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Miami Artists You Should Keep an Eye On

December 7, 2016
A philosophy graduate interested in theory, politics and art. Alias of Jelena Martinović.

The palm-studded metropolis, Miami is the city that perfectly combines productivity and decadence. Regarded as the proto Los Angeles, the city offers numerous opportunities for Miami artists, such as the available space, relatively low costs, and a rich, multicultural creative community. A mysteriously enchanting place with a diverse cultural output, Miami art scene is influenced by both American and Latin American traditions. One of the most significant annual events in the city is certainly Art Basel Miami Beach – a premier art fair for contemporary art in the United States. For more than a decade, the fair has been a place of annual pilgrimage, attracting art collectors and art enthusiasts from all over the globe. The new Pérez Art Museum Miami designed by Herzog & de Meuron opened in 2013 and the Institute of Contemporary Art Miami (ICA) launched in December 2014. The city also hosts a plethora of art galleries, ranging from beach bungalows to blue chip ones, committed to high-quality, cutting-edge art across all mediums. Bringing international acclaim to the city’s art scene, these places have maintained a strong sense of community spirit throughout by supporting local artists and taking art to the streets.

With a remarkable selection of stunning art collections, museums, galleries, and project spaces, the city offers a sense of creative freedom for a variety of creatives. In this budding creative community, a handful of Miami-based artists are coloring outside the lines and adding life to the Magic City.

We have compiled a list of Miami artists that you should definitely keep an eye on!

Featured images: Agustina Woodgate working, via wooloo.org; Sebastian Spreng Installation View, via whatsupmiami.blogspot.com; Hernan Bas Installation View, via peterkilchmann.com; Emmett Moore Installation view, via gallerydiet.com

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Karen Starosta-Gilinski - The Assemblage Artist

The Caracas-born and Miami-based artist Karen Starosta-Gilinski is known for her assemblages that are both humorous and heartfelt. To create her provocative pieces, she uses a variety of found objects and altered materials that range from mirrors and plush toys to bits of rusted metal and garbage bags. The work involves psychology and an obscure side of analyzing personalities from the most tender and innocent to the most evil and complicated.

Featured images: Karen Starosta Gilinski, via miamidesigndistrict.net; Karen Starosta Gilinski Installation View, via primaryprojectspace.com

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Hernan Bas - Inspired by Literature

Inspired by literary sources, the painter Hernan Bas is famous for his overgrown landscapes and intimate figurative portraits of beautiful boyish and hip young men on the threshold of sexual self-discovery. Both romantic and uncompromisingly sexual, his pieces are often imbued with dark narratives. Having energetic and gestural style, he uses a soft palette that is contrasted with unpredicted dark hues and vibrant colors.

Featured images: Hernan Bas, via artspace.com; Hernan Bas – Champagne Corks Bobbed in the Pool That Morning, 2016, via artobserved.com

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Marlon Preuss - An Illustrator and Muralist

Born and raised in Miami, the illustrator and muralist Marlon Preuss is prone to experimenting with different characters and environmental elements in order to create unconventional juxtapositions. Developing his unique voice and art style, he tells stories through a single image. Besides illustrations, he creates large-scale murals and walls all around Miami that perplex and capture the viewer’s attention. Among his pieces are a mural spanning the entire Basement Miami, a school bus at III Points music festival, and a mural in a Mount Sinai Medical Center doctor’s office.

Featured images: Marlon Preuss, via swampstyle.blogspot.com; Marlon Preuss – Emirates, via oceandrive.com

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Benjamin Hollingsworth - Working Beyond the Canvas

An ex-soccer player whose professional career ended due to the acute knee injury in 2006, Benjamin Hollingsworth poured his creative athleticism into the canvas. Applying both physical and psychological gusto to the act of creation, his work extends beyond the canvas. Some of the themes he explores are coping, social sculptures, materials, and possession. Besides paintings, he also creates sculptural ceramics and installations.

Featured images: Benjamin Hollingsworth, via beautifulsavage.com; Benjamin Hollingsworth – Shoot the Messanger, 2010, via ynetnewsc.om

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Cara Despain - A Diverse and Prolific Artist

Cara Despain works in video, sound and sculpture installation. Her cinematic work brings a taste of one of the US most beautiful states, Utah, to life, oftentimes borrowing from American Western tropes. Recently, the artist has been working on the Sea Unseen, an abstracted audio narrative that borrows from the language of mid-century radio dramas and film soundtracks. Sea Unseen remixes collected sounds and music into a quasi-sci- fi score to carry an allegory about sea level rise.

Featured images: Cara Despain, via http2016.miamifilmfestival.com; Cara Despain – 99 Claims, via dorchgallery.com

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Sebastian Spreng - The Color Hunter

The work of Sebastian Spreng is inspired by observations of everyday moments. He experiments with colors that vibrate with life, creating a bridge to entice contemplation. As the artists explained, when he sees a color that he likes, he starts a set of paintings from it. Having music as pivotal in his work and he created a whole series of paintings that were based on musical structures and cycles.

Featured images: Sebastian Spreng, via kelleyroygallery.com; Sebastian Spreng – Mahler Lieder 3, via kelleyroygallery.com

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Agustina Woodgate - Focusing on the Capitalist Society

Creating art across multiple disciplines, Agustina Woodgate is focused on the critique of a globalized capitalist society. Placing an emphasis on mobility, migration, and transportation, she creates art that ranges from sculptures and site-specific installations to “poetry bombing” and a nomadic radio broadcast radioee.net. In her work, she uses a variety of objects such as human hair or the pelts of recycled stuffed animals. Woodgate’s works reveal the systems that structure society.

Featured images: Agustina Woodgate, via wsimag.com; Agustina Woodgate Installation View at Art Berlin Contemporary, via miaminewtimes.com

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Emmett Moore - Blending Furniture and Sculpture

The practice of Emmett Moore is very diverse and encompasses sculpture, design, and furniture-making. Blurring the line between artwork and functional object, Moore creates furniture pieces that are closer to modern sculptures than everyday items. Revealing the physical, conceptual, and aesthetic commonalities in categories of sculpture and furniture, he aims to break down perceived ideas of value based on materials and functionality.

Featured images: Emmett Moore, via myartguides.com; Emmett Moore – A Numerical Control Table, via whatsupmiami.blogspot.com

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Alex Yanes - Blending Various Influences

The vibrant art of Alex Yanes embodies an innovative use of color and imaginative subject matter. Born and raised in Miami, his work is influenced by his Cuban roots and years spent immersed in skateboard, tattoo, hip-hop and rock culture during his teenage years. Initially working on canvas, his art has come alive via wood, acrylic, resin and enamel into three-dimensional installations.

Featured images: Alex Yanes; Alex Yanes Installation, via powwowhawaii.com

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Romero Britto - A Pop-Cubist

Brasilian-born and Miami-based artist, Romero Britto is praised for the vibrancy and enthusiasm of his paintings. Having a unique visual vocabulary, his pop-cubist style is characterized by bold colors, playful themes, and abstractions. His work revolves around humor, popular aesthetics and a complete lack of any restraints. Britto has also produced a variety of advertisements and graphics for major companies, including Apple, Pepsi, and Disney.

Featured images: Romero Britto, via jewllerytraderesources.com; Romero Britto – Cavalo, Cavalo, 2002. All images used for illustrative purposes only.