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Exploring the Wild Imagination of Patti Suzette: Art, Animals, and Abstract Expressionism in Tampa

Local Artist

By Brett Maternowski, Co-Founder of the Artistic Incubator

In the flourishing Tampa art scene, Patti Suzette stands out with her vibrant personality and a profound obsession with the animal kingdom intricately woven into her artworks. Patti began her artistic odyssey amidst abstract expressionism, feeling deeply connected with her creations. As her prowess advanced, a seamless blend of hyperrealism with abstract underpinnings began to characterize her pieces, often spotlighting the majestic creatures she adores. “I can always paint them,” she muses, referencing the wild animals that are her muses, yet impractical as pets.

Patti recalls her entry into the local art milieu as a period marked by camaraderie rather than rivalry. “I have made some incredible friends,” she shares, reflecting on the supportive network that bolstered her growth. Her marked debut? A live painting at Skel’s XOXO show in Tampa, a nerve-wracking yet pivotal experience that set her on an ascending trajectory.

The turning point for Patti’s full-time artistic commitment came with a commissioned large-scale piece. That moment of realization, “oh, I can get paid for this?” shifted her path from hobbyist to professional painter and muralist. Acrylics are her chosen medium, appreciated for their quick-drying nature and the challenge they present in color blending—a hurdle she embraces.

Themes in Patti’s collections are unmistakably centered around wildlife, a passion ignited by her childhood in Juneau, Alaska. The “urban jungle” she paints, a juxtaposition of natural beauty against a backdrop of man-made constructs, is a commentary on habitat destruction and the plight of endangered species. “I want my work to draw attention to this in hopes that, through awareness, we can stop the destruction of habitats,” Patti asserts. Her art’s message is clear: “Be aware of our planet; it is a gift, and it is our responsibility to take care of her.”

Drawing from her upbringing in nature’s embrace, Patti’s creativity is further sparked by her surroundings in Tampa. “Each morning while I drink my coffee I take in the palm trees and birds,” she describes her lakeview balcony, a testament to Tampa’s inspiring beauty. The city’s ever-growing street art scene also fuels her imagination.

Patti’s journey wasn’t without challenges. Transitioning from alcohol inks and fire to acrylics meant relearning and refining her craft. “It taught me to try new things,” she reflects, a lesson in versatility and perseverance. She measures her success by the completion and realization of her visions, as well as her participation in national art shows, a nod to her commitment to her craft.

Her artistic sensibilities bleed into other aspects of her life, notably interior design, enhancing her ability to create cohesive spaces that reflect her mood and personality. If her art could spark a change, Patti Suzette wishes it to be in environmental sustainability and conservation—topics she holds dear.

Tampa’s diverse community and picturesque landscapes have deeply influenced her work, while collaborations with other local artists have enriched her approach and technique. Looking forward, she predicts a more colorful, art-centric cityscape for Tampa, something she is excited to contribute to.

Gratitude is extended to fellow artists like Micheal Vahl, Chris, Audrey Jennifer, Damien Stuck, Matt Kress, and Jason Skeldon, whose talents she admires and with whom she shares the art scene. When reflecting on her creative process, she wishes more people would inquire, “What did you learn from creating this piece?” It’s a question that encapsulates the essence of growth and discovery inherent in her art-making.

Patti is optimistic about the Artistic Incubator program, seeing it as a catalyst for talent and artistic expression. As for the future, she’s gearing up for an innovative project at Jamminz beach bar on Clearwater Beach—a blacklight reflective mural that promises to be an immersive experience.

To those inspired by her journey, Patti Suzette offers sage advice: “Just keep going. It isn’t a race, it isn’t a marathon, it is a lifestyle.” Her words underscore a truth known to many creatives—that the essence of art is found in persistent creation, an ever-unfolding path where each day brings a new opportunity for expression and mastery.

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