Above, artist Marina Williams shows off her unique sense of fashion. Photo courtesy Marina Williams.
By Krista Lyons, AliveTampaBay Correspondent
Art and fashion are a combination as winning as peanut butter and jelly or macaroni and cheese. At least, that is what you will discover if you visit ArtPool Gallery in St. Petersburg. At ArtPool, you won’t find your average clothes and you certainly won’t find your average art. Instead, the gallery and store are filled with unique, one-of-a-kind pieces, from vintage jewelry to vinyl records and everything in between. The gallery features a store space as well as an event space where local, living artists are shown.
Just as you won’t find average art at ArtPool, you also will not find average people. The gallery is owned and run by one of St. Petersburg’s most vibrant people, artist Marina Williams. She has earned a reputation of vibrant creativity that seems to enrich everything that the gallery does.
Williams and ArtPool are gearing up for their new Trashion Fashion event on Saturday, July 16 at 8 p.m., which will feature upcycled, recycled, and unorthodox materials. Williams took the time to chat with us about the success of ArtPool and how the gallery quickly became a staple in the St. Petersburg art and fashion communities.
Q: What inspired you to start ArtPool Gallery?
A: After studying art and design for my undergraduate and graduate degree, I wanted to create a creative environment to flourish in and collaborate with other artists to enrich my hometown community.
Evan — my other half — and I work so hard every day to maintain an ongoing artsy experience for our city to have a space to be creative in and share their talents with the world. We have everything from local art to vintage clothing to vinyl records and everything in between, from the 1920s through the 1990s. My mother Becky is also such a huge influence and fashion inspiration for me. She has always supported me to be as crazy and creative and to be a visionary. It’s such a special time in St. Pete as the Renaissance art movement is in full bloom, and it is very special to be a part of the art scene as there are so many talented and amazing galleries and venues.
Q: Is there a particular event that Art Pool has done that is your favorite?
A: My personal favorites are Trashion Fashion, which is in one week, on July 16, and The Muse art and body art show, which is in February.
Q: Can you tell me a little bit about the Trashion Fashion show?
A: It is definitely one of the most creative spectacles and projects for our local designers to participate in. It is a very avant-garde, creative upcycling and revamping show to illustrate how creative one can be with discarded items. Every year it gets bigger and better and the fashion ensembles are out of this world. People are so creative and ingenious it is really mind blowing and inspiring to see!
Q: ArtPool has become one of the treasures of St. Pete — it seems like everyone is talking about it. What made you decide to combine fashion with art when you were creating the gallery?
A: I have always loved art and studied art in school but I’ve also had a great appreciation for wearable art and vintage fashion as an expressive, 3-D, living, walking, breathing art form on a daily basis off of the canvas. It seemed to be a natural marriage of the two, and it really seems as though our public adores the combination as they both complement each other so well.
Q: Who or what has been the most helpful in making your gallery such a huge success?
A: My family. I couldn’t do it without them; they are such an amazing team of cheerleaders and support my vision to create an artistic mecca for all to participate at. Our community of artists is also so phenomenal — they really push the limit and give New York City and San Fran a run for their money. St. Pete is the best kept secret and such a beautiful haven for artistic creativity. It has been incredible to watch the growth of the art scene here in the past eight years during which our gallery and event space has been evolving and a part of the artistic heartbeat.
Q: Just for fun: What is your favorite fashion item and why?
A: Jewelry. I love layering jewelry and wearing jewelry in different ways. It’s so much fun to layer five necklaces or wear necklaces in your hair or as belts there’s just so many ways to reimagine and wear the same item 10 different ways. I love accessorizing and really feel as though it’s the cherry on top to any ensemble. I love making jewelry and find it to be such a fun experience for me creatively and also love selling my jewelry in the shop in seeing it out and about on the streets of our city.