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Local Illustrator Uplifts the Community

06/01/2022 12:55 AM By Lisa Anderson
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Maggie Weakley
Maggie Weakley, Photo by Joshua Jacobs
Story Sponsored by Locala in Conjunction with Couch Sessions

Local Illustrator Uplifts the Community Through Freelance & FAFO

The lights dim, Olivia Ortiz introduces the artists for the evening, the music begins to play, and Maggie Weakley begins to paint with the audience watching through the framed piece of glass that is her canvas for the night. “Usually when you paint on glass, you paint from the bottom up. This way you have to paint details first. It’s very different. You really have to pre-plan a lot,” explains Maggie, describing the art piece she created at the August 2019 Couch Sessions.

Maggie had wanted to give the audience a different view. “As an illustrator, you’re always solving problems. I don’t consider myself a fine artist. I consider myself, always, as an illustrator. I thought, ‘What if I paint backwards on glass?’ I did animation for a little while, too, and so you have to paint backwards in animation.” The choice paid off, and the audience watched as Maggie disappeared behind an underwater scene of koi.
Maggie at Couch Sessions
Photo by Meagan Gumpert

The Illustrator's Journey

Born in New Jersey, raised in Spain and Orlando, Florida, Maggie headed off to art school in Columbus, Ohio, where she became best friends with her now husband Kent. She moved to Kansas City, after college, to become the art director for Hallmark’s Shoebox division from 1990 to 1993. “It was such an amazing experience working there. The reason I left was because I got married,” she chuckles.

Maggie joined her new husband in Ohio. He had built a flourishing business, Blue Sky Graphic Communication, and Maggie added her talents to the mix.

The couple knew they wanted to return to Florida, eventually, to be near Maggie’s family. They purchased their dream farm in 1994 but waited to officially move until 1998.
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Maggie started an acrylic collection of pet portraits called Maggie’s Angels. She painted over 500 pet portraits in 20 years, before she decided to take a break and expand her skills to fluid acrylics and resin.

Although she continues to freelance, in 2014, Maggie joined Fine Arts For Ocala (FAFO) as the Administrative Coordinator. “I love FAFO. I really do. It’s a great organization. We do two events a year, and we do them really well.”

FAFO is most famous for the Ocala Arts Festival, which celebrates its 55th anniversary on October 22nd and 23rd. Their annual Mother’s Day celebration, Symphony Under the Stars, took place on May 8th. “The reason FAFO is so successful is literally everything we make, we give it back to the arts in our community.”

Maggie wants to support freelance artists in their business of art, a mission that she shares with FAFO and Couch Sessions.
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Story Sponsored by Locala in Conjunction with Couch Sessions
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