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The Southernmost Artist and Key West Art

The Southernmost Artist

On our recent getaway to the Conch Republic, my husband and I met the Southernmost Artist. As we waded and swam in the warm waters of Southern Beach that first day in Key West, William Craig Sasser employed his craft on the sidewalk overlooking the Southernmost House, his back to the Atlantic.The man was an anchor in a sea of tourists milling about that summer morning. Most people walked right past him as if he didn’t exist, fascinated by the art in nature, taking photos posing in front of the water instead of admiring his work. It didn’t faze him. He kept on painting, his pose relaxed and his gaze serene.

Finished with our swim, my husband and I wandered over to the man in the wide-brimmed hat. He didn’t look up from his painting, allowing us to peruse the displayed pieces at our leisure.

One piece in particular caught my eye. It reminded me of our fishing charter experience last fall. The oil featured a heron flying above mangrove islands in an early morning scene.

I wanted that painting if we could afford it. But first, I was more interested in getting to know the man behind the art. We waited patiently, and at last he lifted his brush from the canvas and glanced our way. The look on his face, the wonder of returning from the thrill of his art, connected with me. I get lost in a story and lose all track of time and space. I guess you could compare it to a runner’s high.

In our chat with Mr. Sasser, we expressed our interest in the painting and asked him about the inspiration. He said that it was, indeed, a morning painting over “the lakes” where we’d fished. My husband and he then chatted about the frame of the painting. My husband was brutally honest, saying he planned to change the frame and make his own, like he had done with the other art in our Key West themed bedroom. Instead of being insulted as I’d anticipated, the artist agreed, emphatic that a person become a participant in their art. This sentiment is echoed in his artist statement attached to the back of that painting we ultimately purchased: “It is the human relationsihip to nature and the oneness we all share with it.”

I would happily include a link to William Craig Sasser’s website, if he had one. He doesn’t use the internet or display his work online. However, if you happen to visit Key West, you may find the Southernmost Artist painting at the Southernmost Beach or at his Key West Studio at 6621 Maloney Avenue.

Art abounds in Old Town, Key West…

Building Mural
Building mural – Corner of Simonton and Olivia
Fence in Bahama Village, Key West
Car Art – Spotted off Flagler Avenue
Sand Art at the Casa Marina Resort – Ribbit…
Recycled Car as Art – Near the Historic Seaport
Architectural Art – Lower Duval
Sheet Metal Art – Key West Street Fair

…all unique, all beautiful in their own way.

12 comments on “The Southernmost Artist and Key West Art

  1. Nice artwork!! I admit, there’s truly something more special about owning pieces of art of artists you know or have had contact with in some way, like the books I purchase. It has all the more sentimental value to me when I know the author :)

  2. My wife and I just returned from Key West where we purchased a Sasser painting. He is still painting at the southern end of Key West. When we walked by we were immediately drawn to a painting of a palm on the beach. I just hung it on the wallop our bedroom it will bring us joy for years to come,

    1. Hi John!

      Thanks for the update. I’m hoping my husband and I catch him when we return to KW in the near future. I’ve never regretted purchasing paintings or objects of art during our travels. There’s nothing like waking up to memories of your favorite places. Enjoy!

  3. Hello Jolyse,

    I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Sasser one short day ago! He would have loved to chat for hours! I am a collector of art wherever I visit and got from him a breathtaking little painting of a canvas sling back chair on the beach. He told of his inspiration to complete the painting and how he altered what he saw to fit his interpretation and visions in his head of “the therapy seat.”

    God Bless you in your travels and collecting of beautiful art pieces and memories!

    1. Hi Angela!

      Thanks for the update on Mr. Sasser. We looked for him on our recent getaway to KW but didn’t see him. Perhaps he avoided the city during February Break tourist season. :) Thanks also for sharing your experience and enjoy your beautiful KW art. God bless you as well. :)

  4. We, my husband and I, had gone down to do the “tourist thing” and have our photo made at the southern most point. The line was long and decided to come back. As we walked away we happened to see an artist and stopped to take a look. Mr. Sasser was about half way finished with a simple beach scene. I loved it. I try to buy from local artist when I travel. We chatted a while and he told us to come back in about an hour if interested. You can guess that I was back. Such a talented artist. So glad to have found him. Will look for him when we return to Key West.

    1. Hi JoAnn,

      Thanks so much for your comment! I’ve been in my writer’s cave finishing two books for release, one this summer and another (set in Key West!) this fall. Love hearing that Mr. Sasser is still there and doing well. I hope to see him and buy more of his artwork when we return to the island next year. So glad you had a wonderful experience too. :)

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