A tour through a field of flowers with a beautiful swing, a walk through the clouds where some force might attempt to drag you to the heavens, or set of angel wings you can adorn to make you look, well, angelic… This might seem like a description of paradise or heaven, but that is not what we are talking about. Although we are talking about a place that can be your heaven or paradise for an hour or two. Or if you prefer, a place that transports you to another dimension, one of three walls, in which you are the rock star.
All the different scenery we have described, however, is not in heaven or another dimension, but right here in Oakland Park where you can create selfie magic on 20 different backgrounds.
In this digital era, every step we take turns into a photo or a video ready to be seen by the world in any of the many social media platforms that exist. If you live in a city where the natural backgrounds are available, like the beach, parks or nature in general, with a little creativity and imagination you can take your pictures to another level. But if these idyllic natural backgrounds are not an option, you might use graffiti walls, a swimming pool or a beautiful tree nearby, but if you go to Oakland Park’s Selfie Museum, one of the most recent additions to Oakland Park’s downtown, you can get it all and a bag of chips in one place.
The idea to build a selfie museum came from the owner Frederick “Tank” Holyfield’s passion for photography. Tank shared with Living In Oakland Park that he was obsessed with taking photos of an ex-girlfriend and that is what got him thinking about opening a business. “Eventually it evolved into ‘What if I had my own studio for photography?’ and that eventually evolved into ‘What if I had my own selfie museum?’. And from there all the pieces fell into place”, Tank explains.
Tank found the perfect location in the heart of Oakland Park, a city which, in an interview, he confesses he loves to hang out in. Once he had his storefront he got to work building different backgrounds. It took 9 months of hard work and constant experimenting with ideas to get it just right : “Initially the idea was to make this place into sort of a maze, but in the end it flowed better as more of an open space”.
As for the backgrounds, he had all sorts of ideas, but not all of them became a reality. Tank describes his creative process : “I had an idea for a wall of colorful spikes mixed with LED lights that looked crazy! But I wanted to have an installation that more people could relate with and that wall became the comic book wall. And, honestly, it was one of my favorite walls to build!”, says Tank.
During the build out, Tank had lots of help making selfie museum come to life. “I had a tremendous amount of help from friends and family from workshopping ideas to painting walls, I could not have done this without my support team”, he admits.
Such help and collaboration paid off. One of the most popular ideas came from his friend Will, who thought there was a lot of extra space in the area of the speaker wall and suggested Tank to get some records and throw them up there, “so I did, and now I have a really popular music corner that I’m very proud of”.
The Oakland Park Selfie Museum has over 20 unique backgrounds. There is really something for everyone. Tank adds that “there are also different light settings in the studio, from high lights to stage lights, ring lights to no lights. Each affects the atmosphere and gives a chance to take multiple unique photos in the same spot”.
Different ages have different tastes, but some backgrounds seem to please everyone, like the tub room and the cloud wall. “The tub room just speaks to peoples childhood and allows them to let go and be silly. The cloud wall is never the same, the colors constantly change and allows for a unique and captivating photo experience that everyone seems to enjoy. It looks as if you are entering a portal into a new dimension”.
Each background has its own unique feel but it also has Tank and his partners blood, sweat and tears. To build each background Tank and his business partner, Mariya Cherniavska, looked for items in thrift stores, online and even made some at home. It was Mariya’s inspiration that built the Ukranian wing all. Since both Tank and Mariya are artists this was an outlet that allowed for them to express their creative talents in unique ways.
With all the structural work done, and the doors open now they are just getting a feel of what everyone likes the most and eventually they will change the walls that aren’t as captivating and revamp them with fun new ideas.
Although it’s not the only selfie museum in South Florida, it’s the only one in the region. “We are here to make sure you don’t have to travel far for a fun photography experience!”, Tank says. If you’re wondering, the closest selfie museums in Florida are located in Miami and Tampa.
Tank and Mariya visited other selfie museums for inspiration and to learn about the best way to build out the space. In the end, Tank affirms, “the only thing we took from them is the understanding that the walls were too short. All of our walls are 10 feet high, so that anyone can comfortably be in frame!”.
Speaking of walls, the need to decorate them created opportunities for him to work with other artists in South Florida. “We gave them a wall, and told them they have full creative freedom and what they came up with added unique and fun installations that fit with the vision of the space”.
Onyx created the Bones and Butterflied background and Serum305, painted the tribute to Egyptian Queen Nefertiti. Both walls are pictured below next to Teddy, who is famous in his own right with people coming as far as Atlanta to take photographs with him!
It has been a little over a month since Tank opened his doors and so far the Oakland Park Selfie Museum has had nothing but fantastic reviews. Tank hoped his business would have a good acceptance, but he never thought it would be such an instant hit. Proudly he mentions: “People are saying they can’t believe how much is in this space. The ideas for the walls are unique and the photos that have been taken here are spectacular. From photoshoots to just coming in to take selfies people have been very happy to find our little slice of photography heaven”.
The prices are also inviting. At just $27, visitors can spend an hour in the studio getting all the selfies, videos, photos they want for all their social media needs. There are special prices for shutting down the studio for private events, as well as private photoshoots. And your fur friend is also welcome for an extra $10!
Besides the backgrounds themselves, the team also put a lot of efforts into creating a business accessible to everyone in the community. “This space was built by locals and has a homemade vibe to it that sets it apart from all other Selfie museums that people can enjoy for years to come!”, Tank shares proudly.
You can find pictures taken at the selfie museum on Instagram and information about it at its official website, but the ideal thing is for you to come in for yourself to create your own selfie magic. When you do, don’t forget to tell Tank that Living In Oakland Park sent you 😉 and don’t forget to tag your selfies with the hashtags #OaklandParkSelfieMuseum, #LivingInOaklandPark and #TogetherWeAreOP.
The Oakland Park Selfie Museum located at 1101 NE 34th Ct., Oakland Park FL 33334.
EDITOR, PUBLISHER, WRITER, PHOTOGRAPHER, REALTOR®
Désirée Ávila has called Oakland Park her home for over 33 years. In addition to publishing LivingInOaklandPark.com, Désirée has been featured in print publications, locally and abroad. Désirée was an award winning teacher for 10 years and has a doctoral level education in Educational Technology. She is currently a licensed Florida Realtor® and is committed to a high-level of professionalism.
Désirée consistently professionally develops herself and has earned several different professional designations and certifications in real estate including the PSA, e-Pro, AHWD, SRS, ABR, and SFR. She was also awarded the C2EX, Commitment to Excellence award by the National Association for Realtors (NAR). This award is given to Realtors® that distinguish themselves for their commitment to excellence in the real estate industry.
She is esteemed by her real estate colleagues and has consistently received 5 star reviews from her clients. Her philosophy about real estate is that being a Realtor® is a way of teaching and helping people, and in the process a real estate transaction may occur, that is to say her foremost priority is and has always been about helping others.
She is dedicated to her hometown of Oakland Park and works consistently on building and fostering a strong community. She is passionate about photography and loves to read books about history ; the more detail the better! In addition to English, Désirée is fluent in Portuguese, Spanish, French and Italian.
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