A Night Out In Ybor, New Year’s Eve – To the far left, is my Great Aunt and Great Uncle, Ofelia & Chris DeMarco. In the middle, my Great, Great Aunt & Uncle, Elvira & Manuel Mendoza. To the far right, my Grandparents, Anthony & Olga Planez.
My Great Grandfathers painting, Antonio Planez
2nd from the right is my Great Grandfather, Bernardo DeLaOsa & his band
My Great Aunt, Dora DeLaOsa, representing the cigar factories in Ybor at Gasparilla
My 3rd Cousin, Manuel 'Manny' G. Mendoza, creator and director of the popular TV show 'Que Pasa USA?'
My 3rd Cousin, Mario Nunez. Host of the TV show The Tampa Natives
The front left is my 2nd Cousin
Chris DeMarco - drummer for 70's band The Classics IV, with hits like 'Traces', 'Spooky' and 'Stormy'
Hi! I'm the artist, April Paige. I was born and raised in Sarasota, FL to two passionate families - one Cuban and one Spanish. I currently reside and have my art studio in Tampa, FL and I am very proud to call Florida my home. I briefly studied art at the Ringling School of Art, studied privately through various courses, painted in conjunction with other established artists and have developed many self taught techniques.
My love of art began the moment I was given a crayon as a child. I spent many years exploring my creativity before becoming an artist and was recognized and honored for many contests while in school. I assisted one of my art professors in creating wall murals outside of art school and then developed my own style of fine art which is still transforming today.
I am an avid music lover and try hard to capture that moment of creativity, grit or soul expression of whatever subject I am painting. Right now, I am exploring a more monochromatic style that I came to enjoy from painting along side a tatoo artist who has become a fine artist. I am very excited to create a new series that reminds me of my Ybor City heritage, my Latin heritage and my love of Latin music. I am looking forward to capturing some of the people and things that have helped to build me personally and this great city of ours.
Unique Tampa Heritage
My family heritage stems from the cigar industry in Ybor City, FL. I am very proud of my local family history which includes cigar makers, lectors in the cigar factories, musician and beauty queens.
My Great Grandmother, on my Grandmother's side, was an orphan in a convent, after both parents died of tuberculosis in Cuba. She was brought to the United States by her two first cousins who were teachers in Cuba and that’s how she came to work in the cigar factories. Her husband, Bernardo, was a musician and finishing cigar roller in Ybor.
My Great Aunt Dora DeLaOsa , on my Grandmother's side, represented the cigar factories on the floats of Gasparilla and she was an amazing harmony singer. She taught me how to hear the harmony in any song and I cherish that time we had together. She, and my Grandmother, were amazing seamstresses as well. Together they custom created my wedding dress many years ago and I have such fond memories of that time. Her daughter Eva La Barbera-Hiraldo, my 2nd Cousin, was a maid for the Latin American Fiesta and the Knights of Columbus pageants. My other 2nd Cousin Joyce (De La Osa) Groetzinger was a maid for the Centro Espanol pageant. My Grandmother’s brother, my Great Uncle, was a part of the Philharmonic & Boston Pops Orchestra as a base player. He was also an amazing acoustic guitarist and piano player. I remember being mesmerized by his playing when I was young.
My Great Grandfather, on my Grandfather's side, was also an artist later in life. He painted acrylic and water colors on canvas with subjects that usually included family members or scenes of things he saw. He introduced me to his passion at an early age and was a great influence in my interest in art. My 2nd Cousin , on this side of the family, played drums for the popular band called 'The Classics IV' in the early 1970's.
Manuel 'Manny' Mendoza, my 3rd Cousin, was the creator of ¿Qué Pasa, USA? (Spanish For: What's Happening, USA?). It was America's first bilingual situational comedy, and the first sitcom to be produced for PBS. It was produced and taped in front of a live studio audience and aired on PBS member stations nationwide. The program explored the trials and tribulations faced by the Peñas, a Cuban-American family living in Miami's Little Havana neighborhood, as they struggled to cope with a new country and a new language. The series is praised as being very true-to-life and humorous portrayal of the life and culture of Miami's Cuban-American population. Today, the show is cherished by many Miamians as a true, albeit humorous, representation of life and culture in Miami. As of 2018, a film adaptation is currently in development produced by Las Vegas money manager and film producer Dax Anthony Cata, a lifelong fan of the original show and its star Steven Bauer. Who subsequently would go on to play Manny Ribera in the wildly popular 1980's Cuban remake of Scarface starring Al Pacino which was a major inspiration for the screenplay of the Que Pasa, USA? remake.
My 3rd Cousin, Mario Nunez, is co-administering The Tampa Natives Facebook Group that, because of it's popularity, turned into a TV show. The local Tampa TV show is called 'The Tampa Natives Show - where sharing your memories has never been this much fun'. It began September 1st, 2010 where he too is trying to keep the local heritage alive.
My Grandmother, on my father's side, sang in the Sweet Adelines - an organization of women singers. My Father, Mother and Brother are also all artistic in many ways.
My love of music also comes from my family influence in so many different ways. Not only the talented people but the direct experiences that it brought me. My Grandfather took me to Spanish dances and he would dance with me until I couldn't dance any longer. As a teenager, that was a lot of dancing! My Uncle and other family members use to play their instruments or sing to me often. It wasn’t until I became older that I understood how special those experiences were in life - I thought that was the norm for every family. My mother and Aunts always taught me the latest American and Latin dance steps and latest music as well. I was exposed to many live bands with my family, encouraged to participate and I have had a special connection with music from a very young age.
In essence, I come from a family of artistic talent in art and music. They all taught me to follow my passion. So that's what I am doing!