“The master of abstraction has died. Our friend Yalanda has died from a car accident.”
- Ian W., Creative Clay Member Artist
Creative Clay’s member artists and staff mourn the loss of beloved member artist Yalanda Speights. Yalanda was injured in a Nov. 24, 2018 automobile accident and died Dec. 1 at Bayfront Medical Center.
Yalanda’s smile and bright spirit were steady and pleasantly predicable presences in Creative Clay’s Community Arts Program for 16 years. Her broad-stroked colorful circles transformed blank canvasses and wood blocks into iconic and easily recognizable art that was desired by collectors throughout Tampa Bay.
Yalanda was a featured artist throughout the years in Creative Clay’s Good Folk Gallery exhibits. Her preferred tools were colored pencils and watercolor, but she also dabbled in acrylics. She preferred the never-ending shape of the circle as her subject, but to watch her transform a simple object into impactful art was to witness “sophisticated elegance,” an often-indescribable energy and soulfulness.
The emotions evoked on her canvasses resonated with fellow member artists who were also her friends. Tears and astonishment were the companions to the fitting memories that were shared through stories told and expressions of art that were created in Yalanda’s memory.
“I know her; she’s a good person,” said Lindsay J. “She’s up there… in a better place.”
“She was so nice,” said Robin L.
“She always did really nice paintings, and she had a really nice laugh,” said Sheryl L.
Yalanda’s goal was to land a one-person show and sell more of her art, but her work is an enduring gift to the community. One of her large-scale pieces adorns a wall at University of South Florida’s St. Petersburg Campus. Two of her pieces, with colors as bright as the blinding beach sun, greet hotel guests at the Postcard Inn in St. Pete Beach.
It is said that the meaning of the circle symbol is universal, sacred and divine. It represents the infinite nature of energy and the inclusivity of the universe. Creative Clay’s vision is one of inclusivity, with a mission of creating arts accessibility for all. Yalanda’s repetitive chosen subject of the circle will forever be a reminder to Creative Clay, the community and her family of our perpetual goal of inclusivity for all. We will be forever grateful for the gift of Yalanda and her message of inclusivity through her art.Yalanda is best known for her beautiful emotional layered paintings. With a sophisticated elegance, Yalanda’s lines have an energy and soulfulness that is difficult to describe. She is a prolific artist and has filled numerous sketchbooks with her drawings. Some of Yalanda’s goals are to land a one-person show locally and to make more gallery sales.