World-renowned tile artist inspired by beauty of Bay Area

- Elle Terry Leonard is a tile artist. Her hand-crafted murals can be seen in high-priced homes and public spaces across the country.

But her story is more about freedom and the journey to personal fulfillment.

Elle gets her inspiration from life here in the Bay Area.

"St. Pete has so much going on and it's so young and there's so much creative energy here. It's been wonderful to see the renaissance of this city," she explained.

But it wasn't always this way. Her journey started some years ago at the Ringling College of Art and Design, where she faced a crossroad.

She could continue her studies, or take a chance working with tile. Her decision to follow her passion is one that set the course for her entire life.

But there were struggles along the way.

"I think as an artist you have to understand that you may hit some poverty. It's not always going to be rolling," Elle said. "I've been fortunate I've been able to sell a lot of work and have not had to have a regular job."

It's also worked out for Tampa Tile, where Elle's work is showcased.

Owner Jerry DiFabrizio said, "There's a lot of ceramic artists but very few do tile. It's rare to find someone who specializes in tile. So it was that aspect of Elle's work that drew me to her."

Living a life filled with triumphs and challenges, Elle hopes her story can inspire others.

"I would say to anyone, if you have a passion, follow that passion. That's the most important thing in life," she explained.

To see more of Elle's work visit http://www.elleterryleonard.com/

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