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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Slated & Showing

It’s been a long month. I have refocused my efforts on products and services. Which means that I have been making a lot of drawings and small installations to share content. My happy place is in the making. I love the process, the repetition of creating the same thing over and over, hundreds of times. Building the structure that will support these small delicate pieces. The pieces that intrigue you to ask the questions, “What is this made of?” “How did she do it?”. Managing the project, budget, and timeline. Finding the most time effective way of constructing each and every element that I have tucked away in my mind. I have been looking at a wide range of color stories, and inspiration. I have been in my art cave pencil to paper writing out what to do next.

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Let’s recap August, my month of regrouping, and making progress. I have had several great meetings within the Miami community. Each person I met has showed sincere desire for my work, or has at least been interested in the things I do. No one has made any promises and I appreciate that. I have put myself out into the world, and I will continue to do that. It feels good even if it means I’ve just made a friend, a connection with another person.

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At the beginning of the month my post was directed towards my business plan. My 90 days is up and I have learned a lot of about what is working and what isn’t. I believe both sides are important so I can continue to grow Alchemist. Here are a few examples what I know are working. First I know that my series of 30 degree sculptures are working. I have had such a profound response on social media and with curators. The piece titled “My Father’s Shirts” which has been permanently installed was selected for the Bombay Sapphire Artisan Series in collaboration with artsy.net.  I am a regional semi-finalist and will be showing in October at N’namdi Contemporary Gallery in Wynwood. I have also been selected to show at the Englewood Art Center in February of 2018 from a proposal focused on my 30 degree geometric sculptural installation and the possibility of projection mapping. Another positive is that I will be showcasing two large scale pieces at the next Support Local mixer on September 21. I have been invited to share a sculptural installation that will engage the community and foster an experience at the Micro Theater. I’m very excited about this. It is not common for me to produce work for an outdoor setting. I have been given an opportunity to expand the material palette and really think about the elements involved. This is a good thing. These are three major highlights. 

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As far as things that haven’t been working as well have been the Magic Flora Workshop at Wynwood Shop. I have been planning and marketing for the last month. Unfortunately, there has not been a lot of interest in this particular event. I lowered the ticket price earlier this week in hopes that more people would sign up to participate. The entire event is planned around bringing community together, and creating coffee filter flowers and foliage, raw material to final object, and showing them all in mass to create an installation. I have been so excited to share process, dye handling, and how to transform everyday materials with the community. This is something new I am trying and it may not work. That’s okay though, not everything works out the way you want it to. 

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On Monday I had the pleasure of doing a radio interview with Bree Gordon of Connections by Aria. Our conversation was very stimulating and really warmed my heart. Her excitement was intoxicating as we discussed Alchemist Productions, why I’m a sculptor, and the materials I choose to work with. If you haven't had a chance to listen or watch please do. It may create some extra insight on how I can help your business, inspire your clients/audience, and how you can support the business of art. 

Wrapping up the end of August and working my way into September I am taking these ideas and running towards my goals. I am running towards the community leaders, towards each person that wants to experience what I have to offer, and towards the things that work. I am going to complete a small installation of paper flowers and foliage, start making parallelograms, and my large scale columns for the Support Local event. I am going to keep showing up. Here’s to the next 90 day business plan!

30-60-90

My life as an full time entrepreneur has been built on a 30-60-90 day business plan. We have just past the official 60 day mark since leaving my corporate job. With that being said, it’s also time to pivot, just slightly. I have a few small things slated that will be announced in the next 30 days. I’m looking forward to the opportunities that I am being given here in Miami. It is so different, in a good way. I felt confident with the decision to move here, and work on Alchemist. Now I’m really understanding the ideology of autonomy and collaboration in my daily life.

Autonomy means “independence or freedom, as of the will or one’s actions.” The condition of being autonomous allows a rational individual to make an informed and un-coerced decision. Work culture contains different eco-systems. Each company works differently to explore innovation, creativity, and final product. These categories function to encourage and cultivate talent, collaboration and autonomy working together to achieve that harmony. At Alchemist I use these ideas to develop projects, balance my schedule, and explore opportunities.

The first 30 days I did analytic studies, strategy research, and business plan development. I focused with the mantra “Make and Market”, which served me well. The magic was in the plan and execution of ideas, making phone calls, writing emails, and reaching out through social media. I also moved across the state which delayed certain things I wanted to do. I lost my business planner, with the concise outline of what needed to be done. It was a very interesting month. But I made things happened, I showed up and rolled with the punches.

Over the last 30 days my focus has been on relationships, community collaboration opportunities, making small objects, and designing large scale installations. I have worked with Alex of Luma Visual to explore the beauty of technology projected onto the handmade. I have met with Prism Creative Group to explore community opportunities and developing relationships with the greater Miami market. I have been listed on the Support Local FL directory. I submitted a few small art pieces to exhibitions pending acceptation. Through these decisions on how to spend my time, I’ve been making progress towards goals for Alchemist Productions and my personal art practice. That’s probably the biggest challenge, the integration of designing a company with value and purpose while maintaining my personal practice as an artist. 

Progress is important, and so are results. Progress can be invaluable to a business plan, and heed results of goals. My business plan has been mostly outreach to the community, and the progress has been amazing. Although I want larger projects, understanding the cultural insights and desires will influence and inform my next move. Assimilating with my new community is key to creating brand statements and strategy that will deeply connect to the culture. I am looking forward to the next 30 days, the pivot, and restructure of my brands business plan to deliver an everlasting experience for my clients, and the community.

Launching: APxLV

I’m back! The last 3 weeks have been so full! Somewhere between working on this company full time, moving my entire life, and completing a small installation for collaboration with Alex of Luma Visual from Orlando, FL; Jared and I have managed to get our new home in somewhat order. We are adjusting to life in Miami and although this is one of the most important things we’ve done for and in our life thus far life doesn’t stop for us. 

The official move on July 3rd went as well as I could have expected. We had so much help from loving friends and family. We successfully moved my workshop, Jared’s production studio and all of our personal belongings over 100 miles across the state. This is the second time I’ve moved cities in 3 years and before that I was fairly stationary for 10. I am adjusting to my new space much more quickly than I had expected, which is a total blessing. That leads me to tell you all about the collaboration with Alex, a computer graphic artist and video projection mapper. 

Alex and I met in June. Jared introduced us after having a conversation with him. Jared knew right away what each of us do as artist could make magic combined. We hit it off immediately and I asked him within the first 45 minutes of talking if he would be interested in collaborating and/or going into business together. From the initial conversation we began having weekly phone calls, and shared google docs of ideas. Exchanging information from a distance. I did not completely understand his craft but I knew introducing innovative technology to my handmade sculptures would surly be interesting. Alchemist Productions x Luma Visual was born. Alex really loves the way I build forms, and currently use velvet. These are two major themes he suggested for our project. I started building hexagons and stacking them, his response was positive, so I continued making 60 of them to produce 3 columns. 

As our conversation continued he suggested a ribbon form, I knew it needed to be velvet. I mentally processed my plan of action for construction, making drawings and completed the 8” hexagons structures. Then I had to stop working and start packing. I was so excited about this project that it was extremely difficult to press the pause button, but necessary as the moving timeframe crept up on me. Then he tells me there is an annual event by Creative City Projects in Orlando called “IMMERSE”, he forwarded me the website and artist application. We are a great fit for this particular project and plot twist! The application is due July 16…TODAY, like right now. Life is funny like that. We immediately scheduled for the installation to be ready for projection this past Friday, time to hustle! 

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I spent the better part of 3 days last week, painting the hexagons, texturizing and painting the backdrop, and building the ribbon form. All while having our first house guest, managing the rest of my life, and no internet. This is my happy place, this is where the magic happens. The installation was staged by the time Alex walked through the door on Friday at 4pm. Ready for him to set up his projector and computer to layer color and movement onto my forms. Until we realized we needed more space between the physical installation and the projector. So we moved the room around and the installation to a different wall. Then we had it! The right orientation for our first collaboration. 

Alex jumped right in. I admire this. He was so excited about the details of the forms, the textures I produced, and the soft nature of the whites and creams. He began drawing the silhouettes on the computer, masking out each form individually. I watched in excitement. Like I said before I really had no idea what his process took from a skill and craft standpoint, I just knew it was going to be interesting. He worked for several hours before we needed to get some sleep and be ready to have a complete collaborative installation by Saturday night for the IMMERSE submission. We were up and working bright and early yesterday morning finishing the mapping, and playing with different projection textures, color, and motion graphics. We needed it to be dark to record video and get the full effect. We took a long and necessary break, relaxing, eating, and filling out the application proposal details. 

As soon as it was dark in the room, we began sorting through footage, and images. Pairing and placing color theory, textures, and movement onto my static forms. Art magic in every way. We recorded each combination we liked, making decisions as a team. This is a beautiful experience. I’ve collaboratively worked with people in the past but not to this level. This project has pushed the art I construct further and Alex says it has done the same for him. The experimentation and exploration of my sculptural installation with his projections have collided in a way I didn’t know was possible. We completed our submission to IMMERSE last night at 11pm. We made it happen on a tight timeframe, little budget, and a lot of hard work. I’m thrilled to share this with everyone and from this experience we have conceptualized more projects for the future. Imagine with funding, more space, and some time what we can accomplish. We are officially for hire! Check out our test/submission video here!

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.