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1959 in America was the peak of bat-winged, fin-bearing Plymouths, Dodges and Chryslers. It was a year of crew cuts and Monroe-esque hairstyles made popular in movies such as “Some Like it Hot.”
It was the last year anyone would ever see Buddy Holly perform songs like “Peggy Sue” live on stage. A gallon of gas could be purchased for a quarter. The average home could be bought for about $12,000. Alaska became the 49th state, and, on the other side of the world, Communist Russia was busy launching Mechta, also known as Luna 1, which flew by the moon.
1959 was also the year that Cedar Key’s Honeymoon Cottage was built, said Perdido Key artist Tony Krysinsky last week.
The structure, now dilapidated and perched precariously upon stilts just a few yards from shore, has become an icon for the tiny fishing hamlet and the thousands of visitors who come each year.
“We’re used to seeing this thing in ruins,” Krysinsky said,” but it used to not be that way.”
And it was that idea that Krysinsky focused on when creating a poster entry for a contest for the promotion of the 2014 Old Florida Celebration of the Arts festival in Cedar Key.
“I wanted to do a kind of time capsule kind of piece,” he said about his work “Honeymoon Cottage 1959,” which won this year’s contest and will be used in posters, post cards and T-shirts.
The piece, carved in wood and painted, depicts a late 50s romanticized version of the cottage, standing tall and bright pink with a TV Antennae on the roof, the hint of a Russian satellite in the night sky, leaping dolphins and a forward-sweeping boat so characteristic of the look of things during that era.
“I thought that would sort of strike a note with folks,” he said.
Krysinsky, who works as a full-time artist selling his work at various shows in coastal communities around the country, has been coming and showing his work in Cedar Key for years.
“We just really enjoy Cedar Key,” he said of himself and his family. “In the few years we’ve been coming here, we’ve met a lot of nice people. We’ve grown to have a connection.”
Krysinky’s work is loaded with color and energy, often containing “tribal, aboriginal or primitive” elements of design. He said he draws a lot of inspiration from years he spent absorbing the colors, sounds and movements of New Orleans.
“There’s all kinds of influences in there,” he said. “When I design a piece, I think about the things people enjoy, the places they like to be or the things they like to do.”