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TAMPA BAY METRO MAGAZINE - METRO ART

For Tampa artist Jack Bond, being human means to wear a mask — in the metaphorical sense of performing who we are as selves in ways specific to contexts like work, play or love.

"You don't think about it, but you hold parts of yourself back from certain people," Bond says. "All human beings do this."

The idea motivates Bond's striking collages, in which he reconfigures mass media material — images cut out from advertisements, art books, etc. — into careful, elegant compositions. The finished pictures hint at narrative, but what their story might be remains mysterious and elusive, like the concealed faces within them. It all started when Bond mounted an African mask on top of a man's face in a collage as an experiment and thought, "This is interesting."

Since beginning to exhibit his collages in 2010, Bond has been scooping up awards and honorable mentions at art fairs statewide — from Coconut Grove in Miami to the Morean Arts Center's annual members exhibition in St. Petersburg. In March, he showcases his latest work at the 43rd annual Raymond James Gasparilla Festival of the Arts in Curtis Hixon Park on downtown Tampa's waterfront. The event features more than 200 exhibiting artists, who will compete to win nearly $65,000 in prize money and sell their art to a crowd of 250,000 visitors.
For Bond, developing a career as a full-time fine artist in his mid-60s is an unexpected accomplishment. After growing up in St. Petersburg and studying art at New York's School of Visual Arts and the University of South Florida, he worked for decades as a commercial graphic artist before owning and operating Kent Bond Gallery in Tampa's Carrollwood neighborhood.

The gallery eventually closed and Bond redirected his framing and commercial art skills — like foam board mounting and photo scanning -— into the production of memorable fine art.
"It's been one of the best things that could have happened to me," Bond says.

—Megan Voeller

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