It’s only fitting that the first ever Featured Vendor would be… (drumroll)… The Messy Painter, Crystina Castiglione! She was quite literally the first Market Mafia member. Co-Founders Tara + Kim fell madly in love with the unique work of The Messy Painter during their visits to Pierce Street Market, until after obsessing over her work long enough, they sat down with her 1:1 for work on a custom piece for the Market Mafia concept. At that point the Market Mafia was merely that, an idea! Crystina is not only a local talent and master of watercolor, but a true #ladyboss who started her own company in 2015 and empowered the idea of the mafia from day one. She provided insight and encouragement from the start.
The Messy Painter enjoys markets for the same reasons most local lovers do: connection with other creatives, engagement with the community, sharing art and in return receiving feedback on her work, finding inspiration in new ideas and of course snagging market treasures! She’s been making, painting and photographing, in her words, since she was “old enough to hold a crayon.” She started really honing in on her watercolor technique in the last three years by “delving into old vintage illustration books, talking to watercolor teachers and basically reading anything about the medium.” Her work is vibrant and whimsical. Crystina’s inspiration is seen clearly in her work: travel, nature and the coast.
Fittingly, by day Crystina teaches elementary school art, showing “tiny humans how to paint, draw and sculpt.” She describes their reactions to the materials and the way their minds work as eye opening, stating it fuels her “own art on many levels.” The excitement of the children is contagious, even to her as a skilled artist. Of course there are hazards that come along with any profession, and for her she discovered the old saying about kids eating glue was an actual problem in this line of work; she’s recently started her students on a bead making project in hopes that bead work is a less appetizing medium.
Where can you find her? Her usual haunts include: St. Pete Indie Market, Tampa Indie Flea, Hyde Park Village, Seminole Heights Sunday Market and Miami Flea. However, she describes the St. Pete Indie Flea as a personal favorite to vend at simply due to the quality of goods sold and real craftsmanship visitors can find there. Her work is also featured at brick and mortar shop, Strands of Sunshine! If you want to learn the tricks of the trade from this local talent, she also teaches workshops twice a month at Strands of Sunshine and Whim So Doodle!
Visit her website to shop, attend her workshops, read her blog or hire her for custom work!!!