St. Pete artist Jimmy Breen dies at 37

“The best thing about being a local artist in St. Pete is that everyone here is universally accepted,” illustrator Jimmy Breen told the Catalyst in 2021. “People here want to help each other. They understand, for the most part, that there’s enough to go around for all of us.”

Breen, who died Monday at the age of 37, came to the Tampa Bay area to study in the graphic design program at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg. For eight years, he’d been creating original art for a series of record labels – starting with Gainesville independent Fueled By Ramen, eventually moving up through Atlantic Records and the entire Warner Music Group. “My position with WMG is sort of like a creative chameleon,” Breen wrote on his LinkedIn page. “I am taking general direction from the music artists’ project managers and our creative team, and making artwork in a rainbow of diverse styles and voices for a variety of projects. I do design and illustration projects every day, and I get to work for a lot of the greatest music artists in the world.”

“He was on a worldwide scale, in terms of his art,” artist Chad Mize said Friday. “But he had a huge local presence.”

Breen contributed a mural to the 2019 SHINE Mural Festival, and operated his own creative design company, Wax & Hive. Breen was also an active participant in Creative Mornings, the positive-thinking-based breakfast and lecture series for area creatives.

Most recently, he painted a mural for Creative Mornings at Vertical Ventures, 116 18th St. South.

“He just was really talented,” Mize said. “He could do different styles of art – he was well-rounded in what he presented. Very professional. He was just prolific, and he also was a mentor to a lot of people. He took on interns. I think he inspired a lot of people.”

Cause of death has not been made public.

RELATED STORY: LOCAL-ish: Meet artist Jimmy Breen


Bill DeYoung

Catalyst Senior Writer and Editor Bill DeYoung was a St. Petersburg Times correspondent at the age of 17. He went on to a 30-year career at newspapers in Florida and Georgia. He is the author of "Skyway: The True Story of Tampa Bay's Signature Bridge and the Man Who Brought it Down," "Phil Gernhard Record Man," "I Need to Know: The Lost Music Interviews," "Vintage St. Pete: The Golden Age of Tourism - and More" and "Vintage St. Pete Volume II: Legends, Locations, Lifestyles."

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  • Jimmy Breen was a present we gave to ourselves in DTSP


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