Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Vilano Beach Art and Retro Charm

This weekend I took home a visual reminder of one of my favorite weekend destinations, Vilano Beach, Florida.

The expressive quality of the shapes and zany construction reminds me of one of my favorite paintings from Dr. Suess's Secret Art Collection, Cat Detective in the Wrong Part of Town.

These abstractions are just as charming as the sea side towns that inspired them. They are constructed from items bought in by the tide, giving them a unique and eclectic look. The construction is surprisingly solid, showcasing a carpenter's skill that belies the colorful outward appearances of the artwork.

The texture is courtesy of the unique course sand on Vilano beach, which is full of tiny shells. It's the perfect sand for sand castles.

Each piece was beguiling, making it incredibly difficult to choose the perfect city to bring home. The lovely textured cluster closest to the foreground in the photo above was almost the winner.

In the end and after careful consideration I went home with this solid piece. It has different types of wood including cypress and bamboo, making it deceptively heavy. It recalls the frank and simple construction of a sea side Caribbean shack. The artist wrapped it in netting for me and adhered a sturdy hook to the back so I could hang it on my wall and I gave him $30 for the artwork.

This was the artist's Moving Sale. He's leaving charming and resplendently 50s retro Vilano Beach Motel. I didn't have an indepth discussion with him about it, but I can't help but wonder if it's because of a recent and disappointing change to my favorite beach motel.

The picture above and the following pictures were taken the summer of 2006 when I first discovered the Motel. When I visited the Motel this weekend the beautiful 50s era and highly tongue-in-cheek sign was gone and had been replaced with a solitary bland flamingo!

This has strengthened resolve to continued in-depth exploration and documentation of my favorite tiny beach town before more 50s relics fade into History. Expect more pictures and stories of thrift stores and inspirational retro glory from Vilano Beach to inspire your summer thrift hunts in the coming months.

I can't wait to explore St. Augustine and Vilano Beach in depth this summer, but I'm truly going to miss these dancing neon rabbits underneath the starry sky; the ocean's raspy whisper slicing through the silent night.


  1. lovely seeing such a colorful spot ... imagining the warmth too from N Virginia!

  2. Fun stuff! I love your purchase. St. Augustine is rich in art and history. You'll no doubt love it.

  3. Such wonderful colors and textures! Thanks for sharing!

  4. Well, now I want to go to the beach ;) Great photos!

  5. van, i just love how the artwork echos those jagged lines in the first photo. really interesting images here. and you know what? as an aside, i'm just kind of gushy seeing these names i know from my blog in your comment section. i tell ya, i have the *best* readers out there ;) thanks for sharing! xo

  6. here from archive dive @ imadeitso

    cool purchase! what a neat way to remember a town--better than a photo i must say!

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