Tampa's Jeff Whipple is a virtual one-man artistic industry, and Weekly Planet's Renaissance man of the hour. An award-winning visual artist, playwright and filmmaker, Whipple invests his own brand of irony and dark humor onto canvas, sculpture, film and the stage. In 1980 the artist received his MFA from USF; he recently returned to Tampa, installing his studio in the Channelside area after living in Sarasota. Sarasota's loss is Tampa's gain. Whipple's versatility surfaces in an extraordinary range of art, from quiet Florida landscapes, portraits and public art mural commissions, to unique, humorous relationship paintings and "metaphorical" paintings. In 2002, the multitalented artist was awarded a 25-year retrospective by Largo's Gulf Coast Museum of Art, an exhibition curated by Mark Ormond, formerly of the Ringling Museum. Whipple has had more than 60 solo exhibitions and dozens of group exhibitions in Florida and across the country. He has won many top art competitions, and his artwork has been purchased for museums, private collections, corporations and colleges. The artist received visual art fellowships in his home state of Illinois and in Florida. In 2001, he was the first recipient of the Fulton Ross Award for Artists, a $10,000 grant based on career achievements. Whipple has also received several playwriting awards, including his 1996 Florida Individual Artist Fellowship. He's had plays produced at Clearwater's Ruth Eckerd Hall, as well as in Orlando and Chicago, and his videos have been featured in film festivals, his latest entry having been shown in Ybor's 2003 inaugural Festival of the Moving Image. Whipple's wide-ranging reputation gained notoriety in June, 2003, when Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer censored the artist's traveling retrospective, scheduled for installation in Orlando's City Hall before a final show in Naples. Dyer removed 34 of the 60 art works, citing their "controversial" or violent content. For more on our prized artistic citizen, see www.jeffwhipple.com.