascinating and include just about anything from old paintbrushes to magazine clippings to strings of beads to “up-cycle” trash into beautiful artwork. If you’re looking for something a little more traditional, she also dabbles in photography, showing everyday people at their best. Inquire online for pricing.

Yulner Diaz
Feathered Serpent Gallery
1018 Central Ave.
St. Petersburg, FL 33705
(727) 824-8877

This Mexican-American artist has had both local and international success exhibiting his artwork. His passion for Mexican and Pre-Columbian history, as well as European and Asian art styles alike, are evident in each stroke of his paintbrush. His vibrant, richly colorful paintings are deeply philosophical and revolve around themes of self-improvement, inner peace, freedom and happiness. His paintings can be viewed at the Feathered Serpent Gallery.

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Amanda Mole has been writing since she was old enough to hold a pencil and cooking since she was tall enough to reach the stove. She believes that food provides more than just vital nutrients: it is an irreplaceable part of countless cultural and social activities. As a Tampa Bay resident for the past 21 years, she is well acquainted with the incredibly diverse range of restaurants, bars, and food festivals that the area has to offer. Her work can be found at