Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Coconut Grove Peacock Tour Launch is this Saturday... May 29th from 5 pm to 11 pm. Great chance to meet your local artists!

On Saturday, not only will you get to meet the artists who created the peacocks for the Coconut Grove Peacock Tour like Cara Nusinov, Eileen Seitz and Sauma (featured above) and see their beautifully painted peacocks, you will also get to enjoy a tropical evening under the stars with fabulous music by Fire Brigade, dancing with DJ Boogieman George, delicious food from Potions in Motion and The Fresh Market and yes... of course, refreshing drinks.

Last month, I worked in a shared studio to create a peacock in Coconut Grove, Florida much like the Chicago Cow Parade for my sponsor: The Fresh Market. After my peacock has a six month stay in front of their store, it will be up for auction to benefit Shake-A-Leg. Many other charities will also benefit from the peacock tour headed by Heather Bettner of Prince Media Development (featured above next to me). So, if you have a space for a five foot sculpture, here's your chance to support local art and help a charity all while beautifying your space. I will post the auction date and details at a later date...

The best part of the peacock tour has been all the wonderful artists and people I had a chance to meet while working in our shared studio at the Shoppes of Mayfair which would have otherwise been another vacant retail space. Here are just a few of the artists I was lucky enough to work beside...

Eileen Seitz, who is well known in Coconut Grove for her exquisite tropical watercolor paintings helped out by painting not one, but two peacocks.

Sauma, who not only is a magnificent painter he is currently organizing the Gables Hispanic Cultural Festival coming this September 25th which will feature many Hispanic artists.

Andrea Karahalios Ruggeri, who travels the world to paint intricate, elegant murals, painted her peacock for the Hampton Inn.

And, Dan Bondoff who usually works in pastels featuring charming landscapes and cityscapes worked in oils to created his peacock for Shell Lumber were just a few of the artists I got to know while we worked side by side.

To allow artists to use vacant retail space is good business for everyone. People love to see artists while they are working and just by painting together in the same space we attracted many visitors and tourists. When the doors were locked people were banging on the doors to get in! I hope that other communities and businesses realize just how much art can revitalize vacant storefronts while providing a much needed outlet and studio space for local artists.

Most of us are now well aware of how important it is to buy local food as a way of reducing our carbon footprint. The next step, at a local level, is to know your neighborhood artists and support art in your community as a green initiative. Plus, when you know an artist personally the art becomes even more of an enriched experience when you get the chance to talk to the artist about their work and why they created it. I have met a lot of the artists on the peacock tour and I can assure you that they are all very approachable, welcoming and would love to talk to you Saturday night. Hope to see you there!

Please follow my blog to learn more about local artists...

Friday, May 21, 2010

Sometimes you need to reinvent the wheel or in this case the rubber band...

About three years ago, I came across bright colored animal shape rubber bands. I thought they were fabulous and quickly brought them to my office to see how our clients could use them to promote themselves. I was thinking of all sorts of ways to use them, but everyone at my office said, "sure they are cute, but so what it's still just a rubber band". So, I brought them back home and stuffed them in my drawer with all the other sketchbooks I fill with all my ideas and there they sat until last week.

Last week, my 9 year-old son asked where the animal rubber band were. There were only a few left, so I gave them to him. He told me all the kids were wearing them and trading them at school. Now they were available in all sorts of shapes, colors, and some even glowed in the dark and had scents! When my son told all his friends that the animal shaped rubber band had been in his house for years, none of his friends believed him so I decided to find out more about the designers and where they originated.

The first animal rubber bands were designed by Y. Ohashi and M. Haneda in Tokyo Japan who established a design firm called Passkey Design. in 2002. The reason they came up with the animal rubber bands was to keep people from throwing away a rubber band after a one time use. They though if people became attached to the rubber bands they were less likely to throw it away... brilliant!

Featured above in the center (turtle and pig), are the rubber bands I originally purchased in 2007 they came in a box along with with a ducks, cats, dogs, and rabbits. They were the second round of shape designs, the first being zoo animals. However, they were much smaller then the rubber bands now selling that nicely fit around a wrist.

I am so glad to see that the stores can't keep these items on the shelf. Proving that there is always a market for good design. So happy it has green intentions...

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Wynwood Art Walk in May

Last night I was so happy to see that there still is a good crowd of people going to the Wynwood Art Walk this late in the season. Here are a few of the people I met...

Danilo Gonzalez is a multi-media artists who paints and creates sculptures in his studio in the back of his gallery. The wire sculpture that he is photographed with above is interactive and changeable. When I talked to him about the piece, he uncoiled the sculpture to create different shapes allowing me to move the sculpture as well.

Danilo was very open and told me stories about his work and how he once convinced a sponsor to allow him to purchase all the toy guns and weapons in one toy store as a demonstration against violence with the idea of how the shelves can be empty and bare one day and then completely filled with toy weapons the next in an endless circle of excess.

Dennise Rodriguez (who prefers to be called Den) is a fiber artist working with felt by sewing and hand stitching to create soft, touchable sculptures. Her work is happy, bright, playful and colorful. I was so delighted that she brought her sewing machine to the Fabrika Art Space for all of us to see how she works. Seeing her process and her materials helps me to understand her more as an artist, so I really appreciate that she made the extra effort to bring along all her supplies and equipment to include us on her artistic journey.

Lastly, I got a chance to meet Mary Ann Cohen and her husband Rich, gallery owners of MAC ART Group. Currently on exhibit, is a very impressive body of work by Tico Torres, drummer for Bon Jovi, which includes a wall mural called: "My Cuba" as well as other paintings and sculptures by other artists. However, my favorite paintings they exhibited were created by Maxim Lipzer, an abstract expressionist who lives and works in Argentina... beautiful!