Meet the UNcommon Artists

unique and diverse 

Chuck Tripp

I am an artist creating ocean and wildlife scenes from metal. I love to create things from found objects as well as new materials

Nicki Forde-Ficoclli

Nicki Forde-Ficocelli is a visual artist working from her home studio in historic downtown Leesburg, Florida. Nicki has been drawing since before she can remember, and that love for creating led her to study commercial art at International Fine Arts College in Miami (currently the Art Institute). Since 1994, Nicki has had a career as a graphic artist, and in 2017 Nicki began making the transition from graphic artist to fine artist. She’s a member of several local art centers and enjoys participating in art exhibitions. Nicki believes art can elevate a community and bring people together. Her paintings are typically made with acrylic paint in an intuitive and somewhat loose style on paper, canvas, wood or found / salvaged materials. Nicki states, “making art is a joyful experience for me, and it’s my hope that joy radiates through my art.” Her mission as an artist is to create a positive impact by making art that uplifts. 

Ana Varela.jpg

Ana Varela

My main intent is to design pieces that bridge Art and Function. I believe the world needs pottery made by artists in order to enrich our human experience. Art matters enormously, especially when integrated in the everyday rhythms of running a home; it intensifies our experiences, helps us be more open minded to the “different”, and fine tunes the joy of living. I imagine my work as having some real effect in the world, and slightly transforming it through its aesthetic, functionality and humor; spurring fun dinner time conversations all over our fast paced world.

 Liz Heggy

I’m Liz, bead nerd, rock hound, gem junkie. I started beading while on bedrest with my baby, created jewelry for the Atlanta drag show scene, then came Instagram, now I design professionally. I’m a Georgia peach gone to the Florida beach and the oversaturated colors and textures of the Florida landscape inspires me daily. My southern accent comes out when I drink wine, and I drink lots of wine while I design at my formerly unused dining room table. My husband Patrick is the calm to my crazy and my son Benjamin is 17 going on 26. I live in downtown St. Petersburg, Florida in a 100-year-old pink Spanish Mediterranean bungalow that always needs work and may or may not be haunted. Oh, and I love jewelry.

Hank Lemerise

I have enjoyed working with wood all my life. Self-taught, I began woodcrafting by making custom cabinetry over 25 years ago. After retiring to Maine in 2009. I met an exceptionally talented gentleman who became my friend and mentor and from whom I learned the craft of woodturning. We formed a Northern Maine Woodturners Organization and also taught our craft at local high schools. My work was exhibited in our local gallery and at numerous craft fairs. In addition, I conducted workshops, made custom turned pieces and custom cabinetry. Wood is always sourced from storm-downed trees and logged pieces deemed not suitable for the sawmilll. After returning to Florida in 2014, I have used locally sourced Magnolia, Cherry, Red Cedar, Sycamore, Golden Raintree, Indian Rosewood, Spanish Mahogany, Oak and Camphor. Each piece of wood displays its own unique markings and color variations. The process of turning each indivisual piece is like a discovery and reaffirmation of Nature's variety. It is my passion. I believe that the creative arts truly offer a glimpse into the creative spirit and soul of humanity.

L. Balombini

 I’m a storyteller who paints and creates what I can imagine. With degrees in clay and fiber and 30 years of trial and error..lots or error..one does find what works best..and what makes you happy. I’m not partial to any certain kinds of materials or surface ..like a good cook in the kitchen, I’ll use whatever is at hand and explore where the ingredients take me. Whether it is painting, sculpture, or my refashioned clothing line.. you’ll find the main theme that runs through them all is a tale of contemporary folk art and a pinch of whimsy.

Suzanne Zielinski

A local Leesburg artist since 1990, I specialize in creating original paintings almost exclusively in Pastel. Works include landscape, still-life, and En Plein Air (working outside in the open air). Nature is often my source and I am at my happiest when I am ankle deep in a grassy field or with my toes in the sand painting from life. In addition to Pastel, I sketch using pencil, ink, and watercolor. I also do figurative and portrait work.

Nanci Fielder

In Oct 2015 I decided to learn the art & skill of glass etching and engraving. Not with stencils and creams but with a high-speed rotary tool. This method involves various sizes of diamond-encrusted cutting burs, grinding stones, and several different coarseness of rubber polishers. And lots and lots of practice! I have to admit that grinding away the rim of a vase to incorporate the design the first few times was a little scary. It's also a very tedious and dusty job but the results are well worth the efforts. Since then glass has become my "canvas". I've finally found a medium I am completely in love with. After several very successful craft shows, I decided to go forward and start my own business. While it hasn't always been easy I've found it has always been rewarding. I love helping people design their own one of a kind gifts for giving to that someone special.

Connie Stephens

Looking back I see that the desire to create was possibly a bit of destiny. My Grandmother owned a tiny millinery shop in the '20s creating unique ladies hats one at a time. My Mother followed by designing & sewing custom costumes for ballet and hand-beaded wedding gowns. Natural stones are like fingerprints as no two are ever identical making the " hunt" one of the greatest joys of jewelry making. 

Every state and country provide a bounty just waiting to be discovered and turned into timeless treasures. Adding the warmth of leather, silver, copper, and found objects from the sea and earth add to the finished perfect ( but imperfect) piece to wear or share. Jewelry was never intended to be locked away or hidden in a box. It should touch the skin, reflect the personality of the wearer, and be gifted to those close to your heart.

Casey Craig

My paintings evolve from my imagination, so I have the freedom to exaggerate patterns or create new ones where they have never existed. I enjoy playing with color, design, and texture and prefer to keep my compositions simple to suggest a sense of peace and serenity. Nature's patterns and colors fascinate me and translating and magnifying these elements into my paintings keeps me inspired. Incorporating found, decorative and hand-painted papers into my work create unique effects and gives me unlimited possibilities for exploring. The resulting images are colorful and stylized interpretations. As an optimist, I bring a bright, positive perspective to painting. The subjects I choose to show my love of nature and the simple pleasures we all enjoy. Painting is a joyful process for me and I want to share that with the viewer.

Brenda Pate

I was born in Savannah, GA and lived in the Lowcountry until 1970 then moved to Atlanta, GA. Lived in
Atlanta for 30 plus years, traveled the US working in the insurance industry, moved back to the
Lowcountry in 2006 and have recently moved to Oxford, FL. It wasn’t until 2015 when I retired that p
ainting emerged in my life. Since that time, I have explored different styles of painting, mediums and textures. Picasso is an inspiration in my artwork not only because of his style painting but also the colors he used. “Mixed Acrylic” is my medium, enhanced by various textures. Texture adds depth and character to art. The textures of choice could be eggshells, coffee grounds, sand, paper, or even poultry grit. So, texture is a must and is usually found somewhere in each painting.
“Modern Impressions” is how I refer to my style of painting. It consists of a variety of eclectic artwork
including cubism, coastal, jazz, abstract, contemporary, and modern. Early in my career, I was inspired by flowers, mainly poppies and magnolias. Commissioned artwork is something we, as artists, appreciate. It is quite an honor to be asked to paint something specific for a customer. It has been my pleasure to paint several commissioned pieces during the last few years.

Kathi Scott

My paintings are created using a pouring method rather than paint brushes. Acrylic paint is modified to be fluid and colors are layered to react with unique effects.

The interplay of multiple paint colors and the organic shapes created as the paint moves makes every painting an adventure for me.Each  piece is an original creation, whether a straight pour, air manipulation, swipe technique or creating flowers, never to be duplicated.

It is fun to see my abstracts cause it's viewers to translate the composition in various ways.

Kimberly Smith

I am an artist, illustrator, and designer of mixed media fiber art. Beginning in the world of advertising as a graphic design illustrator for the all important rent/food/living experience realities of life... I soon realized that to feed my muse, I had to do more ART. My art spans from the preferred favorite of pen and ink to painting to painting mixed media fiber. Fiber being a huger part of my present life. The works continue to grow and expand, sometimes whimsical, often abstract with a lot of natures influence.

Karen Arney is a passionate, self-taught artist who was born in Orlando, FL.. Her love for art is coupled with the fondest memories of her father painting on his easel, while she looked on with her German Shepherd, Rex.

Endeavors include a segment on WKMG,  a collaboration with a couple of other artists who got together to sell and use the proceeds of their artwork to benefit a local animal shelter and a showing at a Summer exhibition with over 60 other artists at the trendy Mills Art Gallery in Orlando.

Her interests include photography and travel, to which, she has traveled to over 150 destinations the past 12 years with her husband.

Her art is always creative, colorful and filled with a zest for love and life and filled with imagination.

Leo Scott

Karen Arney

Doug Perkins

My love and passion for woodworking began in my early teens. I turned my first lamp at age 13, in my Grandfather's woodshop. I was privileged to learn from my Grandfather who was a pattern maker , wooden boat and cabinet maker. The colors, textures, type's, sizes, and shapes of wood all provide boundless opportunities for artistic and functional expression.

The inspiration to create comes from my interest in fantasy art, medieval
times, and visual memory. My work involves the use of wood and metal
and combining those in the overall design. The wood comes from
downed trees and the metal rescued from scrap yards and other sources.
Both materials are shaped and combined to suit the design of the final piece.
My process begins with the sketch of an idea to determine design, shape,
and size. From sketch to three-dimensional work often takes detours as the work evolves.
My goal is to create original artwork that peaks the viewer’s