magic

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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5 Years Later: Back in the Gallery

Time flies when I am making the art. I didn’t even realize how long it had been since I’ve posted in the blog and shared with you all what has been happening in the magical world of Ariana and Alchemist Productions. This post is about the spaghetti I am throwing at the wall hoping for a piece to stick. One of the pieces stuck, and it wasn’t the piece I thought. It’s really interesting because when I made the decision to leave my dream job to work on Alchemist I had not intended to do gallery exhibitions. I haven’t shown my personal work in 5 years. I’ll tell you the story…

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Once upon a time…in 2004, I moved to Sarasota, Florida to go to college. I spent 4 years developing my personal art practice. Attending Miami Art Basel every December discovering contemporary art. I graduated in 2008 and did my best to continue to make art, but I wasn’t very successful, or self-motivated. The end of 2009 to the beginning of 2010 broke that cycle when I was accepted to Vermont Studio Center for a 6 week artist retreat. In July of 2010 my mentor invited me to move into his warehouse studio space with him, allowing me a space to create larger sculptures and develop installations. He also invited me to show in an exhibition for the first time since my senior thesis. That October I created a sculptural installation with a video performance. The following year I joined S/ART/Q, the local contemporary art collective, and started doing pop up events with them around town. At the same time I began creating window display installations for a local boutique, Juno & Jove. In 2012, S/ART/Q raised enough money to go to Miami Art Basel and show at Select Fair. This was the last time I showed in a “gallery” setting. 

S/ART/Q Exhibition Installation, 2011

S/ART/Q Exhibition Installation, 2011

My personal art practice was really difficult to maintain while producing the branded content for the boutique. It just wasn’t my time, and that was okay. In the middle of 2013 I took a year off from making art. Then in mid-2014 I was hired by Anthropologie and moved to Naples, FL. I made art for them for about 3 years. At the beginning of this year, I was presented with an amazing opportunity to create something that brought my personal art practice together with branded content and granted me this magical sense of social responsibility to get back to making my own personal art. That’s one of the reasons I made the decision to leave my dream job and move to Miami.

In August I was scrolling through instagram and I came across a Prism Creative Group post promoting the Bombay Sapphire Artisan Series. I had been focused making personal work. I had content again, so I submitted 3 pieces. This is really interesting because I’ve never applied to anything like this before. I’ve never felt this confident about my personal work, but at the same time this particular competition spans all of North America. I had no idea who else was submitting work, or who the judges are. All I knew was that if I didn’t try I would never know if my work was in line with other contemporary artists. 

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When I received the email that I am a regional semi-finalist and that I would be in a group show with 14 other artists in a Miami gallery, I was extremely surprised and excited at the same time. It is an honor to be selected as 1 of 15 artists in the Miami region. I am so pleased that I moved to Miami and live in a city that collaborates on opportunities like this. Yesterday I dropped off my assemblage at N’Namdi Contemporary in Wynwood. It has been 5 years since I have shown in a gallery setting. This Thursday October 12, will break the cycle again. The Bombay Sapphire Artisan Series is happening in collaboration with Artsy.net to showcase emerging artists at Scope Miami Beach during Miami Art Basel. You can vote for my work online once a day, everyday until November 7th by clicking this link. I also lined up a solo show in February in the Mitchell Gallery at the Englewood Art Center which is affiliated of Ringling College of Art and Design, my alma mater. 

The selected assemblage for the exhibition.

The selected assemblage for the exhibition.

The piece I will be showing titled "My Mother's Jewelry"

The piece I will be showing titled "My Mother's Jewelry"

Although I am still following leads to take my work outside of the gallery and create bespoke branded sculptural installations for businesses, and site specific commercial buildings, this is a great start to build relationships with the art community. It’s one of the most important things I can be doing. Building relationships. Contributing to the landscape of art and culture in my community. Giving back to the community that has supported me in the past. I invite you to join me as the cycle breaks and I share my work with the world.

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