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Meet The Artist Who Created The Festival Image For GFA 54.

"Ride Your Way," Gasparilla Festival of the Arts 2024 Featured image by Karina Llergo.
Ride Your Way by Karina Llergo is the official Festival Image for the 54th Annual Raymond James Gasparilla Festival of the Arts.

The Gasparilla Festival of the Arts (GFA) announced the selection of the Festival Image which will be used to promote the 54th Annual Raymond James Gasparilla Festival of the Arts. Entitled Ride Your Way by Karina Llergo, the image is an excellent example of the quality of art on display by our 230+ main show artists and 15 emerging artists on March 2-3, 2024 at Julian B. Lane Riverfront Park in downtown Tampa.

Karina Llergo was born and raised in Mexico City where she received her bachelor’s degree in graphic design as well as advanced degrees in multimedia, animation, and abstract art. She studied with famed Mexican artist Roberto Cortazar and portraitist Enrique Estrada, who both saw her talent and strongly encouraged her to continue her artistic journey.

While keeping art at the forefront of her mind and heart, Karina enjoyed a highly successful corporate career as art director for Mexico City’s top newspaper Reforma and at illustrious advertising agency McCann Erickson. Among the many campaigns she helped create some of her most memorable were for clients such as Coca-Cola, Revlon, and Kimberly Clark.

Throughout her professional life, Karina painted and worked tirelessly to develop her unique style. As a lifelong dancer, competitive swimmer and avid skydiver, she found herself drawn to depicting on canvas the palpable energy of the human body in motion. Driven by these fascinations and armed with her talent for figurative painting, Karina found a way to translate her observations and creative imagination into thought-provoking paintings of breathtaking beauty.

Since moving to Chicago in 2007 and transitioning to art full time, Karina’s work has received high praise and she is greatly admired throughout the vibrant Chicagoland art world. Among her many accolades, Karina has received numerous Outstanding Achievement and Best In Show awards at distinguished art shows all over Chicagoland and exhibits in galleries throughout the United States.

Artist Karina Llergo.

Of Mexican, Armenian, and Spanish descent, Karina’s diverse background influences her life in every way, as does her insatiable passion for the creative arts. She is a highly decorated artists with many awards earned, including 2022 Best of Category at the Hinsdale Fine Arts Festival in Hinsdale, Illinois and 2021 Best of Category in the Gold Coast Art Fair in Chicago.

“The significance of having my painting selected for the Festival holds great personal and artistic value for me. Ride Your Way is a piece of my soul, and having it chosen creates a deep emotional connection,” said Llergo. “It’s a moment of celebration and inspires me to continue pushing boundaries by exploring new facets of my artistic practice.”

Llergo is no stranger to GFA. She has been part of the main show for the last three years and feels it is one of the top shows she’s participated in. She credits GFA’s commitment to promoting and showcasing diverse art, exemplary organization, outstanding award recognitions, and community engagement as what sets GFA apart. She anticipates being a part of GFA for years to come.

As a lifelong dancer, Llergo has always been drawn to artwork that features movement and the human form.

“I continually seek fresh ways to capture the magic of energy through motion of the human body,” said Llergo. “I turn figures into fluid entities. I weave dance, air, and water, into my paintings to create another unworldly likeness.”

Ride Your Way will be featured on all promotional materials, ad campaigns, and merchandise that will be available at the 54th Annual Raymond James Gasparilla Festival of the Arts.

 

 

Ajeva

Ajeva is a funk/rock band from St. Petersburg, FL. The band started in 2013 and features Reed Skahill (vocals), Taylor Gilchrist (bass), Mike Nivens (guitar), and Lyndon Thacker (keys). They’ve carved out a sound of their own with epic melodies and distinctive vocals that pair perfectly with their deep grooves. Each Ajeva show is a one of a kind experience with the band taking their songs to different places and new heights every night.

Light the Wire

Light the Wire makes heartfelt, indie-folk rock that with powerful vocal harmonies, thoughtful lyrics, and powered by driving bass and drums.  The quintet is based out of Tampa, FL, and released its self-produced, debut EP – “Someday Is Coming” on all streaming platforms on November 1, 2023.

Giorgi

Rock musician that refuses to find a niche

GA & FL

FFO: Foo Fighters, Jimmy Eat World

Mwiza

Biggest influences are church, his mother, Coheed & Cambria, Acceptance, James Morrison, Bombay Bicycle Club, Disturbed, Arctic Monkeys, Young The Giant, Chevelle, Rusko, Chief and Matt Corby. Most of the music he listens to has a darker sound to it so he in turn makes darker, melodic music.

Datagram

Datagram has been the moniker of shapeshifting Tampa musician Scott Olson for the better part of the last decade.

In that time, the sound and styles of this project have shifted and morphed, painting with shades of glitch, downtempo, techno, and all that lurks in between.

Shevonne and the Force

A multi-hyphenate, genre-bending artist, Shevonne Philidor is a singer-songwriter, producer, and actress who epitomizes her dynamic background in music and performing arts. A military brat born in Philadelphia, PA, she experienced living in multiple cities – including a stint in Italy – before landing in Tampa, Fl, where she nurtured her musical ability throughout her childhood. She’s a scion of a musical family stemming from her half-Haitian descent and taught herself to play the guitar at an early age, inspired by the likes of Prince, Whitney Houston, Aretha Franklin, Lauryn Hill, Bob Marley, and M83. In 2003, she made her first TV debut on America’s Most Talented Kids, and in 2010, she made an appearance on America’s Got Talent Wild Card. A recipient of the prestigious NFAA scholarship, she also made American Idol’s top 40 twice in 2016 and 2019, the same year she performed at Austin City Limits with five-time Grammy award-winning artist Gary Clark jr. In 2021, she performed alongside CeeLo Green at a Superbowl party for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and was tapped to sing for ABC’s Juneteenth celebration with T.I. and Domani. Working with Grand Hustle Records, she’s a Luna Guitar-endorsed artist who was also selected to perform in Just Blaze’s SXSW showcase in 2022. A theatre kid at heart, she’s flexed her acting skills on a national tour for Todrick Hall’s musical, Oz The Musical, and she was also recently casted in Life’s Rewards, an upcoming Amazon Prime TV show.

Kristopher James

Though he’s lived in the Sunshine State, for most of his life, Kristopher’s talent for melody and song (now) extend far past the state’s line. Like his influencers Otis Redding, Amos Lee, and Roberta Flack, Kristopher’s voice is clear, controlled, and full of all-the-feels.  As with all artists, Kristopher’s sound has ebbed and flowed, evolving yet remaining instantly recognizable. With the growth he’s experienced as an artist, Kristopher felt it was time to capture his songs, in their fully-imagined sound!

With his debut album “Kindness Never Quits”, featuring members of Scary Pockets, Kristopher caught the attention of Relix & Glide Magazine, Spotify Playlist curators and continued praise, such as “vocals are so powerful and as the song progresses, he showcases why he is one of the best singers out there. All that soul in one artist is just unbelievable” from Reignland Magazine.

Continuing through the COVID years, Kristopher partnered with musicians to keep the music and community alive. Along with composer and keys player Mike Hicks of Rascal Flatts, The War & Treaty’s Max Brown on guitar, as well as talented artists Kyshona Armstrong, Jonathan Huber, DeMarco Johnson, Kristopher released 3 acclaimed singles: “Never Had to Find Our Way”, “Feelings” and “I Can Only Love You in a Song”

Deaf Company

Three piece Rock n Roll band hailing from St. Petersburg, FL.

Skyler Golden

Musician from St. Pete Florida and Studio Producer for Zen Recording. Brings an eclectic sound of string instruments for the Yoga Classes at GFA 2024

SydLive

From Tampa Florida, SydLive was born to write and sing songs that touch the world. As her mother recalls, her climb to stardom began with getting on top of restaurant tables to sing at the age of two.

By the time she was eleven, she acquired her first guitar and began to teach herself to play by learning Beatles songs. Within four years she found her way to the stage singing in a Carpenters tribute band. Since this time, Syd has amassed over a decade of experience as a professional singer/songwriter and recording/performance artist. Within the industry, she names Aretha Franklin as her idol.

DURRY

The first sound you hear on Durry’s rambunctious and poignant debut album, Suburban Legend, is an old-school Internet dial-up tone. To songwriter Austin Durry, the sound is instantly familiar but his bandmate and sister, Taryn, hadn’t heard it before. The Burnsville, Minnesota-based duo might identify with different age groups — with seven years between them, Austin is a millennial and Taryn is Gen Z — but by joining forces in Durry, they show just how much the neighboring generations have in common.

Between their serendipitous origin story and a crop of dynamic, hook-heavy alt-pop tracks, Durry are doing something few bands can achieve — and they’re doing it entirely on their own terms. As a band, Taryn and Austin’s journey happened both unexpectedly and fortuitously. At the start of the COVID pandemic, Austin and his wife moved back into his parents’ house, where Taryn was also living at the time. In addition to moving back in with his family, COVID forced Austin to cancel an extensive tour with his previous band, Coyote Kid. Faced with nothing but time, he got back to songwriting, regularly asking Taryn for input — or as the two playfully put it, “Gen Z quality control.”

“I’d say, here’s an early concept, what do you think? Then she’ll steer the ship, and then I’ll evolve it from there,” Austin explains. “Taryn is the sounding board and Gen Z vision of the band, where I’m kinda cranking stuff out.”

As they got going, forming what would turn into Durry, the siblings also outlined DIY ideas for branding and promotion, creating all of their own content and imbuing their visuals with nostalgic golden yellow, large fonts, and tactile images that would later make their way into eye-catching merch.

The immediate result of their musical partnership was the pop-punk/alternative anthem “Who’s Laughing Now,” which leads with wry, tongue-in-cheek lyrics about the futility of young adulthood in 2023: “My mama always said I would regret it if I ever got a tattoo,” Austin chants, adding: “She said I’d never get a job like I ever wanted one with that attitude/ My dad said I had to learn to drive a stick shift, but every van I ever had was an automatic/ My friends said that someday I would make it big, but I’m still living in the basement.”

After posting an unfinished version of “Who’s Laughing Now” on TikTok, it swiftly took off, galvanizing thousands of viewers who shared their coming-of-age frustrations. Clearly, the song’s sentiments — which land somewhere between a shrug and a clenched fist — resonated with millions of listeners, and today the song has garnered more than four million Spotify streams. Meanwhile, Durry have recorded a fully fleshed-out version of “Who’s Laughing Now,” which is set to appear on their riveting, perfectly sardonic debut LP, Suburban Legend.