Saturday, March 24, 2012

Field Trip: Hong Kong Willie's

The past few days, my husband and I visited Tampa, Florida. We stopped by a few places of interest using our Roadside America app for our iPhones. One of those places was Hong Kong Willie's, near USF/Busch Gardens. Take a look:

Hong Kong Willie's as seen from the driveway
Driving up to this place is such a treat, since it's near a Bob Evans and the highway. It's a random house crammed with lots of buoys everywhere. The colors are very pretty pinks, blues, turquoises, reds, and yellows. We walked around the property for a while before calling up the owner.

The buoy tree is visible from I-75 S going into Tampa. 

Near the buoy tree is this helicopter.

Lots of cute little knick-knacks like this glitter goose were trickled around the property.

The sides of the building were adorned with tons of stuff!

This penguin used to sit on top of the house!

We called them and they opened this garage up for us. It was crammed with beautiful artwork and handmade bags. Photography was unfortunately not allowed inside.
 The lady who met us outside is named Kim, and she is married to the original Hong Kong Willie. She explained that her, her husband, and her son have, over time, adopted the role of "Hong Kong Willie" so the name applies to all three of them nowadays.

According to this blog, Hong Kong Willie was a nickname given to a young Joe Brown while he was at an at class. His teacher explained that in Hong Kong, reusing materials to make art was common, and she showed Joe how a Gerber bottle could be made into art. This sparked his legacy, adopting the name "Hong Kong Willie" and creating recycled art pieces.

When I-75 was built, Joe purchased his current piece of property. It was transformed into his home and studio. Local Floridians know the Browns as the people who provide some of the best redworms for composting around.

However, Kim, Hong Kong Willie's wife, let me take this photo of her inside of the garage.

If you'd like to visit Hong Kong Willie, please visit their website or Yelp. They also sell their handmade bags and artwork on Etsy. Learn more about Hong Kong Willie here! If you're in the Tampa area, you don't want to miss this!


  1. Thank you for the article, and spending your precious time. Thanks joe of Hongkongwillie.

  2. If I had a house and property, that is what it would look like. I love stuff like this thanks for sharing!

  3. Hongkongwillie Florida Famous Recycling Artist on WEIRD FLORIDA: ROADS LESS TRAVELED , It all started on a city Dump in Tampa