‘Whimsical’ mural of Jupiter map to grace Harbourside wall

Melissa Rinaldi has been a professional artist for four years, and is known for her colorful renditions of maps.

Walking into Go Coastal Studio in Harbourside Place is like stepping into a love letter to Florida.

The bright white walls accentuate the electric pinks, greens and blues of Melissa Rinaldi’s art. Her work highlights what many love about the Sunshine State: its flora, its fauna and the places people call “home.”

Rinaldi, 35, has been operating out of her 118 Coastal Way location for nearly a year. Now, her art is gushing out of the studio and onto the walls of Harbourside.

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Connie Kartell, marketing director of Harbourside, first found out about Rinaldi because of a mistake: Rinaldi had left out the “u” in “Harbourside”on a map of Jupiter. A quick message led to a quick fix, but Kartell was hooked on her pieces.

“It’s so whimsical and bright and fun,” Kartell said of Rinaldi’s art. “It just makes you feel good.”

She then offered a space to the artist in October 2017 where shoe store Marc Joseph New York used to be.

Rinaldi said she has always been artistic, and as a freshman at Flagler College in St. Augustine she explored studying art but decided to pursue a degree in political science. She was a real estate attorney for eight years, helping clients with bankruptcies and foreclosures, before she moved to Jupiter four years ago.

She started selling her pieces online, but as her customer base grew, she became an artist full time.

Flowers, starfish, whales, manatees, sharks, flamingos — Rinaldi has a lot of subjects to paint. Her work is sold in the form of paintings, blankets, shirts, mugs, cards, wallpaper and more.

READ MORE: Headlines around north Palm Beach County

“I wanted to try to do it in a commercial way to appeal to a large audience,” she said.

But by and large, her city maps are the most popular. She starts with an outline from Google Maps and adds landmarks and fun features that represent each place. It’s not just maps of cities in Florida, but of Ireland, Puerto Rico and the Bahamas, too.

On a blank wall next to her studio, Rinaldi was about 16 hours in and halfway complete with her rendition of the map of Jupiter as of Tuesday morning. Palm trees, a great blue heron and a sea turtle were taking shape with “Jupiter, Florida” written in bright pink cursive letters.

“I’ve never been afraid of color,” she said.

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