A blend of pop and street art is finding its way into Delray’s Pineapple Grove Art District, peering out among the sandy beach Delray art scenes.
By Roni Reino/Featured Photo by Evan Rosen
Strolling down through Delray’s Pineapple Grove Art District, you’ll find some amazing works: abstract frescos reminiscent of the Florida sunset at Addison Gallery, pineapples suspended in glass outside Schmidt Stained Glass , and large tropical canvases of pastel beach scenes in Cacace Studio. But around the corner is something else: bright, vibrant pieces – living room showstoppers. It’s anything from neon orange hundred dollar bills to portraits of Frank Sinatra, a clear divergence from classic Delray art.
“You aren’t going to find anything like this unless you go to Miami, or maybe Palm Beach,” says New Jersey-native Evan Rosen, owner of newly opened ETTRA Gallery. Raised in from a family of artists and a dabbler of the arts himself, he recognized this coastal city didn’t have a space for the young, spirited pieces like those of pop artist Mister E (to which Rosen now features regularly in his space).
Rosen’s gallery is hard to miss with its large expansive windows off Atlantic Avenue, opening the public to Technicolor hundred dollar bills and the centrally stationed pink elephant that guards his door. “When you look at the art here, it’s not something you’d see in a street fair, these pieces are ones that really stand out,” Rosen says.
Anyone who walks into ETTRA would agree. His gallery is one of the first in this area exploring pieces more apt to call themselves a blend of pop and street art. That’s why expansive canvases like that of photorealist Doug Bloodworth have made it to Delray. Bloodworth, a longtime Florida resident, has spent 20 years perfecting his style, painting large-scale pieces of Lays potato chips and comics to evoke a sense of nostalgia. He’s recreating these almost point-of-view moments in oil paintings so clearly, they could pass for photographs.
It’s art dealers like David Muller who have seen the interest in such pieces rise in Delray among traditional galleries. He’s seen the tourist market grow here in the last few years, adding online networks such as Facebook have brought pop art lovers who might not have considered Delray before to Florida’s “Village by the Sea.”
“There are these huge works that have really attracted a following,” says Muller. “You aren’t going to see that dollar bill with its vibrant colors in the more traditional galleries. People are looking for something different. [These pieces are] not for the mundane.”While many still want pieces that visually remind them of a trip to Delray – like pink sandy beaches and sunsets – Muller stresses buyers aren’t just buying these pieces because they’re pretty. They’re unique mementos of vacationers’ trips to this part of Florida, something that evoked a sense of emotion beyond just the trip itself.
While many still want pieces that visually remind them of a trip to Delray – like pink sandy beaches and sunsets – Muller stresses buyers aren’t just buying these pieces because they’re pretty. They’re unique mementos of vacationers’ trips to this part of Florida, something that evoked a sense of emotion beyond just the trip itself.
“You’re not buying a piece of work like Doug [Bloodworth’s] because it matches your sofa,” Muller laughs. “There’s something about it that brings you back to a separate time, makes you remember where you bought it.”