design

Meta Apparition: Miami Art Week 2017

I was really excited and nervous on September 27th. I almost didn’t go to the opening at Primary Projects in the Design District because I was by myself. But there was a plan in place, an intention. I would go and introduce myself to Typoe, artist and owner, whom I had been Facebook messaging with the month before. I had to show up even if it was just for myself. Primary Projects is such a beautiful space and the show “Impressions of a Landscape” by Magnus Sodamin was a site to see. While I was there I wandered around awkwardly, staring at the paintings on the walls. I turned the corner and saw Carlos Betancourt's “Times of Illuminations: For the Sake of Beauty” and I lit up. The funny part was that the assemblage wasn’t even plugged in. That was my moment where I felt as though the gallery was empty. It was just me and the monumental rectangle covered with Christmas stars. Massed in the center, sprinkling out to the edges, I felt like a little girl on Christmas morning and I knew I could survive the rest of the evening. I made my way outside and saw a tall bearded man adorned with tattoos, in an unrefined way I introduced myself with “Hi! I’m here by myself, my name’s Ariana, who are you?” He kindly exchanged salutations and talked with me for a bit, introducing me to the people he knew outside. 

Carlos Betancourt "Times of Illumination: For the Sake of Beauty"

Carlos Betancourt "Times of Illumination: For the Sake of Beauty"

Through the window I saw Typoe walking and for the first time all night he was not surrounded by 5 people. This was my moment, I walked back into the gallery, and up to him. He greeted me as if we had been friends for years, so kind and welcoming. We engaged in light conversation and then a gentlemen wearing a button up and slacks came up to say hello. Our exchange set in motion an opportunity I didn’t know was possible when I moved here 5 months ago. This is the moment that positively changed the course of what I would be doing for Miami Art Week. I met Kevin, Projects Director for Shulman+Associates. Our brief conversation, standing in the packed gallery, resulted in an email 2 days later. Subject line “Outdoor Installation”. I was planning on emailing him the following Tuesday. I’ve learned that building relationships with people is like dating. Be aggressive, but don’t look desperate, engage in like-minded conversation, but speak your truth. This has been part of my business model. I was surprised and intrigued by the message including one creative direction “furniture/shelter like”, and I knew we were a good fit. 

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After our first in person meeting, and 1 page project overview submission, I got the call. This was now our project. I began my planning, and result was a 14 page powerpoint presentation of the interactive indoor/outdoor sculptural art installation. The colors are bold and vibrant. The shapes are graphic. The surface treatments organic. All 10 ambitious sculptures were well received by the Shulman Team. Pre-production began at the end of October. My timeline was 5 weeks with 1 week of details. I began dying watercolor paper, material testing, designing each piece thoughtfully, knowing that it will represent myself as well as Shulman + Associates during the most important time of year for artists and designers here in Miami. 3 trapezoidal cabanas outside with 5 plinths, a coffee table, and a suspended ‘chandelier’ inside the reception area. I was told “furniture/ shelter like” and this is where my creative brain went.

Two weeks into production, I assessed my timeline, and realized in order to get everything done before December 4th, I was going to need to bring in some help. The suspended ‘chandelier’ is composed of 2000 discs made from aluminum mesh screening, watercolor paper, and metal foil. The circle punch I got worked great for the paper and metal foil but when I tried the mesh I broke 3 punchers. I knew that these were going to have to be cut by hand. One Facebook event, 32 ounces of Cold Brew coffee from Box, 3 hours and 40 minutes  and 4 friends later all 1150 mesh circles were completed. I continued to assess, adjust, and stay on schedule. Week 3 came and so did the rain. I needed to work outside to dye the curtains I tailored for the cabanas. 20 feet of canvas for each cabana. I found a window in the weather app that showed me clear skies through the night. I promptly picked up 9 bags of 10lb ice, set up the structure, and the curtains soaked the dye as I slept. Week 4 I started working on the plinths, I had some plywood donated to me, which was saving my budget. As I began working with the material, following my original plan, something felt off. I was not connecting to the shapes, or the heavy material. I couldn’t use it. I needed to adjust, be flexible, and revisit my drawings. I thought to myself “If I could change this and do anything what would you do?”. The sketch that came out of that put me in a position that made me uncomfortable. But I knew it was the right thing…remember this is the most important week for artists and designer for the whole year in Miami. I took the day to find a solution. The next day I started again on the plinths, creating all 5 in under 12 hours. These felt right. These came together as if the universe was guiding me. They make me happy. Over the last week I have been in detail mode. Refining installation processes, color story, weather proofing, and assembling as much as I can. Yesterday I took the whole day off, I spent time with my roommate developing this weeks media marketing strategy, drinking coffee, and watching mid-90s rom-coms. Tomorrow we install. 

The exhibition is titled “Meta Apparition”. When I was developing this installation I knew it was going to be playful, spiritual, and metamorphic. I experienced all three of these things while I was producing the work, and my overall intention is for the viewer to also experience and celebrate these ideas. Meta pertains to a story, conversation or character. It describes a consciously and playful self-referential story. Apparition is the supernatural element, as if these objects have appeared from the natural, to be remarkable. This is my truth.  

This will be my first solo exhibition…and you’re invited…

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Making Connections: Support Local FL

I sit here surrounded by half filled brown corrugated cardboard boxes. The dining room table is stacked with framed photographs, clocks, and a crystal ball. My bookshelf is empty. The walls are bare. My coffee is warm, and my heart is full. If you know me personally then you know a few major things that I hold dear; 1. coffee 2. working together for the greater good of our society and culture; community and 3. the preservation and elevation of ethics and morality. Let’s get right into it. I’ve said it time and time again, community is what builds and grows the cultural experience of an environment. It is typically an underlining theme in my blog. I talk about it a lot. After living in Sarasota for 10 years watching that city grow, being part of an art collective with the mission to share contemporary visual art with the community and continuously supporting small local businesses. They have always supported me right back. The last 3 years have really shown me what I stand for as a person and artist. It’s what makes me more authentic. My truth. And one of the many reasons I am so attracted to Miami. I have attended Miami Art Basel since 2004. I have watched, from a distance, the city grow and realign itself with what matters the most. Becoming a hub for creative entrepreneurs and pushing the boundaries of how people interact with businesses and artists. Support Local is the brand in front of the movement carrying that mission for Miami. 

I was able to catch up with Janel from Support Local FL. Janel is the liaison for the brand. She oversees the partnerships, manages the social accounts, and on-boards new businesses. I am so grateful for the opportunity to connect with her over the phone and really dig into what Support Local stands for and how it operates. The mission is clear. Build relationships and support collaboration. Janel said it beautifully “transform the process of opening businesses in Miami”. Janel gets to know the brands and builds the direct relationships with each founder and their mission. She mentioned that they have always worked with makers and businesses, through the parent company Prism Creative Group, an agency dedicated to elevate culture in Miami, and from that sprung Support Local. Support Local is the platform that provides a curated directory of local businesses, taking action and alleviating pain and pressure of starting a business in the Miami area, and how to find the treasures. 

Janel, Chief Social Alchemist for Prism Creative Group and Liaison for Support Local FL

Janel, Chief Social Alchemist for Prism Creative Group and Liaison for Support Local FL

Support Local is mindful of the brands it supports, obviously it must be local, and SLFL takes the time to get to know the story behind the business as well as the product. Support Local stands with the brands it represents, they too are a small business. They understand the pain points for new small businesses and makers alike. They are currently connecting on a project with the City of Miami that is going to take work and time to scale but it’s incredible that its happening. The relationships are being built. Through the SLFL website businesses are able to showcase their brands becoming a resource for anyone visiting and living in Miami. Through the website you can find an array of fresh visionary companies. There are hotels, restaurants, coffee shops, a variety of makers, markets, and coworking spaces. By dropping the Support Local name at the business you can unlock a perk, which is listed with the company on the website. This perk is a driving force, it’s the connection point between the businesses that are bred in Miami with the people searching and wandering for the best coffee, yes I went right for the coffee. 

Another part of the Support Local mission is to connect the businesses to each other. This is where support meets collaboration meets better business and more opportunities. The first event they did was themed for this, meet and greet style with consumer interaction. The second event which happened in June was themed “Collaboration”. At the most recent event, Support Local had a collaboration board, one side it said “What do I need?” and the other “What do I want?”. The attendees were able to share their information and Janel is the business to business match maker, making the connections, forming the partnerships. Pairing together the makers, graphic designers, market gurus with different local companies, creating the opportunity to utilize the talent that makes the community vibrant and healthy.  She also mentioned that these themed events are going to keep happening. The next event is scheduled for July 19 at Made at The Citadel themed “Creativity”. All are welcome and you’ll be able to find me there; supporting, connecting, collaborating and being creative.

Photography Credit  Mac's Pub

Photography Credit Mac's Pub

I gush over all of this. My demeanor has transitioned from stressed about moving to pack faster.  It’s so much of what I’ve been craving for the last 3 years all rolled up into this beautiful dusty seashell pink with black, teal, and chartreuse accented website with an authentic mission. Adorned with the tribe I’m looking for, believing in the same things I believe. Creating and driving a community that works together for the greater good of the society and culture, preserving and elevating the ethic and morality. Being authentic. Although the movement is currently based in Miami the goal is expand throughout the state. If you believe what we believe, I encourage you to check out the curated directory of local businesses next time you are in Miami, grab a coffee, head to a museum, enjoy the culture, and give back to the people that create the experience.