By Ron Sandstead, Flutterby Antiques, Destin
Artists love being Artists! It makes them happy. They probably can’t explain the process of combining thought, imagination and experience. They don’t care how it happens. They just know it happens and they love it. Over time, their style, medium and skill level all change. What doesn’t change is the joy they feel when they have completed something new — something beautiful.
The artists we are featuring this month are Andrea Scurto and James Mulling. Both are talented artists and, fortunately for us, willing to share their gifts with Destin.
Andrea Scurto, known as Andi by her friends, is a self-taught artist and works with a variety of mediums. Although accomplished with oils and acrylics, she is most comfortable with water color and loves painting portraits and “quirky illustrations.” Besides painting and teaching art, Andi devotes a lot of her time as a volunteer helping others.
Andi has been involved in a number of art projects in and around Destin. She won the 2015 Mattie Kelly Arts Foundation poster competition with her painting of a bicycle-riding giraffe named Mattie. Since then, she has donated her time to give Destin a couple of fun children’s murals. Her first “outside art” project was a mural on the side of the Destin Elementary School. It is a fanciful picture of dolphins leaping out of the ocean waves into a sun-filled sky. Along with the dolphins, there are flying books, birds, butterflies and other fanciful creatures. Her most recent mural is on a wall at the Destin Commons next to the children’s playground. It is a whimsical painting of her bicycle-riding giraffe, Mattie, flying through the sky surrounded by birds.
In the past, Andi has been an illustrator of children’s books. Today, she is writing and illustrating one of her own about the adventures of Mattie. Her artwork can be found at either the Pearl Gallery located in the Destin Commons or online at www.andiart.com.
For her banner, Andi used water colors to paint a whimsical bear sitting on the beach under a star-filled sky. In her painting, the moon is a balloon looking down on the bear and beach. Is there a deeper meaning here? I don’t know – I just know it makes me smile! I’ve never seen a bear on one of our beaches, but I hear they are around. After all, who doesn’t like to dream of bears, moon balloons, sand pipers, and moon light reflecting on still water?
James Mulling has lived in the Destin area for the last 25 years and is known as a lay preacher, postman, house painter, musician, song writer and author of two books. He can now add artist to that list. His painting of a sea turtle swimming in the ocean is very realistic. This is a wonderful painting. But, surprisingly, James didn’t know he had an artistic eye until his wife, Kat, gave him art supplies as a gift. After Kat left on an extended trip, he started painting. He has painted something every day since. He painted his turtle on day 73. Sometimes finding your talent is like a baby bird leaving its nest. It doesn’t know it can fly — but then it does. That is James!
James’ artwork is reasonably priced and can be found on his James Mulling Facebook site. He donates the majority of his art sales to support his nonprofit organization — Fish and Loaves. After five years of working, planning and prayer, they recently opened their Community Kitchen. The Kitchen functions both as a food pantry and a place people can come on Saturdays for a hot meal. You can find more information on the Fish and Loaves Facebook site.
With all the ugly that is currently going on in our world, it is a breath of fresh air to talk to someone like James. If you don’t know him, it might be good to visit him on a Saturday morning and have a chat. Everyone has a story – and, James happens to have a good one. If you have the time, get him to tell you about his journey. I promise, it will be worth the listen.
JEly Business Services is one of our Banner Art Project sponsors and is owned by long time Destin resident Jackie Ely. JEly has been in business for over 20 years, employs 11 people and provides a variety of bookkeeping and accounting services. It is located at 986A Airport Road. Jackie has been a longtime supporter of the arts and bringing art to the streets of Destin. Thank you, Jackie, for supporting us and being one of our Destin Heroes.