Famous Tampa Artist,Tampa Artist,Tampa Famous Artist http://hongkongwillie.blogspot.com/2014/04/weird-florida-roads-less-traveled.html Google Hongkongwillie Blue Marlin Dreams Hongkongwillie Art, $225,000 To Live a life in the art world and be so blessed to make a social impact. Artists are to give back, talent is to tell a story, to make change. Reuse is a life experience https://www.etsy.com/shop/hongkongwillie It,(was the dump) that had all this media, and a young enterprising mind. Not enough time to capture it all. Raised on Tampa city dump,like living in the Penthouse in the upper east side. New Tampa Patch By Tristram DeRoma The Story Behind the Eye-Catching Art at I-75 Exit 266 Tampa Florida Famous Florida Recycling Artist Joe Brown, better known as "Hong Kong Willie," makes art with a message at his home/studio near Sometimes, it s the smallest experiences that have the biggest impact on a person s life. While attending an art class in 1958 at the age of 8, Legendary Recycling Artist, Joe Brown recalled being mesmerized by the lesson. It involved transforming a Gerber baby bottle into a piece of art. The Gerber bottle had no intrinsic value at all, he said. But when (the instructor) got through with me that day, she made me see how something so (valueless) can be valuable. By the time class was over, Brown learned many other lessons, too, such as the importance of volunteerism, recycling, reuse and giving back to the community. He recalled being impressed by the teacher's volunteer work in Hiroshima, Japan, helping atomic bomb survivors. "One of the last words she ever spoke to me about that was, When I left, I left out of Hong Kong, he said. After turning that over in his young brain for awhile, he decided to use it in a nickname, adding the name Willie a year later. You've probably seen Hong Kong Willie's eye-catching home/gallery/studio at Fletcher Avenue and Interstate 75. But what is the story of the man behind all those buoys and discarded objects turned into art? Brown practiced his creative skills through his younger years. But as an adult, he managed to amass a small fortune working in the materials management industry. By the the '80s, he left the business world and decided to concentrate on his art. He spent some years in the Florida Keys honing his craft and building his reputation as a folk artist. He also bought some land in Tampa near Morris Bridge Road and Fletcher Avenue where he and his family still call home. Brown purchased the land just after the entrances and exits to I-75 were built. He said he was once offered more than $1 million for the land by a restaurant. He turned it down, he said, preferring instead to make part of the property into a studio and gallery for the creations he and his family put together. And all of it is made of what most people would consider trash. Pieces of driftwood, burlap bags, doll heads, rope anything that comes Brown s way becomes part of his vocabulary of expression, and, in turn, becomes something else, which makes a tour of his property somewhat of a visual adventure. What at first seems like a random menagerie of glass, driftwood and pottery suddenly comes together in one's brain to form something completely different. One moment nothing, the next a powerful statement about 9/11. One Man's Trash ... Trash? There is no such thing, Brown seems to say through his art. He keeps a blog about his art at hongkongwillie.blogspot.com. He also sells his creations through the Website Etsy.com. In his shop, he has fashioned many smaller items out of driftwood, burlap bags and other materials into signs, purses, totes, bird feeder hangars and yard sculptures. He sells a lot to the regular influx of University of South Florida parents and students every year who are are at first intrigued by the buoy tree and the odd-looking building they see as they take Exit 266 ...