Beauty and Talent on the Central Coast

Does anyone else feel like they are stuck in slow motion? Over the past few months, for levity’s sake, let’s call it a “staycation,” many of us have slowed our pace from hare to tortoise pace, due to loss of jobs, clients, and sheltering at home.

Undeniably, the ramifications of this trying time are tragic.  In my slowed pace, I have had time to think, to ponder.  Not just manage the endless gush of thought and to-do lists that typically permeate my existence.

Indeed, every dark cloud has a bright spot.

Time is a gift—a gift to discover. On the Central Coast, we know about the beautiful beaches, scenic mountainsides and literally thousands of notable restaurants, wineries, and wine bars in Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo County.   We also have incredible artisans on the Central Coast.

Keys 2 the Coast did an artisan contest, and three pretty amazing winners were selected.

Melissa Bagley – Capturing the Beauty of Women

Melissa Bagley was chosen for her eye-catching photography.  She has a talent and a special gift of using her camera to capture the essence of a woman’s beauty in her photos.

At the beginning of her business, a client remarked to Melissa, “I love the way you see me.”  Melissa assumed that all the women she photographed saw themselves as she saw them, as beautiful and timeless. Since then, she made it her goal to use fine art portrait photography to show women the beauty they possess and capture it like a Genie in a Bottle for all to see and admire. Every portrait tells a story.

Melissa believes the beauty she sees in the people she meets has inspired her talent. Melissa has always found that women are pretty fantastic photography subjects. Over the last 25 years, she has had the honor of photographing so many multi-talented, kind, strong and generous women  of all ages.

Melissa also enjoys photographing flowers and has created a new line of exquisite, fine art wall decor and greeting cards called “La Lita è Bella” (Italian for Life is Beautiful).

Working with flowers has taught her that, just like people, they have unique personalities and so much beauty to share.  To see more of her photography and her online shop, please visit


Shayne Mastriano – The Fire Dancer Extraordinaire

Did you know that we have an expert in the ancient art of fire dancing right here on the Central Coast? Fire dancing began in Polynesia hundreds of years ago.  Shayne Mastriano is an uber-talented entertainer. He has brought a new spin to the art of fire performance. Shayne’s modern fire shows push the envelope in entertainment.

Shayne started “Ignite Fire Dance” in 2013, after training shortly under the first fire dancer to ever perform for Cirque Du Soleil. Since then, he has performed as a “Half Time” performer for the San Francisco 49ers and performed at corporate events alongside Red Bull.

Shayne is currently developing and collecting a team of professional fire dancers, fire breathers and variety acts for entertaining special events on the Central Coast. Using an emphasis on talent, unique flame effects and impressive amounts of fire, have even landed his business in music videos like one for famous rapper “French Montana” or as opening acts for Sammy Hagar. You might even recognize them from their involvement in the world record-breaking, “fire breathing staircase” viral video, featured on ChiveTV and Tosh.O.

Shayne is an all-around great guy. Ultimately, it is his passion for inspiring others to realize and follow what they love, whether it is through shedding light on fire arts, invoking happiness in an audience member, or providing a stage to support local working performers that motivates him.  For more information, go to

Alice Murphy – Fine Art, One Pencil Stroke at a Time

Alice Murphy is the third Keys 2 the Coast artisan contest winner.   She has made the Santa Ynez Valley her home and is an up-and-coming, commission-based fine artist. Drawing horses is something she especially loves. As a child, Alice loved riding her pony around the Hampshire countryside.

In 2017 Alice began working with pencils for the first time. She found working with pencils curbed her true impatient nature, as they are a very slow, highly-detailed medium. Around this time, she started to take commissions from friends and family and everyone was blown away by her work. In 2018, she was juried into the prestigious Gallery Los Olivos in Santa Ynez Valley. Art on display at the gallery and subsequent exhibitions gave Alice the confidence she needed to become a full-time professional artist.

Alice now takes on portrait commissions of people’s pets and animals locally, on the East Coast and abroad. She aims to combine pet portraiture with fine art, so that her clients don’t just have a picture of a treasured companion, but also a piece of fine art. Alice’s work serves as an investment for the future and an heirloom for the family.

Alice is held in high regard and has exhibited through The Gallery Los Olivos and other boutiques around The Santa Ynez Valley, with a permanent collection for viewing and purchasing at Ranch-N-Back. She has also exhibited nationally for the American Academy of Equine Art and Fusion Art.

Alice is open for commissions now and can be reached via Instagram or Facebook. Search for @alicejmurpyhart or through her website

I truly enjoyed getting to know these three wonderful local artisans. I hope their stories inspire you. Take this time to explore what feeds your heart and soul.  Discover your gifts and enjoy the treasures around you that makes your heart beat a little faster. Stay in the race. Notice the beauty and we will cross the finish line together.

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