By S. Mathur at Florida State Homes
You may have walked past their Ripples of Life installation at the Florida Aquarium in Tampa or marveled at the towering Vertical Hum abstract structure at Metro Development in Rocky River. MGA Sculpture Studio has been around for more than 20 years, with 12 of those years in St. Petersburg and contributed to its public art as well as interior architectural decorations, installations and displays. The studio works in various materials, including glass, metal, wood and fiberglass. Owner Mark Aeling's work is widely recognized nationally and internationally and was included in the Stone Sculpture Triennale 2012, which took place in Japan.
"MGA is primarily a commission driven sculpture studio," Aeling said, "I have a showroom that displays past work and samples of materials. This is helpful when talking through the creative process."
The sculpture can be designed for a space or an idea, and the studio will work with the client to produce the final piece. Aeling picks the material for a project based on the subject.
"Generally I would say that I like to work with whatever material best solves the challenges of the project at hand," he said, "I make a lot of site specific work that is commissioned. Often times I'm working with Developers, Architects or on public art commissions."
Over 20 years, as his career had evolved, he finds that the process of choosing a sculpture to suit the space has changed. Earlier, clients would tell him the idea they had in mind and they would work together to achieve that vision. Now Aeling finds that clients come to him with space and ask him what would be suitable. The final result is still the product of collaboration, which Aeling finds a very satisfying way to work.
The studio's portfolio covers a wide range, from public art and monuments to small projects, reliefs and architectural ornaments. Clients have included a wide range of public buildings from schools, academies and hospitals to zoos and aquariums to corporate buildings. MGA sculptures can be seen at Discovery Park, the Colorado Symphony, Six Flags and other diverse locations.
Aeling has been a pioneering force in the St. Petersburg art community. He also co-owns the Soft Water Studios, which has space for a gallery and special events.
"This would allow us to show our work as well as the artists who rented the other portions of the space," Aeling said, "We also bring in artists from around the community and around the country. Soft Water became the 'model home' so to speak for the ArtsXchange project developed by the Warehouse Arts District Association of which I'm the Board President."