The spire of lobster pot buoys rising high enough to be seen by drivers passing the Fletcher Avenue exit off Interstate 75 marks the location of a business that owners Kim and Joe Brown call a “fishing station.” art “.
The small wood-framed building adorned with buoys, fishing nets and assorted items that was once a popular bait shop catering to the needs of local anglers is indeed a Florida art gallery, which also serves a sweet taste.
The art is the work of the Hong Kong Willie Preservation Art Group (HKWPAG) and exemplifies the “Florida reuse” genre. In the case of HKWPAG’s production, that means painting nature-themed images on reclaimed wood that’s been salvaged from old structures in the Florida Keys that have disappeared as a result of stormy weather or stormy weather. a property redevelopment. Joe said the paintings he and Kim produced reflected the history of art in the Keys.
“They didn’t have a lot of art supplies and couldn’t just phone and order a canvas, but there were lots of wooden boards around, so they learned how to dry them and use them.” Joe added that the value of preservation art can be difficult for some people to appreciate. “Our support has come from a very small world of understanding people,” he said.
But recycling wood into art resonates deeply with Joe, a Florida native who as a child made money selling usable “found assets” he discovered in the trash cans of a landfill that operated on a property owned by his family.
If a space needs a three-dimensional touch of Florida decor, large branches of natural driftwood, like the treasure that washed ashore after Hurricane Irma hit the Keys, are sometimes available.
For those who love honey, the Browns also sell Tampa Gold, their unfiltered brand that they harvest from hives on remote wilderness properties.
As for the worms, they are still sold locally, but now they are for their casts, for the gardens which are in demand, although if a fishing enthusiast wants a few wigglers, Joe says he is happy to help.
Hong Kong’s Willie Art Station is rated ‘worth a visit’ by travel website roadsideamerica.com, and you can find it near exit 266 off I-75 at 12212 Morris Bridge Rd. in Tampa. You can also visit HongKongWillie’s Facebook page or, as Joe suggests, “Google Hong Kong Willie”.