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later gator

michael guidry

New Orleans painter Michael Guidry has been called a “Punk Rock Audubon.” It’s a label he likes.

The artist: Guidry grew up in Metairie, near New Orleans, and close to Lake Pontchartrain, where he loved spending time on the water and bird watching. He started to study sculpture and painting while at Louisiana State, where he earned a degree in journalism. After graduation, Guidry attended the New Orleans Academy of Fine Arts to learn the fundamentals of drawing and painting from life. In 2006, he opened Michael Guidry studio in New Orleans.

The goods & materials: Oil paintings on combinations of wood, burlap, canvas, and linen. Guidry also hand frames his paintings in his wood shop.

What’s popular: Alligators and pelicans in his Louisiana nature series. Prices range from $700 to $12,000.

Big break: Last year, the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival installed a 50-foot version of one of his alligator paintings at the fairgrounds. It is still there.

Where to buy: Also at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival in Contemporary Crafts, May 3-6 (the second weekend of the festival).

abstract Brown Pelican 2


go fish


In his colorful, cubist-style work, Florida artist Andy Saczynski uses humble materials, such as house paint, found objects and reclaimed wood.

The artist: Growing up near Destin, Saczynski knew in the third grade that he wanted to be an artist. He attended Northwest Florida State College on a fine arts scholarship and worked at a few of 9-to-5 jobs before pursuing his painting in 2010 at age 32 with a fifth baby on the way. In 2012, Saczynski opened his own gallery in Grayton Beach.

What’s popular: Sea life relief sculptures and colorful masks. Also faces, musical instruments and flowers Prices range from $1,000 to $2,800.

Other favorites: People who love South Walton and 30A like his Western Lake paintings ($1,000 to $2,200). He has painted more than 100 in the past five years.

Where to buy: and the Andy Saczynski Studio Gallery 26 Logan Lane, just off 30A, in Grayton Beach.


palate to palette


When Florida’s Justin Gaffrey ran his restaurant, the coastal waters were a source of food. But today, those same coastal waters are his source for something much different. Art.

The artist: Born in Red Bank, NJ, Gaffrey moved to Santa Rosa beach with his family when he was 10 years old. Gaffrey was a chef and had a restaurant (“Cafe Sublime”) before he started painting in 2001.

The goods & materials: The self-taught artist uses heavy bodied acrylic paint with a palette knife technique and paints on wood panels that are made in his studio.

What’s popular: Coastal landscapes and wildlife or sea life paintings ($600 to $23,000).


Where to see & buy: Also the Justin Gaffrey Gallery, 21 Blue Gulf Drive along Highway 30A, in Blue Mountain Beach, Fla.


man with a new pan


Saute Line Up

In September 2016, Southern made featured the work of Corry Blanc, a Virginia blacksmith who crafts heirloom kitchen and home goods, such as hand-forged steel skillets and handsome charcuterie boards.

The artist & company: Blanc, who grew up in Dawsonville, GA, started Charlottesville-based Blanc Creatives in 2011.

What’s new: Saucier pans (in two sizes, $345 and $380). Also roasters with two-loop handles (in three sizes, $230 to $280). The all-steel pans are pre-seasoned with coconut oil.

Also new: The “noir” line of wood boards ($145 and $165, pictured below). Made of oxidized walnut, the boards feature a brass pipe inlay. They are sealed with food-safe linseed oil and beeswax.

Where to buy:


delicate or decorative


Virginia’s Shira Brooks grew up in a creative family. Her mother is a glass artist. Her sister is an animator-turned-ceramicist. Brooks gets her creative fix from making jewelry.

The artist: Brooks started metalsmithing and rock climbing as a teenager. The climbing inspired her jewelry designs. She later studied metals at University of the Arts in Philadelphia and graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University. In 2016, Brooks opened her studio in Richmond.

The goods & materials: Statement necklaces and delicate pendants; funky rings and cuffs; and lightweight earrings. Jewelry is made from recycled silver, and stones, such as moody opals, sapphires, white topaz and labradorite.

What’s popular: Annapurna necklace ($140 to $170) and Acanthus earrings ($140 to $200).

Fun (or unusual) request: Custom piece for a couple who was in the Peace Corps and wanted a necklace of the prominent mountain from their village in Madagascar. It was a surprise gift from him to her.

What’s next: Specific mountain ranges; functional compass pendants; and more pieces with large stones.

Where to buy: and Instagram @shirabrooks.

wood + bowls


Since childhood, Mark Gardner has enjoyed working with his hands. But there is something about working with wood that gives the renowned wood artist the most satisfaction.

The artist: Growing up in Cincinnati, Gardner started as a child working with wood, his father’s hobby. At 16, he enrolled in a furniture-making class at the University of Cincinnati, where he later earned a degree in theater design and production.

After college, Gardner took a woodturning class at Arrowmont School for Arts and Crafts in Gatlinburg. That class help him decide to focus on woodworking rather than theater. He moved to Saluda, NC, to work with wood turner and sculptor Stoney Lamar.

The company: Mark Gardner Studio opened in 2000 in Saluda. Gardner has created sculptural wood pieces, but is currently focused on utilitarian pieces, like bowls and household items.

What’s popular: Bowls in five sizes and five colors: white (top seller), yellow, blue, green and orange. Bowls ($50 to $300) are finished with a food-safe walnut oil and beeswax paste finish that Gardner makes himself.

Where to buy: In Atlanta, at the American Craft Council show (booth 910) March 16-18. See Gardner’s work at

crow about

Fox and Crow

North Carolina’s Christine Kosiba became fascinated with ravens while living in Arizona. The striking black birds remain a central focus of the sculptor’s work.

The artist: Kosiba earned a master’s degree in education from North Georgia College (now the University of North Georgia). She taught in public schools for 12 years in Georgia and Arizona, often using clay as enrichment tool while creating her art on the side. In 1997, the self-taught sculptor moved to Brevard.

The company: Christine Kosiba Sculpture started in Brevard in 2005 and creates primarily wildlife sculpture.

The materials: Stoneware clay combined with a variety of surface treatments.

What’s popular: Ravens and crows ($350 to $800).

Other favorites: Foxes. A single fox ranges from $750 to $950. Also owls ($450 to $850).

Fun (or unusual) request: Create a “Krampus” for an “Edwardian Dreamscape,” a gallery installation curated by artist Kirsten Stingle in 2015 at the Signature Shop & Gallery in Atlanta. After researching this medieval European folk lore figure, she sculpted a three-foot-tall rendition.

Claim to fame: Selected to create six bronze sculptures. In Brevard, the permanent community sculptures include: a turkey, chipmunks, raven, a fox, and an otter, to be installed this spring. In downtown Blacksburg, Va, 16 frogs have been installed.

Where to buy: In Atlanta, at the 2018 American Craft Council show (booth 114)  March 16-18. To see her work or commission a piece, visit: