Murals by Tamara Gerkin
'Retired' Bissi Still Staying Busy
His neatly appointed office looks like a law
library, with numerous tomes standing like sentinels in a bookcase lining a
Tampa Bay Online - Nov 30, 2007
Sculpture Will Memorialize Couple's Love
A West Pasco man has commissioned a sculpture
that will stand beside
the grave of his beloved wife in Trinity Memorial Gardens.
The Suncoast News - Nov 28, 2007
Wall Has Brush With History
Oct 13, 2004
NEW PORT RICHEY - With paint and brush, she has returned a blank
wall in the heart of downtown to an era when Model T's were the hottest
wheels in town and people boogied to the Charleston.
Tamara Gerkin's canvas is the previously bare
wall on the Main Street side of The Karl Reef, a bar and grill at Main
Street and Grand Boulevard.
Using photos from the West Pasco Historical
Society's online collection and mementos from the Roaring '20s, Gerkin
is creating an imaginary street illustrating actual buildings from that
When finished, it will be alive with flappers
wearing the latest fashions and a bookstore sporting volumes about
famous people who lived in the area.
She began her work Sept. 27.
The city is paying Gerkin $7,500 to celebrate a
colorful period in New Port Richey's early 20th century history. Her
contract with the city stipulates she is responsible for 10 years of
maintenance on the mural.
Additionally, she must pay for all materials.
So far, she said she has spent $2,600 on
supplies, resurfacing and sealant.
Interim City Manager Philip Deaton and two city
mural committee members, Jeannine Humphrey and Dave Eichenberger,
smoothed the way for her project, Gerkin said.
With the mural about half done, she said, the
reaction has been positive.
``Every single day people honk horns and
yell,'' Gerkin said. ``I've had hundreds of compliments.''
She has lined up at least four future mural
commissions from locals who have seen her work.
``No matter where I work, I always end up
getting more jobs,'' she said.
The New Port Richey mural is Gerkin's 82nd in a
career that has roots in elementary school in Denver, where she grew up.
``In the third grade I became an artist,'' she
said. A teacher secretly entered one of her drawings in a state contest,
and Gerkin walked away with first place.
Although art beckoned, she at first majored in
psychology at Arizona State University.
``I was raised where you didn't want to be an
artist because they had bad reputations,'' Gerkin said.
Bad reputations or not, six months away from
getting a psychology degree, Gerkin followed her heart and scrapped
psychology for a degree in art.
After additional study at the National Academy
of Art and Design in New York, she began a stint as a portrait artist
and opened her own gallery in Scottsdale, Ariz.
In 1996, a friend commissioned her to paint an
inside mural, ``my first $20,000 job,'' she said with a smile.
``I fell in love with it,'' Gerkin said of that
first wall painting. ``I had always wanted to paint really big. I
decided this is what I'm doing.''
Besides Arizona, she also has lived in Georgia
and Hawaii. Hawaii's vibrant tropical hues influenced her work.
``I push the colors,'' she explained, pointing
to a brown dog she painted. Streaks of green and purple shoot through
the brown. ``If it's not colorful enough, I increase the colors.''
Although Gerkin moved to Port Richey in 2002 to
live with her widowed mother, Katheryn Sampson, she travels widely.
``I come here every three to four months to get
my mail,'' she said.
Working up to 15 hours a day, Gerkin takes only
four days off between assignments to catch up on her sleep.
She politely declines to reveal her
She seems content with the nomadic life she has
``My life is my work,'' the divorcee said.
``Art is life. And life is art.''
While working on the downtown mural, Gerkin
wears a headset and listens to music, helping block out the street noise
and steady her concentration.
Her work can be seen at
Visitors to the site can access a log with pictures illustrating the
progress of the downtown mural.
Vacation Delays Mural For Downtown
Aug 6, 2004
Hope is on the way for public art fans wondering about the outdoor mural
that was to be painted downtown at the end of July.
Artist Tamara Gerkin still is negotiating with the city on a few
points in her contract.
Talks have been on hold, Deputy City Clerk Linda Kann said, because
Gerkin's attorney has been on vacation.
The New Port Richey Cultural Affairs Committee chose Gerkin, of Port
Richey, in June.
The job involves painting a mural on The Karl Reef, a bar and grill
at Main Street and Grand Boulevard.
The mural will celebrate the 1920s, a colorful time in the city's
history featuring Hollywood stars such as Gloria Swanson and golfing
legend Gene Sarazen.
Gerkin, who has created murals for public, private and corporate
clients, will be paid $7,500 for the New Port Richey mural.
The city council delayed final approval of the contract in June until
details such as payment schedule and maintenance provisions could be
``Everybody's hopeful it can be worked out soon,'' Kann said.
New Port Richey ...
Friday 2004-08-06, The Tampa Tribune (English)
Manager Search Will Begin June 21 - from Tampa Bay Online
also is to review a contract with Port Richey artist Tamara Gerkin to paint a
mural on The Karl Reef nightclub on Main ...
"Location - Fiesta Key"
||September 9, 2003
Fiesta Key Murals
Visitors to Florida's Fiesta Key KOA campground can now enjoy
whimsical original art intended to educate viewers about the importance
of preserving the endangered Florida Keys Coral Reefs.
The paintings come from the brush of artist Tamara Gerkin. Earlier
this summer, Gerkin, who has a studio in Port Richey, Florida, completed
underwater murals that cover more than 200 feet of masonry wall. The
murals splash across both the inside and outside walls of the
campground's Olympic-size swimming pool.
Describing the project in a recent telephone interview, Gerkin said she
started working on the interior part of the pool last October.
"I went back and forth between Tampa, where I live, and the KOA.
I'd work 3-4 weeks at a time until I was exhausted," she said.
It took Gerkin 19 days to complete one of the walls, which depicts a
grouper coming out of a cave covered with coral. Much more time went
into painting a wall featuring dolphins, while a wall painted with
sailfish was finished in 12 days.
site, Gerkin explains the steps in her pool-painting project.
First, she covered the entire wall with blue-tinted exterior latex
primer. After allowing the primary to dry for 24 hours, she used a
filbert brush to sketch in compositional elements and shapes.
For the rest of the painting, she used professional-quality fine art
"Though I generally create a mural by bringing it to the same
state of completion at each stage, working outdoors on long walls
dictates painting in small sections," she writes on the site.
When Gerkin moved to the outside wall, its size slowed her down. The
6-foot-by-63-foot span took about two months to finish.
The large viewing distance prompted her to use fish and coral that
are larger than life in scale, as well as stronger colors.
Gerkin said she tried to portray personalities of several Fiesta Keys
staff members through her murals. For example, the grouper represents
her brother, Larry, whom she calls a "gentle giant." An
adoring pair of seahorses symbolizes KOA manager Tom Brooks and his
said her goal, in painting the murals, was to "educate people about
the different types of fish and coral.
"By depicting the different types of coral as realistically as I
can, I try to educate people about how beautiful the reef is," she
Gerkin said she hopes viewers realize that unless pollution of the
oceans ends, "it's going to kill the coral reefs" of the
The murals apparently have made a lasting impression on those who've
seen them. A visitor to Gerkin’s studio during the interview joined
the conversation and described the paintings as "awesome" and
And, with cooler weather just around the corner, now is a good time
to make reservations for a fall or winter stay at the
Key KOA, where the murals have joined a long list of campground
amenities and local attractions.
Some Florida Keys Coral Reef facts
- The Florida Keys coral ecosystem is the third largest coral reef
tract in the world – more than 360 kilometers long, encompassing
2800 square nautical miles and including the world’s largest grass
sea bed (Florida Bay).
- Four million tourists visit the Florida Keys annually,
contributing $1.2 billion in tourism-related services to the
- The Florida Keys coral reefs are the top dive destination in the
© 2003, Kampgrounds of America, Inc.
on KOA Murals"
Publication Date: Saturday, August 2, 2003
KOA gets new tropical look
"Pool’s murals bring images of reef to life"
The Fiesta Key KOA campground at mile marker 70 is looking more tropical than usual these days. The 28-acre complex’s Olympic-size pool now has hand-painted underwater-scene murals that cover more than 200 feet of masonry. They were created by Port Richey artist
The murals are a series of depictions of multi-colored reefs to help educate the public on how precious and fragile the Keys’ reefs are (Reef Relief’s Reef Awareness Week ends today).
Many of Gerkin’s fish portray the personalities of some of Fiesta Key’s staff members, family and friends. For example, a detailed and prominent grouper ventures out of a cave covered with coral, representing her brother Larry, who, she says, is like the grouper,
"an adorable gentle giant."
Below a snapper and clownfish is a pair of seahorses. These colorful creatures represent KOA Manager Tom Brooks and his wife Stacie because, Gerkin says, like the seahorses, they are devoted to each other for life.
© 2003 Keynoter Publishing Company Inc.
Nature Conservancy Magazine
Vol. 52 NO.2
According to Rod Salm, a
Nature Conservancy marine specialist, "Coral bleaching is caused by
elevated ocean temperatures attributed to global warming and phenomena such as
El Nino. Salm's work is part of a larger project to rescue ravaged reefs
that millions of fish and other sea creatures rely on for food and
shelter. Humans rely on reefs, too, for pharmaceuticals and bone-implant
materials. The surface of the sea is reflective. We can't see the consequences
of our actions as we can on the land, says Salm. "Would we let what is
happening to our coral reefs happen to our remaining Redwoods?"
All paintings and images
are Tamara Gerkin's original artwork. Copying or reproducing
prints or poetry at www.ArtisticMurals.com
website without written
consent of the owner, is strictly prohibited.
If you have any
questions, please send an
E-Mail or call at: 727-809-0606,
Original artworks by:
Tamara Gerkin, Copyright © 1999-2012 by Artistic Murals/
Tamara Gerkin. All rights