Who Am I
My name is Jason Harvin and I'm the owner of Wayward Walls, LLC. Over the years I've come to find a deep passion for space transformation through art & painting, specifically, geometric dominate design. Whether a room in your home, a mural in your business or art gallery installations, all spaces deserve to be uniquely designed. Seeing people's positive reactions to their newly designed walls is the most rewarding feelings so its deeply humbling to be the catalyst for that transformation. I've written more about my story below. Thanks for stopping by!
Born and raised in Germany while my parents served in the US Air Force and worked for the US Government, I was your typical military brat. While my parents were extremely supportive of my sister and I's creative outlets, we were steered the more traditional route in regards to life. Painting and art to us was the same as it was for most kids, a class where you amateurishly painted random things to take home to your parents to show them. The ultimate plan was go to college, get good grades, get a good job, then work there until you retire. Artistic endeavors were always put in the extracurricular box and never something we were encouraged to pursue as a primary form of employment. So I did just that.
After graduating Heidelberg American High School in 2004 from Heidelberg Germany I moved to Orlando Florida to attend the University of Central Florida (UCF) majoring in Hospitality Management. In 2008 I graduated from UCF and soon after got a job training and installing (and later managing) hotel software across North America for Oracle Corp. (MICROS Systems at the time) for the next 13yrs. During this time I moved from Orlando to the Tampa area and purchased my first home. After years of living in dorms, apartments and shared houses with roommates where you don't have the permission to paint the walls I was excited to own my own home and have the freedom to do what I wanted. Little did I know at the time that this freedom and eagerness to paint my home would change the course of my entire life.
In 2018 After years of watching home improvement TV shows on networks like DIY and HGTV with my girlfriend at the time (now fiance) I was excited to venture into the DIY world and paint a little. After going from room to room in my house painting accent and design walls centered around painters tape placement my neighbors caught wind, liked what I was doing and started to ask me to paint the walls in their own homes. Around this time I was also curious to see what it took to run a small business so naturally I decided to turn this newfound painting hobby into an LLC. Wayward Walls, LLC was born in September 2019 as a standard painting company, however, had a focus on accent/design/feature walls. From one neighbors house to the next my business grew organically through a combination of word of mouth, strong social media presence and creative marketing. Then March 2020 came and the coronavirus pandemic changed everything.
Early on in the pandemic I recognized a unique opportunity for my fledgling business to continue to grow despite many businesses struggling during this time. Recognizing that people would be spending much more time at home through remote work, remote school and overall social distancing, I thought it could be an excellent time to bring peoples attention to their blank walls and what I could do for them. The pitch was simple. You and your kids sit on Zoom sessions all day, why not have a unique Zoom background that distinguishes you from the crowd so you stand out to your employer or teacher? and "Zoom Walls" were born. With almost no slowdown in business I spent the majority of 2020 and 2021 selling "Zoom Walls" to clients who were now anchored at home for their jobs and schools. Throughout this time I began to also take on small businesses, I was invited to be one of the artists to participate in the Black Lives Matter mural in St. Petersburg Florida and then ultimately as an artist in the prestigious annual SHINE mural festival in 2021.
While high up on a lift painting during the SHINE mural festival in October 2021 a group of people came by and got our attention. Seeing that the group had a few professional cameras I nonchalantly assumed they were another news crew making their way around the mural festival to catch artists in action. The group was actually the production company responsible for filming HGTV's 100 Day Dream Home with Mika & Brian Kleinschmidt. They were blown away by the size of the wall we were painting at the time and were drawn enough to the geometric abstract style of my art that they commissioned me on the spot to paint a piece for one of the homes they were working on in the area. We finish painting for SHINE, and I return back to my job at Oracle with painting still as my "side hustle." After years of being unhappy in my career I began to look at the possibility of turning Wayward Walls into my full time business so began to map out what that would take.
2022 came around, business was still very steady, however, I began to be overwhelmed in my situation with both jobs. I was "burning the candle at both ends". Generally, I would wake up each day around 5:00am, grab some water and coffee then handle all of my tasks for Oracle until around 8:00am. I'd draft full emails with all the necessary attachments then stagger them to send throughout the day making it appear as if I was actively at my desk the entire day. Then I'd go paint for my clients and throughout the day manage any emails or calls on my phone actively on a paint job. Some of my paint clients at the time didn't know I had a second job and on the flip-side, some of my Oracle colleagues didn't know I painted lol. There were times I was 20ft up on scaffolding painting a wall while fully hosting project kick-off calls for Oracle. It got hectic to say the least so at the end of March 2022 I quit my longtime career to paint forever!
That following month, April 2022, the commission I did for Mika & Brian's episode of HGTV's 100 Day Dream Home aired and I got just enough boost in business that I was comfortably looking forward to being able to work for myself full-time. While painting walls for my typical clientele, I was approached by the people at The Factory St. Pete to pilot their "Artist in Residence" program. To make a long story short, the residency morphed into something unexpected and between the months of July and November I ended up creating a full on event space/art gallery in an area of the Factory that was unusable. "Wayworld," the name of the newfound gallery quickly became a hit in the Warehouse Arts District of St. Pete hosting many events from World Cup viewing parties, to solo & group art shows, dance parties and more.
Wayworld was used to host a New Years Eve celebration where I was surrounded by 200 people counting down to bring in 2023 together. To see so many people enjoying a space I created over the course of 4 months of my life was surreal. With my painting journey still only 4 years old I'm excited to see what 2023 brings to Wayward Walls.
At home, I am surrounded every day by the love of Vera Herrera, my absolute best friend and fiance, where we are parents to an 8yr old rescue cat named Zooey. With Vera being a longtime artist herself our home isn't short of creative freedom. I'm super thankful to have her to use as my "art encyclopedia" for knowledge I didn't get at the art school I didn't attend lol! Thanks so much for taking the time to read my story. I hope its inspired you just a little to never stop working hard for what you believe in!