A pair of local artists has been making a fluorescent splash all around the city of Ocala to promote their upcoming immersive art experience.
The artists, Teddy Sykes and E.J. Nieves, have captivated the city with a unique social marketing campaign to promote “Neon Dreams,” the immersive art experience that the pair will bring to life at Infinite Ale Works (304 S Magnolia Ave) on December 6 at 6 p.m. The show will showcase exclusive paintings and prints made by the couple and will also feature the musical talents of Joel “Just Joel” Downing.
To say the couple has drawn support from the community would be an understatement, as a wave of countless local businesses, organizations and individuals have contributed time, talents, and treasure. The variety of donations that the couple has received from the community, including a blank food truck and white-walled home in Historic Ocala, has been extensive, and the artists have used those donations to turn idea after idea into brilliantly executed social marketing campaigns.
“EJ and I started this project less than a month ago and it was going to be just a regular art show,” says Sykes. He indicates that the mountain of support from the community led to an avalanche of ideas that he and Nieves have been putting into motion daily. “With immediate support from the community and us consistently bouncing ideas off of each other, our show very quickly evolved into something bigger, better,” adds Sykes.
Just days after procuring some of their larger donations, the duo was able to conduct a series of photo and drone shoots all throughout the city of Ocala with aid from their friends Dave Miller, Jesse James and Tommy Cuevas. And in the past couple weeks, the artists have painted murals at a donated home in Historic downtown Ocala, guest-bartended at a charity event, and decked out the donated food truck with graffiti art and neon lights.
One of those donations, a home in Historic Ocala located at 507 Fort King, was lent to the duo by the Midgett Foundation for the purposes of creating an artistic headquarters for the show. Coined “The Neon House” by Sykes and Nieves, in the month since the show was announced, the artists have hosted a multitude of visitors at the home who have dropped by to lend their support.
If you have visited downtown Ocala in the past few weeks, you have likely seen one of their signature neon-colored shirts or masks donned by the dozens of friends and fans that are contributing to their grass roots campaign. In fact, their bright, neon food truck made a special appearance during Light Up Ocala, much to the delight of those in attendance looking for a great photo op.
It might not be far off to say that the pair, who have spent hundreds of hours working on every element of the show from start to finish, are in the midst of organizing one of the most aggressive and effective guerrilla marketing campaigns in the history of the city of Ocala.
And they have no plans at stopping there. Sykes and Nieves already have drawn up plans for additional shows in the weeks and months following Neon Dreams, including an “After Party” show that will be hosted a week or two after the original show at Hop Stop in the Paddock Mall.
“We don’t just want people to buy our art. We want people to have an experience they will remember way beyond December 6th. Our goal is to create an environment that combines art and music in a way that Ocala has never seen before,” says Sykes.
“We want to inspire the next generation of artist, musicians, and entertainers,” says Nieves.
To show your support for the duo, shout them out on social media using the tags #GrowCala and #WhoaCala. For more information about the artists, their projects, and their passions, visit Teddy Sykes Art or EJ Nieves “N.E.H.S.” gallery. To check out Joel “Just Joel” Downing’s work, visit his website.
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