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Fantasy Meets Reality – Living and Creating Art In the Florida Keys

Updated: Dec 9, 2022

Fantasy Meets Reality – Living and Creating Art In the Florida Keys – a Conversation with Artist Sandy West

The Lower Keys in Florida are home to hundreds of artists and art galleries.

Recently, I had the opportunity to sit down with Lower Keys based artist Sandy Trupcevic-West for a candid conversation about what it’s like to move from the Midwest to the Lower Keys, pursuing art after the age of 50, and must see galleries in Key West.

Like so many Key West love stories begin, Sandy first came to the Keys on her wedding anniversary trip, went home, sold everything and moved here. That was 13 years ago, and she’s still here living, teaching and creating art sold in a Duval Street gallery.

Daughter of Croatian immigrant parents, Sandy’s dad moved the family to the United States in response to an ad in a German newspaper seeking skilled tool and die laborers. In the conversation, we discuss areas of the U.S. that have a lot of Croatian immigrants, including Kansas City and Sarasota, Florida.

Lifelong artist, Sandy is currently best known for paint pouring in a style that she describes as “fantasy meets reality” as portrayed in underwater scenes. She not only practices the technique, but also teaches paint pouring at three Key West spaces.

A trained artist with a commercial art degree, Sandy talks about how her study helped her as an artist and successful arts entrepreneur. Versatility and ability to use one’s specialty in a variety of applications is one way artists can satisfy artistic and commercial demands and have fun doing it. Does a commercial degree help artists have a sustainable career? Ask Sandy West, and the answer is absolutely yes, it does help.

Sandy discusses what it was like for her to finally realize important parts of her artist style identity only after the age of 50. She gives more advice and encouragement for 50 plus year old artists in part two of the interview “Never Too Late To Art.”

Poured paint makes Sandy West’s work stand out, and it’s clear that teaching the technique to kids and adults is a passion for her as you hear her talk about her admiration for classroom teachers and her own teaching journey.

The art scene in Key West is thriving. Sandy talks about some of the galleries to check out.

Listen to part 2 of the Sandy West interview here >>

Duval Street based Guild Hall established in 1976 is the epicenter of gallery life across from the popular Wyland Gallery. Learn more about the galleries of Key West where Sandy teaches and displays her art.

It's never too late to do your art – words of encouragement for artists 50 and older from Sandy West.

Connect with Sandy on her website, and see her work at:

You can also catch one of her classes and find out the schedule of events on her FB page Keys Creative Kids & Kids At Heart

When you purchase a print or original work from Sandy, be sure to tell her hi from Songlife.



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