When artist Suzy Pease moved across the country from Florida to Arizona in the hopes of finding her passion, she never imagined she’d end up with a sculpting studio in Gulfport nearly two decades later.
“When I moved to Arizona in 2010, I needed something, I just didn’t know what,” Pease said. “I ended up falling in love with sculpting, and I moved back to Florida.”
Formerly a fine arts educator, Pease began dedicating her time to creating hand-made sculptures inspired by marine life and merging her artistic talents with community need.
Life Smiles Project
Pease and close friend Michael Berginc are well-known at the St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital in Tampa for their co-created non-profit, the Life Smiles Project.
The pair frequent the children’s hospital to engage sick children in art projects that feature painting, coloring, playdough and other activities.
“I loved the idea immediately,” Pease said. “We work with about eight to 15 kids for an hour, and the children that are too sick to leave their room get a bag of art supplies to use when they are feeling better.”
Recently, Pease began working on sculpting something a little smaller than her typical work. The local artist has been working on tiny dog-paw-shaped pendants that are currently being sold at The Dog Bar in St. Petersburg.
On hundred percent of the proceeds are donated to animal charities.
“I told them that the money can go to a dog rescue of their choice,” Pease said.
When Pease isn’t donating her time to non-profits, she is creating ocean-inspired jewelry and sculptures. Her home studio is where she keeps many of her award-winning pieces, when they’re not rotating throughout St. Petersburg.
Her works reside in well-known spots like the Sandpearl Resort in Clearwater, the Florida CraftArt gallery in downtown St. Petersburg and the Beach Art Center in Indian Rocks Beach.
“In my work, I strive to capture the true essence of a being,” Pease said. “I like to emphasize expression, emotion and movement, while giving each of my creatures their own whimsical personality.”
The artist hopes to keep creating in Gulfport, and calls the city home with her two dogs, an Australian shepherd and an elderly Pomeranian.