BB ART IS A LIFESTYLE BRAND THAT CREATES ART WITH A PURPOSE. Everything I do for the brand — from my merch shop, to my afterschool art program for students, to the murals and mixed media paintings — is all created with a bigger picture in mind. Creativity is something that naturally runs through me, and I’m constantly focusing on the brand. I am business-minded at my core, so every time I see an opportunity to turn art into something [bigger], I take it, try to scale it, and run with it.
BEING IN THE SHINE MURAL FESTIVAL WAS SUCH A COOL EXPERIENCE. I was always a spectator, and participating [this year] was a professional goal that I was happy to check off the list. SHINE was the first time I ever fully collaborated on a mural from design to execution. Technically, my friend and fellow artist NNEKKA Jones was invited. We graduated from the same art program at the University of Tampa, and she asked me to collaborate with her because murals are my thing. I’m so grateful for her and all the curators that made SHINE a special first mural festival experience for me.
The Love Wall [in Seminole Heights, which asked people to write something they loved on a big chalk wall] was a great project. I collaborated with the Bavaro’s restaurant brand on it. It was one of my first projects that received a lot of press. I love doing installations that call the community out to interact. You can still see all the interactive Instagram posts by looking up the hashtag #lovewalltampa.
I think my collaboration and partnership with Fresh Kitchen is my favorite. The Ciccio Restaurant Group played a big role in getting the BB Art brand out in Tampa. I started with them when Tampa was on the verge of becoming what it is now. It was so cool to be a part of something from the idea stage to seeing it become a really well-executed concept. Now every one of the Fresh Kitchen locations has a little BB Art somewhere inside. They really let me run wild with all my ideas and embrace the weirdness. Fresh Kitchen will be a hard project to top!
MY LOCAL KNOWLEDGE…
I WENT TO COLLEGE HERE [AT THE UNIVERSITY OF TAMPA], SO OVER THE YEARS I’VE GOTTEN TO EXPERIENCE ALL SOUTH HOWARD HAS TO OFFER [FOR NIGHTLIFE]. These days, my ideal night is getting dinner with my boyfriend and a group of friends and ordering a bunch of things on the menu to share. I love checking out new spots, but some staples that never let me down are Forbici in Hyde Park Village and On Swann.
THERE ARE SO MANY GREAT BRUNCH PLACES THAT HAVE RECENTLY OPENED IN MY NEIGHBORHOOD. Psomi, a really cute, family-owned Greek spot, opened around the corner. Everything from the decor to the menus and the uniforms makes my heart melt. It’s a perfectly executed brand and, as an artist, I love that.
MY FAVORITE PLACE IN TOWN FOR COFFEE IS THE LAB COFFEE SHOP. I’m actually here answering these questions! Pete, one of the owners’ moms, bakes these really good, fresh blueberry muffins. I get one of those and a drip coffee with light almond milk. If I’m not here working, I just buy 3 pounds of their freshly roasted beans to brew in my house. Fun fact: Sometimes I can smell them roasting the beans from my house!
MEAT MARKET IN HYDE PARK VILLAGE IS MY GO-TO FOR FINE DINING. It’s one of the few places in Florida I feel like I have to get dressed up for. Spend some time with Orlando at the raw bar if you appreciate oysters, stone crabs and the finer things in life.
ANOTHER PLACE WITHIN A FIVE-MINUTE WALK FROM MY HOUSE: I LOVE RAW SMOOTHIE CO ON NORTH HOWARD FOR A QUICK ACAI BOWL OR SMOOTHIE. I also eat at Lemon Grass Thai Kitchen at least three times a week. They are quick, and my healthy go-to option is Tom Yum soup and fresh rolls. If I’m sharing with my boyfriend, we get the same thing. Just add chicken fried rice, and then split that whole meal. They know me by voice as soon as I call it in.
MY FAVORITE TOPIC IS SELF-CARE. If I don’t prioritize it, my work really suffers. I feel my best physically and mentally committing to three days a week at CAMP Tampa, which is a unique ﬁtness boutique located in South Tampa. My go-to classes are yoga and Hot HIIT Pilates! Soho Wellness is where I go for what I like to call my monthly upkeep. It offers both mind and body care, so when I need a mental check-in, I go to Debbie, who offers amazing life coach services. Then for relaxation, Botox and aesthetics, the owner, Becky, hooks me up. She’s one of my best friends, so I’m always popping in there to see what’s new and forcing myself onto their calendar. When I really want to treat myself, I visit Krissy at Cielo Spa for a facial; she works magic and is booked months out, so call now if you want to see her.
MY FAVORITE SPOT FOR ARTS AND CULTURE IS ACTUALLY IN ST. PETE. I like to rent an electric scooter and check out all the new murals that are up and grab a juice and a bite to eat at Bodega.
WHEN I HAVE PEOPLE VISIT FROM OUT OF TOWN, I TAKE THEM FOR A BIKE RIDE DOWN THE RIVERWALK AND THEN BRING THEM TO ARMATURE WORKS.
LS ORGANICS COMES TO MIND FIRST WHEN I THINK ABOUT MY FAVORITE WOMAN-OWNED TAMPA BUSINESSES. This is hard because so many of my female friends own businesses! A few of my faves are Locura By J for comfy hand-embroidered sweats; Social Revelry, the party babes of Tampa Bay; The People’s Champ, a personal concierge service; Elizabeth Dugan Creative for photography; and Sand Surf Co. for clothing, swim and accessories.
I SHOP IN HADEN REID FOR CONTEMPORARY-CASUAL CLOTHING, BUT OTHER THAN THAT I BASICALLY LIVE AND PAINT IN YOGA CLOTHES ALL DAY. So I am usually in Lululemon Align leggings and a BB ART tee. Also, I love plant shopping! The Yura Vine Bros. just opened up a shop on Platt Street.
JET CITY ESPRESSO IS THE EPITOME OF A HIDDEN GEM. In the heart of Hyde Park and tucked away on a quaint street, it’s a little shop off of the owner’s house. Tip: Cafe Borgia, double shot, sub for almond milk, say yes to the homemade whipped cream. Mic drop.