The paragraphs below are from an an entry of mine to the SHINE Mural Festival. The last few months have been crazy, I personally have suffered a loss and grieved the passing of my grandmother. In turn so has the local community that knew RayZilla and his musical influence on the hearts of so many.
Ray "Ray-zilla" Villadonga sadly passed away June 10th and it would be fitting to piece together a painting that honors the music history of St. Pete and Ray was certainly a larger than life figure. One of my favorite things to do is draw local bands at various venues around town. One night I saw the musician in his element, had the pleasure of showing a sketch I'd done to Ray and really enjoyed the reaction. The warmth of artists supporting one another's craft shone through, he was such a positive, radiator of energy, a storyteller and bear-huggable guy.
Binge Music is on 1st Ave North, the wall faces the flow of traffic, gets plenty of sunlight, and would be great large canvas to pay tribute to musicians of the past than grew up, lived in, or had influence in the St. Pete music scene or community.
A Godzilla theme would be fitting, but the project doesn't need to focus solely on Ray-zilla's passing but the beauty of the music scene here as a whole. To make people proud of the past, grateful for the present, happy to keep on barefoot dancing and twisting the night away.
Thank you for your time and consideration. Cheers."
P.S. A few weeks after creating and saving this post, the actor who played Godzilla, Haruo Nakajima, passed away. Although the image above is a work in progress for new clients Cali Tacos To Go. They have a Godzilla burrito on the menu, so upon hearing of Mr. Nakajima's passing I pushed for this idea. Not exactly a literal tribute to Ray Villadonga, but I sure am listening to his albums while painting.
Earlier in the year I had the honor of being chosen for a local project called Super Heroes on Parade, done through the charity Southeastern Guide Dogs. This project is a collaboration between artists and sponsors to paint, draw, sculpt or otherwise customize a massive doggie-hero statue. All the artists receive the same statue, cast molded by Scott Moore of Port Charlotte, FL but are paired with different sponsors who have "naming" rights and ideas of their own to incorporate.
My sponsors were Fidelity Investment Services and they got to name the sculpture "Roosevelt" in reference to their headquarters location. It was fun meeting FIS employees and creating sketches for all the ideas in our brainstorm meeting. Concepts ranging from Cyborg Military Dog to corporate, disguised, Wonder Woman in a pant suit. Having 30 days to work from green light, to concepts and then a finished product in order to meet the deadline of March 8th was a challenge. The paint process took two weeks and was done with Golden brand acrylic paints, sealed with Krylon UV resistant top coat.
The painting features a wrap around seascape of local landmarks that embody the scope of FIS' employee base and charity outreach. Icons of the bay area like the Skyway Bridge morphs into the skyline of St Pete, complete with waterside parks, Dali museum, Al Lang Field, and the historic Vinoy hotel. The patriotic colors are a tribute to our veterans including a USA striped cape, pedestal base and a custom pressed dog tag necklace with Roosevelt's name, rank and the date of the unveiling.
Please get your votes in helping Roosevelt break into the Top Ten while also supporting a worthy cause with those donations. Check out the Southeastern Guide Dog website for more about the work they do saving lives with real working dogs. "People's Choice Voting" will continue online until September 29th. Three "Top Dogs" from each area of Sarasota, St. Pete and Tampa will be chosen at a ceremony on October 7th.