This time, Lakeland welcomes art attack

- David Collins sees the world as his palette.  His latest work is painted on a massive oak in Munn Park in downtown Lakeland.

"It's about getting your art seen," Collins told FOX 13 this week.

Collins says if his work hung in a local museum, a few hundred people would see it. If he paints it outside wherever the mood strikes him, thousands will probably see it.

The giraffe is getting a lot of second looks and comments.

"This is fantastic to have something like this," said Beth Landers, a Lakeland resident.

"It's beautiful," added Joanne Garry. "I feel like I'm in Africa."

This is not Collins' first art attack. He began creating unauthorized public art projects in downtown Lakeland several years ago after the city told him he couldn't paint a mural on the back of a building he owned.

He went a bit rogue.     

He painted images on trees, stumps, and just about anywhere he thought needed to be brightened up. He and his cohort of creative souls even wrapped dozens of lampposts and painted them over night.

At first, the city would pressure wash his art away as soon as possible.  Then, over time, his work became a real talker. People snap photos and tweet about it. The city, especially the Downtown Development Authority realized his work was drawing people to the city.

"People come down and it makes them happy," said Julie Townsend, who heads up the DDA.

If you want to see more of Collins' work, go to www.blueridgepaintings.com.

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