25 & Under: Sebastian Coolidge

Muralist, 24, St. Petersburg

click to enlarge Sebastian Coolidge - Todd Bates
Todd Bates
Sebastian Coolidge

Fresh look: The mural that started it all — the gangly kid stretching to squeeze a juicy orange — still startles and delights every time you see it wrapping around the Freshly Squeezed boutique at the corner of MLK and 1st Ave. N. It turned a corner, too, for the artist, Sebastian Coolidge. Before that he’d been doing small-scale murals (like the one he did in the back room of the Vans store where he was working at the Tyrone Square mall) and tagging at night, until he got tired of running from undercover cops. He’d also done a rooftop for fashion designer Khendrix, which the owner of Freshly Squeezed heard about. “He didn’t really have any money, I didn’t really have any money,” says Coolidge, “so I got a bunch of free house paint and traded him $500 in clothes to do that mural. It ended up getting me a whole year’s worth of jobs.”
And now original Sebastians are all over town: The Bends, Lonnie’s, a barber shop in Midtown, and NY Café, to name a few locations, plus he’s working on murals for Creative Clay, Pabst Blue Ribbon, and residential clients. And these days, he says, “I don’t do anything for under three or four grand.”
Old soul: “There’s something old-worldly I think I have this connection with. I try to paint things from history and mix it with modern stuff — kind of like a past, present and future in all my paintings. I collect old photos and animal bones, I think because I feel like when I die I want my soul to be cherished by someone.”
New clothes: In the coming year, look for him to debut his clothing line Sebastian Coolidge 1912. What’ll the clothes look like? That’s “top secret. My murals and my paintings are really like nothing compared to my clothes. It’s so under wraps because I’m so afraid people will steal my ideas. I don’t want to even put it in the air.”
Is he any relation to President Coolidge? “I always wanted to believe I was related to Calvin Coolidge. I feel kind of presidential.”
You’re the president of St. Pete: “I’m trying!”

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