From the outside, the warehouse off E. Hanna Avenue appears non-descript, tucked off the narrow road a few feet from a set of uneven railroad tracks.
But inside, artist Jason Hulfish is creating mini-wonderlands for kids across Tampa Bay. In one corner of the warehouse, a pink and white Cinderella carriage bed sits, soon to be completed and shipped to Morocco for a client. Across from it is a pirate bed that's still in progress. The projects he creates range in price from $5,000 to $50,000.
Hulfish got his start doing T-shirt designs. That led to murals, then to custom-designed bedrooms, then to two appearances on ABC's "Extreme Makeover."
"I create functional art," he said. "The art is designed as furniture. We can do a full theme of your bedroom or play room. Pretty much if you can think it, I can do it."
We recently talked to Hulfish about what his job entails and the requests he receives from clients.
On how he got his start: "I was doing t shirt design. I did freelance T-shirt design, and then ultimately did airbrushing of T-shirts. That led to doing wall murals. Which led to the full custom design of bedrooms."
How he broke into the custom design market: "I focus on childrens rooms, or themes for commercial spaces. Dentists offices, churches, stuff like that. It's really just one of those things where friends started asking me to do it, and it built on itself."
On his favorite project: "I get asked that favorite question quite a bit. It's like asking your kids which is your favorite. I am always excited for the next project. It's an opportunity to improve your skill. I always try to raise the bar here."
Some of the requests he's received: "In Tampa, the most requested for boys is pirates, or shark underwater themes. For girls, overwhelmingly, it's princess stuff. I am working on a project for a client in Chicago. The girl wants to be a vet, and is into harp seals. It's kind of a masculine concept. I'm going to add different elements, mix it with Styrofoam sculpting. We're doing a playroom that will spill into the bedroom."
To contact Hulfish, call 813-389-6639 or go to www.jfishart.com.