A normal two-bedroom, two-bathroom home would never have fit for Derek Donnelly. Normal just doesn’t feel right.
“Nope. Never would,” he said with a sly smile.
His new place is something to see: a stack of seven 40-foot long shipping containers that will serve as both home and art gallery.
Better yet, way bigger than his last place.
“Yeah, a lot more room. A lot more room to work,” said the Pinellas County-based artist. “The last place I was in had a real studio apartment vibe.”
He's affectionately calling the new place the C.O.V.E, which stands for Creative Opportunities in Visual Entertainment. The upstairs is his living space. The downstairs is his art studio and gallery, where he plans to display his work and the work of fellow Tampa Bay artists for the community to come and enjoy.
“It’s serving as a nice, clean gallery right now and that will change from time to time with different exhibitions and different solo shows and stuff,” he said, surrounded by paint-soaked canvases full of beautiful sea creatures and creative portraits.
“I’m hoping (visitors) see a whole new window of inspiration and creativity.”
The grand opening for the C.O.V.E, located at 5705 Park Boulevard in Pinellas Park, will be Dec. 17. Murals will eventually be added to the white walls. Donnelly expects them to be ready by February.
He’s excited about the chance to display great local art, even if it is right at home.
“Right, my whole life I’m trying to learn and teach people to live outside the box and I end up right back in it.”