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Artbook Tampa Bay Paints a Perfect Picture at Jonny Reno's

On Friday night, artists from the most recent release of Artbook Tampa Bay took over the Pier, with brushes and paints and canvas.

Unsuspecting patrons at were greeted with live art as well as a massive display of artwork from locals. More than 50 artists from the popular book, Artbook Tampa Bay II, were on hand to showcase their work and chat with supporters.

Back in November, HD Interactive (an app development company) came up with an idea to create a coffee table book. It would not be just any coffee table book, but one with integrity and sustainability. To achieve those goals, the team did what they do best: created an app.

President of HD Interactive, Sean Carey and Chief Strategy Officer, Kevin Hohl brainstormed the best options as far as content and realized that art would be the best fit. With talented, in house photographers and artist pals, it was a no brainer to create a book pushing local talent.

"In two hours we figured out the whole scenario and decided to make a book of Tampa Bay artists," said Hohl.

Within weeks of their brainchild, a functioning prototype was completed.

After putting out a call to artists, submissions were brought in from all over the bay area. From Ruskin to Brandon and Valrico to Dunedin, it was not just St. Pete artists that were invited to take part.

Artists were able to submit as many pieces as they wished, but a jury of established professionals made the final cuts before publication. The jury included: George Ann Bissett of the Dunedin Fine Arts Center, Grace-Anne Alfiero of Creative Clay, Sabrina Hughes of the Museum of Fine Arts in St. Petersburg and Wayne David Atherholt of the Morean Arts Center.

The final product came out to 880 pages of art. Each piece was accompanied by its artist with a short biography and a link out to their website.

Tampa newcomer, Shad Leibelt, was at Jonny Reno's for the and said that the book was a good way for him to connect to the art community. Leibelt has four pieces of his work in the book and was excited to be a part of the launch.

"A lot of people showed up and it is a really lively event," said Leibelt. "My favorite part about it is all of the great artwork that's on display."

Some folks ate while other wandered through the makeshift art gallery. T-shirts proclaiming "Art Turns Me On" were for sale while live music filled the evening air.

Dunedin duo, Doug Hyland and Deb Barasso, produce mixed media pieces together. They say that two creative minds are better than one. "You can create so much more by discussing ideas between two people," said Hyland.

The twosome, also known as Dramatic Design & Decor, said they were satisfied with the turnout at Jonny Reno's. "This is just awesome," said Hyland.

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