Herbert Scott Davis grew up in historic Ybor City, a veritable collage of cultures and rich artistic styles. That background fueled his creative mind and inspired a passion to draw, sketch, paint and sculpt.
This year, Davis is the featured artist at the 48th annual Art Harvest, the signature event of the Junior League of Clearwater-Dunedin.
Billed as the largest fall art show in Tampa Bay, Art Harvest takes place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday in Highlander Park. It features artwork in 13 categories, music between noon and 3 p.m., food and a children's art tent.
Davis, 50, who lives in Tampa, will be among more than 200 artists from around the nation selling their wares and vying for more than $27,000 in prize money and awards.
His piece Flourish, an abstract acrylic, was created specifically for the art show. The image is used on publicity posters and T-shirts.
"It's a fun piece that really works for us," said Courtney Pagliari, the event's co-chair. "A lot of our images in the past have been very literal, so this is a little different. We liked the fact that he is a local artist and we wanted to give him the exposure. Plus, his price points are unbeatable."
Davis, who creates his works from his studio at Salt Creek Artworks in St. Petersburg, said his paintings will carry price tags ranging from $90 for an unframed original to up to $1,200.
"I try to keep it affordable," he said.
He's a graduate of the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale and has worked as a freelance illustrator for a variety of advertising agencies. More recently he has returned to his love of fine art, where he focuses on acrylics, pastels and wall sculptures.
He hopes Flourish will cause viewers to pause, open their minds and search for meaning. No interpretation is right or wrong.
"Abstract art is like a book. You study it and read it and try to figure out what is going on."
For instance, one could examine Flourish and see an explosion of fall colors. Or they could see those little white orbs as strands of pearls representing female figures who work hard to better their community.
"Actually, I saw (the little white orbs) as more of a sunrise, the beginning of a new day," Davis said. "I took into account the league's charitable ventures and used vibrant colors to reference that positive, uplifting point of view."
In its 60 years in Pinellas, the Junior League of Clearwater-Dunedin has raised more than $1.5 million for the Dunedin Fine Art Center, UPARC Foundation, the Sunshine Playground at Clearwater's Long Center, the FUN Bus and a center in the High Point area for low-income families.
The group's current focus is funding a future foster teen training center for those aging out of the foster care system in Pinellas and Pasco.
Proceeds from Art Harvest will come from sponsorships, vendor fees, food and beverage sales, parking fees, tickets for prize drawings — and tattoos. At the children's art tent, an artist will paint faces and glitter tattoos on children. Tickets are $5, $7 and $10 (based on the size of the art). Craft projects will be free.
For adults, there's an opportunity to win artwork, jewelry and photography from the artists as well as gift certificates for restaurants, massages and more. Tickets for the drawings are $5 or $50 for a book of 10.
"Art is an important part of our lives," Davis said. "We need to have some way to see above all the clutter."
Have a Diversions feature event? Contact Terri Bryce Reeves at firstname.lastname@example.org