Some big, bold mural therapy

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Brandon Thrift’s ‘love each other’ message receives a touch-up as his artistic creation continues to shine bright it Siesta Key’s Village

By John Morton

Only something special could replace a mural created by the late, great Shawn McLoughlin.
At Siesta Key’s Beach Club, they found someone up to challenge in Brandon Thrift. The Sarasota artist had made his mark around the difficult time of the pandemic with his “spread the love” message on what he called trash art. He’d literally spray paint abandoned items and leave them behind, creating a sort of finders-keepers culture throughout the region for those who stumbled upon his work.

And Katie Spelman took notice.
“A few years ago, we had to repair the stucco on the outside of the building, and unfortunately we lost the mural,” Spelman, who is the night club’s assistant operations manager, said of McLoughlin’s beach-themed piece along the three-paneled exterior wall. “At first, when we learned that Shawn wasn’t feeling healthy enough to replace it, we just painted over it for the time being. Eventually, we started discussing what should be next.
“Then, when I saw some of the ‘spread the love’ art, I thought ‘How cool would that be?’”

Her bosses loved the idea, and Thrift was tracked down for the project. And it catapulted him into a new mode of not only artistry but earning power.
“The Beach Club was one of my first murals and it opened a lot of doors for me,” said Thrift, who first spray-painted his bubble-love motif in 2021 and has since twice touched it up, including an overhaul featuring more color and more pop that he completed in late October. “The sun and weather take a toll on the work, but at least the concept should stand the test of time.”
That concept, big and bold, simply reads “love one another.”
“COVID amplified the division of humankind,” Thrift said. “I wanted to change that.”

And the Village’s happy-go-lucky scene was the perfect place for him to do his thing.
“I felt really cozy there. So many friendly people would stop, take pictures, and ask me about myself,” said Thrift, who has since been hired to create four separate pieces for Siesta Key residents along with some exterior work at the nearby Meaney’s Mini Donuts building where he created images of donuts and ice cream, and a tropical sunset.
He also liked the perks that come with working on Siesta Key.
“Whenever I got too hot and sweaty, I’d just jump in the gulf and I’d be good to go,” he said.
Meanwhile, Thrift’s recent facelift at the Beach Club can be seen via a cool video set to music at SiestaSand.us.
“I hope to get other opportunities to work on Siesta Key. It’s a great place, a great vibe,” said Thrift, who has also donated some of his work to community fundraising events held at the Beach Club. “I’m glad that people are taking notice.”
Said Spelman of his mural, “It’s one of my favorite pieces on Siesta Key.”

John Morton
Author: John Morton

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