The Hollander Hotel & Artist Chad Mize

A ‘Tasty’ Collaboration Steeped in
Vintage St. Pete Charm 

. . .

Over the Memorial Day weekend, a new four-story mural by visual artist Chad Mize was unveiled poolside at The Hollander Hotel in downtown St. Pete. Of course, colorful large-scale murals in DTSP have become a defining characteristic of the ‘Burg’s urban landscape, but there’s a fascinating full-circle symmetry to this one – a coming together of two great forces of nostalgia and history that reveal a story worth telling.

Chad Mize – photo courtesy of Hollander Hotel social media

The Hotel 

The 96-room downtown hotel is charming and eclectic. The walls, halls and floor space are overflowing with whimsical artifacts, local art and amazing photos and memorabilia depicting St. Pete’s storied history.

This early Florida visitors’ haven opened in 1933, underwent several ownership and name changes, then sat vacant during a stagnant phase in the ‘Burg’s development from 1990-2013.  

A new era was born when local developer Mike Andoniades purchased the property and renovated it, restoring the Florida charm and the original Hollander name. It reopened in 2014. Many features, including the iconic front veranda and other elements, are part of the original hotel facade.

The Common Grounds coffee shop and The Tap Room Restaurant are busy hangouts for both guests and locals and, to dispel a common misunderstanding, the trophy head hanging over the bar is a caribou… not a deer. Just an FYI.

Another focus for fun and activity at the present-day Hollander is most certainly the pool – with privacy from the bustle and traffic of 4th Street. Each Sunday the doors are open to locals to come and enjoy a dance party alongside guests from all over the world. The parties are always a blast, often benefiting local nonprofits.

But up until now, the large blank gray wall of the adjacent building loomed over the pool area – anathema to the whimsically vintage vibe of The Hollander.

“Enlightened Man” by St Pete sculptor Don Gialanella, Artist in Residence at the Hollander and part of the hotel’s participation in the Creative Pinellas project, Beyond the Walls (Art in Hotels) – photo by Cindy Stovall

“We are dedicated to celebrating and sharing with community,” says marketing director Juliana Villamil. “We love the unique vibe of St. Petersburg, its warmth, and of course, one of its biggest claims to fame – the arts scene. We support and collaborate with artists and arts organizations whenever we have the opportunity.” 

Chad Mize – photo courtesy of the artist’s social media

The Artist 

Enter Chad Mize. Anyone who has had any association with the arts in our area, knows Chad Mize – and if, inconceivably, they don’t know his name, they have almost certainly seen his work.

The creator of the virally popular “Paris, London, Tokyo, St. Pete” T-shirt, Mize’s trademark ‘doodles’ can be seen on walls, merchandise, canvases and even cars all over town. He’s organized and curated hundreds of themed, multi-artist exhibitions and continues to do so. Educated in graphic design, Mize’s art has recently become synonymous with corporate commissions and large-scale public installations.  

Among Chad Mize’s earlier forays into mural and public art with vintage themes came about a decade ago, when the now iconic Twiggy mural appeared in the alley space of the 600 block of Central Avenue.

Soon after, another retro image, one key to St. Pete’s early branding history, made an appearance next to Twiggy. Mr. Sun was resurrected by Mize as an homage to the city and to the original artist.

The brightly smiling Mr. Sun can be seen on city buses and many of Mize’s works and merchandise throughout the city. “It’s important to me that full credit is given to the original creator of this image, the late Jack Swenningsen and his daughter Jacklyn,” says Mize. ”I always mention them when I talk about Mr. Sun, and I’m so grateful for the family’s support in bringing back Jack’s creation – a very important symbol of our city and its history.” 

The Mural 

And so, the scene was set and the stars alligned. “When we acquired the next-door building and knew we wanted a mural that reflected vintage St. Pete vibes with tropical imagery and color, Chad was my first and only choice,” says Villamil.

Tasty, Chad Mize’s new mural at the Hollander Hotel

She originally brought Mize on board in 2016 to create the 3-D HH logo mural adjacent to the breezeway. “I knew he would create exactly what we were looking for – and he did.” 

Work began on the mural on the Friday before Memorial Day and the completed piece, titled Tasty was unveiled on the Monday holiday at a well-attended reception and pool party. “I couldn’t have done it without the assist from Nick Kekllas, ”says Mize. “He’s the go-to guy for many muralists like me, the Vitale Bros. and others. He’s the best.” 

Tasty features classic St. Pete/Florida images with the Mize twist – pelican (the city’s ‘mascot’), dolphin, flamingos, oranges. Then more targeted imagery is part of the scene – the HH logo and pool, Sunshine Skyway Bridge and a beverage can nod to the mural’s business sponsor.

Even Mr. Sun makes an appearance, featured prominently at the top, overseeing all the fun. Bright pink, yellow, turquoise and orange comprise the palette that embodies St. Pete’s brightness, warmth and its past. 

Even the technique used to create the mural was traditional and in keeping with the vintage vibe. “All the drawing onto the wall was done by hand,” explains Mize, “not projected. I wanted to keep it old school.” That certainly makes the completion time frame even more impressive.  

When asked what creating this piece means to him, Mize replied, “It’s a love letter to the city.”  

Hollander owner Mike Adoniades also owns the popular nearby Avalon Hotel, and has acquired a number of properties throughout St. Pete for redevelopment. “We are dedicated to the community and to providing an atmosphere that the people love and want to visit over and over.”   

Mission accomplished. 


Upcoming Events

Bliss! – a free Pride-themed exhibit, curated by Chad Mize and featuring the work of 40 visual artists and 5 literary artists, has its opening reception on Friday, June 7 from 6-10 pm at Fairgrounds St. Pete (Building 6) and is on view through June.

The Hollander hosts a shuffleboard pool party on Sunday, June 30 from 1- 5 pm 










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