Keys artist creates Tropical Epoxy ocean-inspired decor

Marathon artist Whitney Simmons’ new passion art promises a fulfilling career. SHANNON PITCHFORD/Keys Weekly

Have you ever been scrolling through social media and come across the countless videos of satisfying epoxy artwork being made? Beautiful colors creating mesmerizing abstract designs, or beach scenes so realistic you can practically hear the calm rush of the waves. This is the world of resin art, and this is the life of Whitney Simmons. 

Simmons began her epoxy journey about a year ago, after being introduced to the world of resin art by a good friend and fellow artist. After that first pour, she immediately fell in love with the craft. Pushed by her desire to learn more, she began watching youtube videos, Googling resources, and learning all she could from other online resin workers while continuing to work as a dental hygienist on Big Pine Key. Ultimately, the coronavirus and the ensuing quarantine provided her with the opportunity to rethink her career path and give her the chance to pursue her newfound passion. 

Funny enough, Simmons’ experience working in dentistry provided her with the general knowledge behind the chemistry that makes epoxy work. “To become a dental hygienist, you’re actually tested on the properties of resins, polymers and bases because we use resin fillings for teeth!” she said, laughing.

Simmons invested in a four-day course to become a certified countertop epoxy artist. The class connected her to a community of other resin artists and mentors who all work with the goal of helping each other. 

“I have not had passion for something like this since I was in high school,” said Simmons. “For me to have this happiness and spark in something, I was like ‘I’m not letting this go. I’m going to turn this into something that I can make a living out of.’” 

This community inspired her to share what she’s learned, whether with future hobbyists or professionals. 

“It’s not about competition because there’s so much work to be done. I’m not worried about other people stealing my ideas. I just want to help those that have the passion and show other people that they can have a good life doing this,” she said.

Simmons offers a variety of smaller custom art pieces such as coasters, ornaments and decorative plates. She also has a range of functional pieces like serving trays, Lazy Susan rotating table tops, countertops, and even cornhole boards. 

Her ultimate business goal is to become a low-cost alternative for Keys homeowners who are in the process of home renovation or business owners looking to freshen their space. “For the people who are refurbishing their homes and/or DIY-ers, I want to be your go-to person,” she said. “I want to help people on a budget because I am also on a budget. That’s my mission.”Simmons said her plans to evolve her business include setting up an Etsy store, finding a carpenter and acquiring more equipment, including cameras and stands to document her work. One of the recent changes is a new business name — previously Epoxy With Moxie, it is now Tropical Epoxy. For more information, email [email protected] or find her on Facebook or Instagram (@epoxywithmoxiedesigns). 

Marathon artist Whitney Simmons’ new passion art promises a fulfilling career. SHANNON PITCHFORD/Keys Weekly
Among the best selling items are coasters with an ocean theme.
The real flowers are embedded in the epoxy design.

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Shannon Pitchford, a sophomore at Florida State University, is an intern with the Marathon Weekly.