As the fruition of American dreams often do, they take the dreamer by surprise. The growing success of Nokomis artist Brendan Coudal is no exception.
His latest creation, “What a Predicament,” has been getting lots of buzz lately. It will be used to promote Siesta Key’s Chamber of Commerce Fourth of July Community Fireworks Celebration. The work features a vintage-styled young lady getting ready to light a firework as her little dog begins to pull on her skirt. It’s like the Coppertone girl all grown up — but Coudal’s interpretation.
His path to artistic success began just after 9/11, when he decided to pick up a brush and start painting. He knew he had the talent to paint but he was surprised at what he could do on a canvas. So much so that he started selling his work to the tune of about $25 just a few years ago.
He laughs at that thought now.
Today his retro oil paintings — featuring fun, beachy illustrations of vintage, mid-century glamorous pinup girls — go for about $10,000.
“I really like that kind of style,” Coudal said of his popular series. “Things were a little more innocent back then in the 1950s. Maybe I’m romanticizing things but they seemed more innocent and safe.”
His “Siesta Sweetie” is on the cover of the Siesta Key 50th anniversary visitors’ guide and was used to promote last year’s SandFest event. Coudal’s “Island Girl” promoted the 80th annual Sarasota Tarpon Tournament.
The success of his sudden art career recently led Coudal to sell the busy dock-side store at the Gulf Harbour Marina he and his wife, Nicole, ran.
That required a big leap of faith, though. Especially in these times. But Coudal, who seems used to living by faith, said “every time you step, the path is revealed.”
As he walks his unknown path, it isn’t the money his work sells for that makes him feel like he’s making the right move. Instead, it’s the reaction he sees on peoples’ faces when they stop at galleries such as downtown Sarasota’s Art Uptown or elsewhere, attracted to one of his vintage-styled works.
“When they stop, stare at a painting and smile — for an artist that’s my biggest reward,” he said.
To view “What a Predicament” visit HeraldBuzzworthy.blogspot.com.