Christopher M. Still
1961 - Present
Inducted in 2010
In 2010, Clearwater native Christopher Still became–at age 49–the youngest individual ever to be inducted into the Florida Artists Hall of Fame. Still's paintings are loved for the way he honors the heritage of his home state. Known for his large works that capture the essence of Florida's environment and history in exquisite detail, Still has earned a reputation as a Florida-inspired painter without peer.
Still was born in Clearwater in 1961, but grew up in Dunedin in a family of artists. He was greatly influenced by his great-grandmother's paintings and the intricate textile projects of his mother and grandmother. His father, who taught history, also was a major influence on his career. Still's most celebrated works are landscapes that symbolically depict key elements in Florida's colorful past.
Still began formal art training at age 9 at the Dunedin Fine Art and Cultural Center. In his teens, he won a scholarship to train at the Florida Gulf Coast Museum in Bellair, Florida. In 1979 he enrolled in the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia, thanks to a full scholarship he won through the National Scholastic Art Awards program.
During his six years in Philadelphia, Still also got to experience the art world in Europe and learn techniques used by the old masters. He completed an independent studies program in Florence, Italy and in 1983 received a European Travel Fellowship. Before he left Philadelphia in 1984, he also studied human anatomy at Jefferson Medical School.
As a youth, Still declared his intention of some day returning to his native state as a fully trained artist "to paint Florida with the dignity it deserves." In murals, landscapes, portraits and still-life, Still has demonstrated an uncanny ability to capture the small nuances and special flavors of Florida's tropical environment. He has been compared to such 19th Century artists as Frederic Church and Albert Bierstadt, famous for their epic renditions of the American Northeast and Northwest.
In 1998, Still received two large commissions, one from the City of St. Petersburg for two paintings for the city hall, and another from the Florida Legislature to paint the official portrait of Florida governor, Lawton Chiles, who died that year (1930-1998). In 1999, the Florida House of Representatives commissioned Still for an extraordinary project, the painting of 10 murals for the House chambers. Still completed the project, which emphasizes Florida's unique history and natural resources, in 2004.
Since then, Still's commissioned work has included a painting and sculpture for the Tampa International Airport (2005); two paintings for the Sandpearl Resort in Clearwater (2007) and a 7-foot by 14-foot, 25th anniversary painting for Ruth Eckerd Hall at the Baumgardner Center for the Performing Arts in Clearwater (2008). Many of Still's paintings are in the private collections of museums, including those of the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C. and the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art in Sarasota.
Some of Still's finest landscapes pay tribute to Florida's rich marine environments and coastal heritage. He gets much of his insight into the state's marine ecology from his wife, Kelly, a marine biologist. They make their home in Tarpon Springs with their two daughters.