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And that’s a wrap for SHINE artists Schwacke and Thomas

Bill DeYoung



A hard day's work: The scene at the Schwacke mural early Saturday afternoon. All photos by Bill DeYoung

Schwacke (on the lift) and Thomas complete their mural.

And on the seventh day, they finished up and went home. And then they rested.

SHINE Mural Festival artist Mason Schwacke and his collaborator, C.J. Thomas, spent 12 hours in the Friday sun, working on the 12×43 mural they created at 1400 3rd Street South, depicting several marine animals classified as “species at risk.”

On Saturday – the final scheduled day of the week-long festival – they were on the scene by 10 a.m., and ready to head back to their homes by 3.

There’s no shade on the west side of the building, and the November sun was working them hard.

“Today we’re just putting the icing on the cake,” Schwacke explained. “We might come back tomorrow, with a clear head, and maybe put in a couple of extra things.”

Added Thomas: “I’ll probably do a little detail brush work on the water, nothing crazy.”

After losing all of Wednesday to Tropical Storm Eta, the artists doubled down and got their mural – dedicated to ocean conservation, as per the sponsoring National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association – up to speed.

Schwacke and Thomas were momentarily chagrined to discover that the building’s three partially-opened windows wouldn’t close. Owner Jan Hawk “went inside to try and close the one on the end,” according to Schwacke, “and it broke the handle right off.”

The resourceful muralists decided to paint right over the awkward openings. “Not a whole lot you can do,” Thomas said with a grin. “We either let it ruin our day, or just figure it out, you know?”

St. Petersburg Arts Alliance SHINE Mural Festival website.

Saturday, Nov. 7, mid-afternoon. The first full day of work for Thomas (left) and Schwacke.


Sunday, Nov. 8, late morning:  Schwacke working at the wall. 


Thursday, Nov. 12. Tasks: Detail work on two of the marine creatures, and “stippling” the bottom of the image.


Getting it done: Early Thursday afternoon (Nov. 12): SHINE director Jenee Priebe,  Schwacke and property owner Jan Hawk. 


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