A promotion with a local coffee company will benefit turtles.
It’s not easy to leave Thays Art Gallery and Studio, 154 W. Granada Blvd. Visitors don’t want to end the conversation with the effervescent artist from Brazil who now owns the shop, formerly called Masterpiece Mixers.
“I never stop talking,” Thays Franca said to a recent visitor with a laugh. “If you’re leaving you just have to walk out.”
She talks about art, the environment, the promise of America and Ormond Beach. She said she has had 17 addresses since leaving Brazil and this is the first place she has felt at home.
Opening her arms wide, she said, “Ormond Beach hugged me and took me in. I will pay that back forever. I’ve met so many people who care about me. You don’t see that in other cities.”
In return, she likes to keep her business local, working with Frame of Mind, for example, and other artists and businesses. She does a live art performance during Sunday morning brunch at Grind Gastropub and Kona Tiki Bar where her art and outgoing personality are on display.
Her studio is not Masterpiece Mixers anymore, but she still holds “fun-art” painting party classes there. It’s also now a gallery, with works by local artists on display.
“I’ve always wanted to have my own gallery,” she said.
Much of her work is done on commission, including pet portraits and murals.
Most of her art is painted on wood reclaimed from the recent hurricanes. She collected a large amount of wood when it was stacked up along roads and the beach.
“I’ve met so many people who care about me.”
THAYS FRANCA, owner of Thays Art Gallery and Studio
Never having hurricanes in Brazil, Franca said having a storm that could destroy your house was very humbling.
“We have to re-use this wood,” she said. “It’s reclaimed, recycled.”
She said the wood compliments her nature-centered art and any flaws in the wood are part of the art.
“I couldn’t think of a better material for my art,” she said.
A CAREER-CHANGING TRIP
In July, Franca was selected as one of fifty artists to participate in the Surf and Ocean International Art Show on the north shore of Oahu, Hawaii.
She got a confidence boost upon being selected, and was able to learn from other the other artists.
“It was a career-changing trip for me,” she said. “No two artists work the same. You can learn from each other.”
Artists who specialize in ocean-related art, like Franca, were invited to attend the show. The gallery owner, Hilton Alves, kept four of her pieces for permanent display.
She was able to participate in community events including a beach cleanup, painting of a food truck, hikes, surf sessions and more.
PASSIONATE ABOUT TURTLES
Franca is collaborating with Steel Oak Coffee, of Ormond Beach, in a promotion to raise money for the Volusia/Flagler Turtle Patrol.
“I’m passionate about sea turtles,” she said.
She designed the art for the bag of a new blend called “Lights Out,” which is for sale online at www.steeloakcoffee.com. The company will donate $1 for each bag sold to the turtle patrol.
To raise more money, Franca is raffling off the art that was created for the bag, with an event set for 6-8 p.m., Sept. 29 at the gallery. The art is on reclaimed hurricane wood. It’s not necessary to be present at the raffle event. For information visit www.artbythays.com.
BRAZIL TO ORMOND
After earning a fine arts degree in Brazil, Franca travelled to America to spend one year learning English, enrolling at Georgia Southwestern State University in Americus, Georgia. That year turned into 15 years, as her artistic ability attracted offers.
She was actively involved with the Masterpiece Mixers for seven years, and opened her own franchise in Ormond Beach in 2015. Her love for animals inspired her to start the “paint your pet” class, which spread across the nation. In May, she renovated the studio into an upscale gallery, but she will continue to do the fun art painting parties in a fine art setting.
She plans to pay a visit to her parents in Brazil soon. They joke about her going to America to learn English.
“My dad said, ‘I thought you were smart, but it’s taking you 15 years to learn English,’” she said with a laugh.