Florida Famous Artist.++Updated12/28/2015

Famous Artist Raised on Tampa city dump,like living in the Penthouse in the upper east side.

Gunn Highway Landfill

The Gunn Highway Landfill is located
off Gunn Highway in Tampa, Hillsborough
County, Florida. The county operated the landfill
 as a trench-type facility for the disposal

of MSW from 1958 to 1962.

 

  Published in TB2

BY SOHINI LAHIRI

Growing up in Tampa, I spent a period of time fascinated by a quirky,
eye-catching landmark at Fletcher Avenue and Interstate 75. This was
also the period of time I spent obsessed with making binoculars out of
toilet paper rolls and necklaces out of pop tops. To me, this sight was
the epitome of similar creative craziness, and I often found myself
looking for it during car journeys, hoping it hadn’t disappeared
overnight.

But time passes and so does the urge for pop-top necklaces, and
observant eyes don’t notice the same sights. It wasn’t until recently
that I once again took note of the scene, with its broken down orange
helicopter, a tree made of what seems to be indestructible balloons and a
blue-and-white house covered with trash remade into art.

It’s the home of Florida Famous Artist Hong Kong Willie.

I finally paid a visit to this art gallery after many years of
wondering about the story behind it. The pavement leading to the door is
painted with handprints and splatters, the store edged with upside down
Coke bottles. Streams of lobster buoys hang from the roof and also make
up the “tree” I marveled at so often from my car window.

Various shoes, bottles, clocks and signs are glued to the side of the
store, and there’s a tribute to Sept. 11 off to the side. No one seemed
to be home, so I called the number on the “WE’RE OPEN” sign, which
brought a middle-aged man in a bright Hawaiian shirt from behind the
store.

After a few basic questions, Joe Brown begins to open up about the history surrounding his art.

Brown, better known as Hong Kong Willie, says he was an artist from the
start. “Everyone is born an artist,” he said. “However some are granted
the gift of being able to express that art.”

As a young boy, his mother decided to send him to art school, which he says changed the course of his life forever.

At the age of 8, Brown recalls being heavily influenced by the lessons,
which included transforming a Gerber baby bottle, something with no
real value, into a piece of art. His teacher had spent an enormous
amount of time and effort in Hiroshima, Japan, helping those affected by
the atomic bombs. Brown learned many lessons about recycling from this
teacher, who had come from Hong Kong. Brown added an American name,
Willie, to Hong Kong for his nickname Hong Kong Willie.

While Brown grew up to be an artist, he left the world of mainstream art to return to his background in technology.

“But on Nov. 13th, 1981 … on a Friday at 1:30 in the afternoon, I had
an epiphany,” Brown says. “I was at a friend’s house right across the
street,” pausing to point at a row of apartments across from his store,
“and a series of events led me to rejoin the art world.”

With the help of two other artists, Brown set up his business in the
Florida Keys in the early 1980s, then moved it to Tampa. Together, they
believed that they were predestined for the Green Movement, and have
been making art out of recyclables for close to 30 years.

How’s business? He smiles. “It’s pretty wild.”

Inside, Hong Kong Willie’s art includes glossy pieces of driftwood
restored and painted with beautiful landscapes and kernels of truth,
some of the gorgeous work priced in the six figures. But there’s also a
wide collection of handmade bags, wooden sculptures and sassy bracelets
for more moderate prices.

A portion of the proceeds go to benefit the Green Movement, Brown says.

With a laid-back swagger, Brown continues. “We live pretty minimally.
And all the funds we get from donations and our art sales are delegated
to green projects.”

I’m not sure what I was expecting when I decided to visit Hong Kong
Willie. Certainly not the breathtaking art inside, and definitely not
the history behind it. I’m feeling thick-headed for not visiting years
ago, and say so.

Brown offers a last bit of insight:

“I’m a big believer in predestination and timing. If someone is not
ready to view art, the door is closed. Every piece of art that is made,
and every project we do is done for a reason. It doesn’t matter if that
reason shows up the next day, or walks in six years later; every piece
of art will find a home.”

Blue Marlin Dream of Key West.

$225,000  Hong Kong Willie Art

 

Hongkongwillie   Florida Famous Artist was once told to keep telling the story and they will keep coming,and
they always do.”Every piece of art that is made, and every project we do
is done for a reason. It doesn’t matter if that reason shows up the
next day, or walks in six years later; every piece of art will find a
home.”
Famed, by the humble
statements from the Key West Citizen, viable art from reuse has found
its time.

 
Hongkongwillie Art Shabby Chic Burlap Art,on Vintage Silk Screen Frame.This is a Hongkongwillie Exclusive

 

 

 

Hongkongwillie Art
$129.00— Each We have several Different selections.

Hongkongwillie Art Shabby Chic Burlap Art,on Vintage Silk Screen Frame.

 Florida Famous Artist of Google,Facebook ,Twitter ,WEIRD FLORIDA: ROADS LESS TRAVELED Charlie Carlson visits one of the weirdest guys in the world,  Hong Kong Willie. WEIRD FLORIDA: ROADS LESS TRAVELED

Weird Florida Hong Kong Willie episode


FUNDING FOR THIS PROGRAM IS MADE POSSIBLE BY THE

S.L. GIMBEL FOUNDATION.

IN THIS EDITION OF

WEDU ARTS PLUS 112 Hong Kong Willie

New Tampa Patch 

By Tristram DeRoma 

The Story Behind the Eye-Catching Art at I-75 Exit 266 Tampa Florida

  Florida Famous Artist Joe Brown, better known as “Hong Kong
Willie,” makes art with a message at his home/studio near I 75 Exit 266 Tampa Florida.

Sometimes, it’s the smallest experiences that have the biggest impact on a person’s life.

While attending an art class in 1958 at the age of 8,Florida  Famous Artist,  Joe Brown recalled being mesmerized by the lesson. It involved transforming a Gerber baby bottle into a piece of art.

“The
Gerber bottle had no intrinsic value at all,” he said. “But when (the
instructor) got through with me that day, she made me see how something
so (valueless) can be valuable.”

By
the time class was over, Brown learned many other lessons, too, such as
the importance of volunteerism, recycling, reuse and giving back to the
community. He recalled being impressed by the teacher’s volunteer work
in Hiroshima, Japan, helping atomic bomb survivors.

“One
of the last words she ever spoke to me about that was, ‘When I left, I
left out of Hong Kong,’ ” he said. After turning that over in his young
brain for awhile, he decided to use it in a nickname, adding the name
“Willie” a year later.

You’ve probably seen Hong Kong Willie’s eye-catching home/gallery/studio at Fletcher Avenue and Interstate 75. But what is the story of the man behind all those buoys and discarded objects turned into art?

Brown
practiced his creative skills through his younger years. But as an
adult, he managed to amass a small fortune working in the materials
management industry. By the the ’80s, he left the business world and
decided to concentrate on his art. He spent some years in the Florida
Keys honing his craft and building his reputation as a folk artist. He
also bought some land in Tampa near Morris Bridge Road and Fletcher
Avenue where he and his family still call home.

Brown
purchased the land just after the entrances and exits to I-75 were
built. He said he was once offered more than $1 million for the land by a
restaurant. He turned it down, he said, preferring instead to make part
of the property into a studio and gallery for the creations he and his
family put together.

And
all of it is made of what most people would consider “trash.” Pieces of
driftwood, burlap bags, doll heads, rope — anything that comes Brown’s
way becomes part of his vocabulary of expression, and, in turn, becomes
something else, which makes a tour of his property somewhat of a visual
adventure. What at first seems like a random menagerie of glass,
driftwood and pottery suddenly comes together in one’s brain to form
something completely different. One moment nothing, the next a powerful
statement about 9/11.

One Man’s Trash …

Trash? There is no such thing, Brown seems to say through his art.

He keeps a blog about his art at hongkongwillie.blogspot.com. He also sells his creations through the Website Etsy.com.

In
his shop, he has fashioned many smaller items out of driftwood, burlap
bags and other materials into signs, purses, totes, bird feeder hangars
and yard sculptures.

He
sells a lot to the regular influx of University of South Florida
parents and students every year who are are at first intrigued by the
“buoy tree” and the odd-looking building they see as they take Exit 266
off I-75.

Of
course, many people also stop by to buy the smaller pieces of art that
he and his family create: purses made of burlap, welcome signs made of
driftwood, planters and other items lining the walls of his store.

He’s also helped put his mark on the decor of local establishments too, such as Gaspar’s Patio, 8448 N. 56th st.

Owner
Jimmy Ciaccio said that when it came time to redecorate the restaurant
several years ago, there was only one person to call for the assignment,
and that was his good friend Brown.

“I’ve
known Joe all my life, and we always had a good chemistry together,”
Ciaccio said. “He’s very creative and fun to be around, and that’s how
it all came about.”

Ciaccio
says he still gets compliments all the time for the restaurant’s
atmosphere he created using the “trash” supplied by Brown. He describes
the style as a day at the beach, like a visit to Old Key West. “They’re
so inspired, they want to decorate their own homes this way,” he said.

It’s
that kind of testimony that makes Brown feel good, knowing that others,
too, are inspired to create instead of throw away when they see his
work. He simply lets his work speak for itself.


 

John 3:16

King James Version (KJV)

 


 16For
God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that
whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

Hongkongwillie Art

MYSTERIOSITY


 




$176,000 U.S. Dollars


By Kerry Schofield


The year was 1958. Florida Famous Artist
Joe Brown, 8, lived next to a county dump site in Tampa, Fla. Brown
found old junk, fixed it up and sold it. Brown knew he had a higher
calling in life — he was destined to be an artist.

Brown, who is now 60, makes art from trash at his Hong Kong Willie Art Gallery. He has embellished the outside of the gallery with splashes of Caribbean-color paint and found objects reminiscent of Key West.
Brown
is as colorful as the gallery — he wears a bright tropical shirt with
red, white and blue plaid shorts. Patrons tell him they can smell the
salt water when they drive up. The gallery, however, is perched inland
near Morris Bridge Road and Interstate 75 where a rusty-hair hen named
Fred, first thought to be a rooster, patrols the property. Fred,
abandoned five years ago by tourists, trots between the gallery and
adjacent hotel leaving a trail of droppings behind her.
Brown
lived on the Gunn Highway Landfill from 1958 to 1963. The Hillsborough
County landfill operated for four years and was closed in 1962. “It was
astounding how quick they could fill the 15 acres in pits that were
enormous,” Brown said.
An
apartment complex now sits on top of the old landfill. A report by the
Florida Department of Environmental Protection indicated that a lining
was placed underneath the complex when it was built
to block methane gas from leaking. The gas is a byproduct of rotting garbage.
 As
a child, Brown lived on his father’s dairy and beef farm. Brown said
during heavy rain, the low land on the farm flooded the neighboring Gunn
Highway. In 1957, Hillsborough County officials offered to elevate the
low land to stop the flooding by turning it into a landfill. When the
property was sold in 1984 by Brown’s father, soil testing revealed heaps
of old paper and punctured cans of spray paint.
“They
dug up and took out newspapers like the day they were put in,” Brown
said. “It reminded me of nuclear bombs that were going to go off. They
dumped everything in the landfill.”
As
a child, Brown foraged at nearby dumpsters. County workers saved junk
for him that people dropped off. One day, Brown’s parents got a call
from his elementary school teacher and told them that Brown had $100 in
his pocket and that he must be stealing.
Brown
picked up the saved junk after school and turned it into something new.
Contrary to his elementary school teacher’s accusation, he wasn’t a
thief after all. Instead he was a young entrepreneur who sold other
people’s trash.
“There was so much excess coming into the landfill,” Brown said. “There was so much waste from our society.”
However,
Brown’s mother wanted him to pursue his talents and dreams, not money.
But he developed a business sense during his young junk collecting days
and told his mother, “I’m not going to be an artist. I’ve read that
artists starve to death.”
Brown’s
mother became concerned. He said his mother knew “the value of
happiness and the travels of life” and sent him to a summer art class.
The
art teacher inspired awe in Brown. She taught him how to reuse baby
food jars by melting the glass and adding marbles to the mix to create
paper weights. The teacher had traveled to Hong Kong, China and
Hiroshima, Japan after World War II. She saw how people were forced to
recycle and reuse items out of necessity after the war. This left an
impression on Brown.
It
was at this time that he personified the name Hong Kong Willie, which
harkens back to China where the mass production of merchandise occurs.
The “Willies” are people like Brown and other environmentalists who try
to reuse trash instead of throwing it into landfills.
After
high school, Brown went to college to study business but dropped out
after three years. He worked in the material handling industry until
1981. Although Brown had achieved a successful career and lifestyle, he
had become discouraged in 1979.
“The change came from knowing that I had come to the point of what people call success,” Brown said. “I wasn’t happy inside.”
He
had been diagnosed with depression in 1973, a condition that was caused
from high fructose intake and that lasted for more than four years.
In
1985, Brown and his artist wife, Kim, bought the half-acre property off
Fletcher Avenue and Morris Bridge Road. For two decades the two small
wooden shacks, built around 1965, that now house the gallery operated as
a bait and tackle shop.
Nowadays,
Brown raises and sells worms by the pound mainly for composting. He
recycled 250 thousand pounds in the worm bed in 2009. Brown still sells
the worms for $3.50 a cup for fishing.
In
1981, Brown resurrected the Hong Kong Willie name from his childhood
art class. In the early 1980s, both he and his wife, Kim, began
upcycling trash into art. Brown entered another world when he left his
mainstream lifestyle behind — he joined the art scene and booked rock
bands at the same time.
The
Brown family spent half their time in Tampa and the other half in a
small home on Boot Key Harbor in Marathon. Brown gained the reputation
of the Key West lobster buoy artist.
“I had a total different appearance when in Key West,” Brown said. “I used to have hair down to my waist.”
When Brown came back to Tampa, he lived in the woods for months at a time, much like Henry David Thoreau in “Walden,” who had lived a simple lifestyle in a one room cabin near Walden Pond in Concord, Mass.
Back
in Key West, Brown became friends with local fishermen. He and others
organized efforts to clean up plastic foam buoys that had collected in
the waterways from years of fishing.
“You would go and find buoys floating in the mangroves, up on the shore and they had trashed up everything,” Brown said.
The
Earth Resource Foundation reports that plastic foam is dumped into the
environment. It breaks up into pieces and chokes animals by clogging
their digestive system.
Brown
sells the buoys from the Hong Kong Willie Art Gallery for $2.00 a
piece. He said he has sold from 30 to 40 thousand buoys in the last ten
years. Some of the buoys are more than 50 years old and are collected by
tourists from China and Japan.
“If
you go to the Keys right now and you see a buoy floating, you’ll see
someone slam on the brakes to get it,” Brown said. “They’re the most
prized buoys of the world.”
Brown
made a holiday buoy tree 12 years ago from the Key West buoys. Hundreds
of buoys are strung on rope and wrapped around a utility pole next to
the gallery. Brown hopes the novelty of the buoy tree will inspire and
stimulate children to find new ways to reduce, reuse and recycle
garbage.
In
Kate Shoup’s “Rubbish! Reuse Your Refuse,” the author said much of what
we get is designed to be scrapped after only a few uses. We easily
throw away pens, lighters, razors and dozens of other items. Shoup said
Americans consume 2 million plastic drink bottles every 5 minutes.
Likewise,
Brown finds uses for items that would otherwise end up in a landfill.
He buys used burlap bags from coffee and peanut producers. He sells them
to the U.S. National Forestry Service for the collection of pine seeds
and Samuel Adams for hops production.
Brown and his wife, Kim, also make art hippie bags from the burlap sacks and sell them in the gallery. Kim,
also an artist, paints fish, turtles, crows, parrots and the like on
driftwood and on wood that Brown has salvaged from saw mills and from
old buildings in Key West.
Brown
said art is viewed and appreciated by certain people. “If it all came
out the same, it would be like bland grits all the time,” Brown said. He
likes to refer to the gallery art as reused rather than recycled, which
takes waste and turns it into an inferior product.  Reuse on the other
hand involves remaking an item and using it again for the same intended
purpose.
“I
also try to stay away from imprinting a definite use for a definite
item,” Brown said. He explains that 2-liter bottles are not limited to
making bird feeders. The bottles can be used for art and craft projects
as well.
Brown said the larger message he wants to communicate is that the disposal of garbage today is creating a toxic environment.

 “I still have the original Gerber baby food bottle that I melted” Brown said. “It’s sitting on my mom’s little table.”

 

 

  Black Bird of Key Largo Hong Kong Willie Art $98,000  

To Buy Click This Link

Black Bird of Key Largo
zoom
Black Bird of Key Largo Black Bird of Key Largo Black Bird of Key Largo Black Bird of Key Largo Black Bird of Key Largo
“Black Bird of Key Largo”
The
allurement of the winds blowing in the palm trees and the moon shining
through and the “Black Bird of Key Largo” looking upon.
Hong Kong Willie
**HONG
KONG WILLIE artist Kim Brown, chose aged Florida sawmill stock as
canvas. Recovered Brass Hanger: Key West lobster trap rigging.
Originally connects and suspends rigging of spiny lobster traps in Key
West waters. Candy-like appearance due to multiple protective layers.
Assigned number in artist register by Fisherman ID tag, corresponding
burn-etched # rear of piece. Key recovered by Robert Jordan, acclaimed
treasure hunter: also in identification of piece and artist.
Dimensions:
24″ L
8″ W
4″ H
Weight: 17+ LB

 

FOX World News  Florida  Famous Artist

Tampa, Florida -
Junk Art of Hong Kong Willie

Roadside America mobile

 The Hong Kong Willie Story

 

University of South Florida

 A “documentary film” 

 

Tampa Art Galleries 

 

 

 Famous Artist from the 1960s.
Morris Bridge Road and Interstate 75, Tampa, Fla.
The garden shrubbery consists of recycled glass bottles and aloe vera plants.
Key West Lobster  buoy tree.
Hundreds of lobster buoys from Key West, Fla., strung on rope,
wrapped and tied to a utility pole.
Orange helicopter that once served in
Vietnam and later used by a radio station.


Key West lobster buoys hang from the small 1950s wood frame building.
Tourists buy the buoys for souvenirs. Some of the buoys are 50 years old.  
The exterior of the roadside building is an artful blend of
Caribbean-color paint and found objects.
Seabird plaques, sea glass, melted bottles, painted driftwood
and rusty objects are a few of the items that decorate the wood panels.
Entrance into the small building, which is lined from ceiling to floor
with burlap sacks from South American coffee roasters.
They also buy South American burlap coffee bean sacks. 

 

Reuse artists ,reuse the burlap
and make hippie beach bags.



View photographs of the Hong Kong Willie art gallery

http://kerryschofieldjournal.blogspot.com/2010/09/hong-kong-willie-photomontage.html

 

FOX News,  Famous Artist

Recycling as a Lifestyle and a Business
TAMPA, Fla. – Have you ever seen the building on the corner of Fletcher and I-75 with a bunch of buoys strung everywhere? This small business that many think is an old bait n’ tackle shop is actually Famous  Artist Hong Kong Willie.
Derek Brown, 26, and his family own and operate Hong Kong Willie. The little shop specializes in preservation art. The artists don’t take preservation too lightly either.
“99 percent of everything that has gone into a piece of art has been recycled and reused,” Brown said.
Just as unique as the art is, so is the company’s name. Brown says the name was created by his father, Joe Brown, in the 1950s.
“My father being in an art class, being affected by a teacher, they were melting Gerber baby food bottles,” Brown said. “The teacher interjected that Hong Kong had a great reuse and recycling program even then.”
Brown’s father then took that concept and later added the Americanized name Willie to the end. And that’s how Hong Kong Willie was born as a location that offers recycling in a different and creative way.
Hong Kong Willie artists are what are known as freegans. Freegans are less concerned with materialistic things and more concerned about reducing consumption to lessen the footprint humans leave on this planet.
“I’m sure everyone has their own perception of a freegan, possibly jumping into a dumpster or picking up something on the side of the road,” Brown said. “There [are] people who will have excess. There [are] also things that can be trash to one man, but art or a prize to another man.”
Brown and his family carry this practice through to their art. It’s his family’s way of life, turning trash, which would otherwise fill up landfills, into an art form.
The Brown family gets a lot of their inspiration for their art from the Florida Keys. In fact, this is where the deluge of buoys wrapping around the ‘Buoys Tree’ came from, the fishermen of Key West.
“It is Styrofoam, we understand that it does not degrade, but to blame the fishermen for their livelihood wouldn’t be correct, instead we find a usage for those,” Brown said.
Brown said there’s a usage for everything, even the hooks to hold the painted driftwood, which are also salvaged, to the wall are old bent forks. Everything’s reused here. Purses made out of old coffee bean sacks to “kitschy,” as Brown described it, jewelry made from old baseballs.
“Hong Kong Willie truly believes that a piece, whether it’s a bag or a painted artwork, it’s meant for one person.”
 

Business more than kitsch, Famous  Artist

 

 

Passers-by traveling south on Interstate 75 at Fletcher Avenue might wonder: ‘What’s up with the lobster buoys?’

Strings of the colorful floats adorn Hong Kong Willie, a roadside business with roots in a northwest Hillsborough County landfill and the garbage dumps of Hong Kong.

Poised among chain businesses common at interstate interchanges, Hong Kong Willie sells Florida-centric art, artifacts, worms and even soil for gardeners. As diverse as the inventory seems, there is a theme: promoting a close-to-the-ground, sustainable approach to art and living.

The unusual business is run by Joe Brown, 61; his wife, Kim, 51; and their adult son, Derek.

The enterprise is not named for a particular person. It’s more of a conceptual amalgamation, its owners say.

The recycled burlap coffee bags, lobster buoys and driftwood sold at the store are reflective of Joe Brown’s childhood. As a boy he watched garbage trucks haul Tampa’s trash to a dump on property owned by his family.

“It really made an impression on me,” he said. “It became very easy to think outside the box and know where I could find things from resources that were just abounding.”


* * * * *

When Brown’s mother took him to an art class taught by an instructor who had spent time in post-World War II Asia, he learned how artists there scrounged for materials that had creative potential.

“It was a different kind of recycling because it was done out of need and touched the human spirit and the heart,” he said.

During the past 28 years the Browns have transformed a bait-and-tackle shop into a shrine to sustainable art. But aside from a robot waving an American flag and wearing a “For Sale” sign — and the overall spectacle of the shack-like store itself — there is no signage beckoning drivers to pull into the parking lot of 12212 Morris Bridge Road or to wander over from a nearby Bob Evans restaurant.

“There has never been, in all the years of being here, some massive sign saying who we are and what we do,” Joe Brown said. “Because when people finally decide out of inquisitiveness to slow down and stop, they’ve finally slowed down enough to hear the most important message of their life.”

Most of their business is conducted online through sites such as Etsy. Their catalog includes crafts and artwork created with recovered material such as wood from sawmills and the sides of demolished Key West homes. Kim Brown paints on the recycled materials; her “Eye of Toucan” painting, for example, is for sale for $8,100. Other featured items include handbags made from decorated burlap coffee bean bags for $25, and potato chip platters morphed from heated and shaped vinyl records for $4.99.

The ubiquitous painted lobster buoys are big sellers. They go for a few dollars each depending on condition and artistic application.

The Browns travel frequently to the Florida Keys, promoting their art and gathering raw materials such as the buoys, driftwood and even an orange helicopter. Joe Brown said the chain of islands at Florida’s southern tip hold an attraction for the family beyond being a source of creative flotsam.

“That is a place of resourcefulness,” he said, “because they’re not the kind of people to rely upon the government.”


* * * * *

Customers include people with a taste for subtropical creations. Gaspar’s Patio Bar and Grille in Temple Terrace, for example, bought décor from Hong Kong Willie to complement its island-themed menu offerings, such as Key Largo burgers and margaritas.

Gaspar’s owner Jimmy Ciaccio, whose family opened the 56th Street restaurant in 1960 as the Temple Terrace Lounge, said the Browns’ inventory reflected his vision when he remodeled the restaurant.

“Joe’s work inspires me,” Ciaccio said. “I always see something different every time I look at how he decorated the place.”

In much the same way the Brown family creates art with recycled materials, they produce gardening soil by composting vegetation and waste material.

Florida red worms are Brown’s natural allies in this endeavor. They, too, are for sale — by the pound for gardeners and by the cup for fishermen.

Whether it’s creating and marketing sustainable kitsch or fertile soil, Joe Brown, whose other occupation is providing trend analyses to businesses, finds satisfaction in the work.

“I just feel so fortunate to be able to sit here and see assets that could be sitting in a big trench and there would be no energy coming from it,” he said. “And now a lot of it is finding homes in peoples’ houses and businesses and getting people to think about reuse.”

 

Eye of Toucan – Hong Kong WIllie

Original Art $8100.00

To Buy Click This Link

Eye of Toucan - Hong Kong WIllie Original Art
zoom
Eye of Toucan - Hong Kong WIllie Original Art Eye of Toucan - Hong Kong WIllie Original Art Eye of Toucan - Hong Kong WIllie Original Art Eye of Toucan - Hong Kong WIllie Original Art Eye of Toucan - Hong Kong WIllie Original Art
Hong Kong Willie “Eye of Toucan”
 
Authentic Key West influenced art. What once would have been sawdust spread to the wind, is now what you see here.
 
Superior reuse of materials.
 
Wood Source: Aged Sawmill Stock
Copper Hanger Source: Reclaimed Wire

 

Backing Screw Source: Reclaimed Brass Screw
Key West Fisherman ID Tag Referenced in Artists Log
Hong Kong Willie Artist: Kim Brown
FUNDING FOR THIS PROGRAM IS MADE POSSIBLE BY THE
S.L. GIMBEL FOUNDATION.
IN THIS EDITION OF “WEDU ARTS PLUS,Hongkongwillie
A LOCAL ARTS AND ARTIFACTS BUSINESS TRANSFORMS TRASH
INTO TREASURE.
>> I THINK I WAS MEANT TO TELL THE STORY ABOUT REUSE.
THE PERSON IS NOT IMPORTANT.
THE STORY IS IMPORTANT.AS A BOY,Florida Famous Artist JOE BROWN WATCHED GARBAGE TRUCKS HAUL TRASH TO A
DUMP ON HIS FAMILY PROPERTY.
TODAY, HE RUNS A TAMPA PRESERVATION ART BUSINESS CALLED HONG
KONG WILLIE, WHERE BURLAP BAGS AND LOBSTER BUOYS ARE
CONVERTED TO WORKS OF ART.
>> MY NAME IS JOE BROWN.
MY ART NAME IS HONG KONG WILLIE.
I AM A REUSE ARTIST TAKING MEDIA THAT WOULD HAVE NATURALLY
BEEN DISPOSED OF IN LANDFILLS AND ADDING THE GIFT THAT I’VE
BEEN GIVEN TO MAKE SOMETHING THAT SOMEBODY POSSIBLY MIGHTHAVE AN ALLUREMENT TO AND ATTRACTION TO.
REUSE AND RECYCLING CAME FROM BEING RAISED ON A LANDFILL ON
GUNN HIGHWAY HERE IN TAMPA.
IT WAS AN ENTRAPPING WAY WITH VERY LITTLE FUNDS TO MAKE
SOMETHING THAT WAS ATTRACTIVE AND REWARDING TO ME
PERSONALLY.
¶¶
>> ACQUIRING MEDIA, SUCH AS BOARDS, STARTED WHEN WE WERE
PICKING UP BOARDS MAYBE FROM BUILDINGS THAT HAD BEEN
DESTROYED FROM THE HURRICANES.
BOARDS THAT CAME FROM HISTORICAL BUILDINGS IN THE KEYS.
SOME OF THE REAL THICK, THICK HEAVY BOARDS WERE BOARDS THAT
I THINK WERE CUT ROUGH CUT.
THE SMOOTHNESS CAME OUT OF MANY YEARS OF WEARING.
WE ACQUIRED SOME BOARDS THAT CAME FROM THE ORIGINAL RAILROAD
BRIDGE THAT FLAGLER BUILT.
I THINK ALL ARTISTS SOMETIMES INVOKE THE FEELINGS AND THE
STORIES ABOUT THE MEDIA THAT THEY ARE WORKING WITH.
I THINK THAT ART, ESPECIALLY WHEN SOMEONE FALLS IN LOVE WITH
IT, THEY WANT TO KNOW THE STORY.
AND BECAUSE OF THE KEYS HAVING THE TREMENDOUS EFFECT THAT IT
HAS ON US, AND BECAUSE OF WHAT HAS SHAPED THE KEYS, THERE
COMES A TIME WHERE ALL OF IT COMES TOGETHER AND THAT’S WHAT
MAKES IT SO SPECIAL.
THROUGHOUT THE YEARS, THE OUTSIDE OF THE BUILDING CHANGESWITH DIFFERENT MEDIA THAT WE’VE ACQUIRED.
AS YOU DRIVE IN THE DRIVEWAY, YOU’LL SEE HAND PRINTS AND
SOME SPRINKLED PAINT WITH ACTIVITY.
WE TRY TO USE LITTLE DIFFERENT MINIPICTURES OUT THERE WHERE
YOU MIGHT SEE A SIGN HANGING ON A TENNIS SHOE WITH A TV
REMOTE.
SHOES THAT HAVE FLOATED UP FROM THE OCEANS THAT WE’VE USED
SOMETIMES TO INVOKE THOUGHTS OF WHERE WE WERE AT A
PARTICULAR TIME.
THE TRAVELS OF THOSE SHOES.
THERE ARE BOARDS OUT THERE THAT WE’VE ACQUIRED THAT WE’VE
MADE LITTLE DESIGNS ON.
I FOUND THAT MOST WOOD, PROBABLY THE WORK IS ALREADY THERE.
YOU’RE GOING TO DO A LITTLE BIT OF SHAVING, A LITTLE BIT OF
CARVING.
BEFORE YOU KNOW IT, THE OBJECT IS FINISHED.
AFTER 9/11 HAPPENED, I REALIZED HOW GREAT A MIRACLE WAS.
I HAD A LOT OF MEDIA AROUND AND I STARTED WITH THE CROSS.
AND I PUT THE CROSS UP.
THEN I HAD SOME LITTLE OBJECTS THAT WERE POLICEMEN AND
FIREMEN, AND I PUT THEM IN THERE.
AND THEN I HAD SOME OLD BEEPERS FOR THE TECHNOLOGY, AND THEN
ANOTHER TWO OBJECTS THAT WERE SHERLOCK HOLMES AND NAPOLEON
FOR POWER AND INVESTIGATING.
I LOOKED OVER IN A PILE OF WOOD, AND THERE WAS A SHAPE OF A

PIECE OF WOOD AND A NINE.
NEXT TO IT WAS TWO PIECES THAT LOOKED LIKE 11.
BEFORE I KNEW IT, IT ALL CAME TOGETHER.
I BELIEVE THAT EVERYONE IS AN ARTIST.
AS TO WHERE IF WE CAN FIND MEDIA THAT’S EASILY OBTAINABLE
AND ADD OUR TALENTS TO IT, IT BECOMES VERY REWARDING IN THAT
FACTOR, BECAUSE WE HAVE LESSENED THE COMPLICATED FACTOR AND
TAKEN SOMETHING THAT’S WITHIN US AND HAD THE MEDIA AND THEN
GIVING US SOMETHING THAT HAS SOME KIND OF APPEAL TO EITHER
OURSELVES OR SOMEONE.
I THINK I WAS MEANT TO TELL THE STORY ABOUT REUSE.
I THINK I AM JUST A PERSON THAT’S IN THIS ELEMENT TELLING A
STORY.
THE PERSON IS NOT IMPORTANT.
THE STORY IS IMPORTANT.

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