About Bahia Studios

After studying Fine Art in Newcastle England, Harriet Monzon-Aguirre relocated to the Tampa Bay region, where she pursued a career in office administration and marketing. In 2021, she opened Bahia Studios in Safety Harbor after receiving several commissions for her true passion - painting. Harriet finds inspiration in her local surroundings at the Harbor including the serene water and the tropical flora.

Full Artist Statement

You could split my artistic career into three chapters thus far. For the first chapter picture a young and enthusiastic artist selling paintings of tropical flora in several art galleries on the island where I grew up, Barbados. The second chapter would be an academic one with series produced while I studied for my Master of Fine Arts Degree in Newcastle. Born in England, my artistic practice at that time channelled my interest in cultural studies as I examined my own experience of (un)belonging.

Mixed media was a way of coming to terms with my understanding of national identity. For this series I referenced Victorian botanical illustrators such as Marianne North for use of colour and subject matter, as well as the works of British illustrator Aubrey Beardsley and textile designer William Morris. The Master Degree culminated in an installation called 'Contrapuntal' showcasing hand-painted guache on screen-printed free-standing walls.

After putting my brushes down for a long period of time, I am now committed to the third chapter of my artistic career. I work from my home studio in Safety Harbor, Florida. I am the mother of three creative children and enjoy the challenges of work-life balance. My work explores the layers of colour in nature, using sea and landscapes as subject matter and am influenced by the vibrancy and colour of Harbor life. My style usually airs on the side of impressionist rather than realist. I also love to explore additional media including lino printmaking and ceramics.