2019 WAVE Awards Spotlight: John Gascot

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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Tampa Bay’s Favorite Local Artist

“Art should be for everyone,” St. Petersburg’s John Gascot says. “It shouldn’t only be for the educated or only for people with a lot of money.”

That’s why the artist’s work is accessible not only in its subject matter and aesthetic, but also its price point. “You can go into my studio and get a hand painted magnet for $5 or a painting for $3,000,” he explains.

“I don’t want anyone to come in and feel like they can’t leave with something.”

Gascot spent the first 12 years of his life in Puerto Rico, to which he attributes his love of the bold colors consistent throughout many of his paintings. “They’re bright, colorful and cheerful for the most part,” he says. “There’s a strong Latin influence from my background. I affectionately coined my style ‘Latin Pop’ after years of trying to put it into one category or another.”

Diversity is also essential for the artist, evidenced in the creation of his nonprofit Diversity Arts. It aims to serve disenfranchised, mostly LGBTQ youth by providing safety, guidance and materials for creative self-discovery, expression or sociocultural interaction.

“That’s really important to me,” Gascot says. “If you look at my paintings there are people of every shade and orientation. Whether you’re a little gay boy or a little girl of color, you should be able to go into a museum or gallery and see yourself in the work. Art should be about everyone.”

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