Atlanta Braves Mermaid Commission

Venice Art Center "FantaSea Venice" 
Public Art Project

The Venice, Florida Art Center's popular, fiberglas sculpture art project and fund-raiser is making a big splash this year with custom made, one-of-a-kind mermaids and seahorses. The figures are adorned by the most talented artists in the region. Sponsors selected from a plethora artist concepts and design proposals. Artist were paid $700 to paint and otherwise embellish the figures.

My original submission was for a seahorse, in circus carousel style, to honor the areas  Ringling Bros. circus heritage. 

Coincidently, I was in the process of designing Tropical Mandala Journal when the call-to-artists from the Venice Art Center was advertised. Cowgirl Mermaids, Seahorses, Neptune and Octopus images were in my head at the time, so the thought of painting a Seahorse or Mermaid was very appealing.  Tropical Mandala Journal. 

Inspired by the 40's pin-ups, Cowgirl Mermaid is one of 25 images featured in Tropical Mandala Journal, Designed and illustrated by David K. Griffin 

The folks at the new Atlanta Braves, CoolPark Today spring training facility in North Port, Florida chose my design skills for their sponsored mermaid. I arrived at our initial meeting with design in hand.   

I made a quick sketch in Adobe Illustrator and brought colored pencils to the meeting to further develop ideas at the meeting. 

My concept included baseballs that would somehow need to be added to the coral base. More about that to come. 

I helped deliver sculptures to local artists' studios and homes - most were within a 5 mile drive of the Art Center. The sculptures are hollow, they don't weigh too much, but the mermaids are bulky and difficult for one person to carry. It was cool meeting some of the artists and seeing where they work. 

It's important to clean the sculptures before work begins. I worked outside under a tiki hut on mine. Although the structure protected her from the sun and rain - only constant cleaning could remove the pollen and dust.

Acrylic paint is the recommended as the preferred medium. I used both paint brushes and an airbrush. 

I gave her red hair, too compliment her green body. Gold highlights and rich, warm red tones were hand-painted and airbrushed. 

Still in the early stages of creation, the Diamond of the Sea mermaid and I stop for a selfie. Notice her facial features are vaguely defined at this point. The realization that the face is going to be the biggest challenge hits me. I continue to fiddle with the details up to the last minute. 

Blooper and the Atlanta Braves film crew came by for a visit and to check out my progress. I'm holding the glitter and brush that Blooper used to help me with Diamonds scales. 


Resin putty was applied to fiberglas surface to give a 3 dimensional look to threads on a baseball. Details like this elevate the piece and add interest. 

The Braves logo was hand-drawn and hand-painted without stencils. 
Masking tape and cellophane protect the hair while I airbrush blue tones.

I drew this stencil on the computer, printed it on sticker material, and hand-cut the shapes. I used white paint to airbrush dimension into my graphic splashes.Transparent paint application and hand-painted highlights give a surreal splash to the piece.

Two-part resin putty is malleable, for a short period of time, so you need to work fast - it dries rock-hard and adheres really well to the prepared surface. It's important to clean, sand, scrape and otherwise rough up the surface so that the putty and fiberglas integrate. 

I found half cut leather and real thread baseballs online.

Half-cut, real baseballs were glued using marine quality epoxy. Drops were formed using epoxy putty and hand-painted. Turquoise glitter added a glowing affect.


Hit out of the park and over the bay - a home run flying baseball completes the theme. I painted one of my classic sunset scenes on the back of the baseball starfish and at the last moment decided to add the flying baseball.

I used the airbrush and hand-painting techniques with acrylic paint. The "Diamond of the Sea" type was designed on the computer, printed on sticky label paper and hand cut. Color was sprayed on using the airbrush.

Purple and gold glitter makeup, and pouty pink lips, give Diamond a dramatic look. I had to mask off her hair in order to airbrush subtle blue and yellow tones on her face for modeling.

Painting her face is a challenge - it's similar to portrait painting but the dimensionality of the sculpture adds to the difficulty. I used Pinterest to study eye make-up before settling on the high eyebrows and glitter. 


It's important to consider every angle when painting a 3-dimensional sculpture. Here you can see the baseball and sunset scene from the side. Notice the soft edge where the two merge.

Diamond is sporting a red stripe inspired by the Braves uniforms. Her pink and yellow tail contrasts nicely with the blue on blue background. 

Using epoxy putty, I modeled sharks teeth and stuck them around the base. Venice, Florida is famous for finding these prehistoric treasures on the beaches.

Look for Diamond and her friends in the streets, lobbies and businesses throughout downtown Venice and in the surrounding area. She will be auctioned off after 2 years on the streets. Stay tuned, friends - David

- fini -


For more information on this project or to make a comment please contact David at:



Commissions welcome!


  • Great job brother. Loved watching you thru the process of creating a beauty.

    Karen Hall
  • It was so much fun to watch this in progress, and see how great she came out. You did a fantastic job and I can’t wait to see where she will be staying for the next two years.

    Nancy Eaton
  • We just love all the details. She looks great.


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