If you’re in the market for a few new pieces to add to your art collection, check out the curated list of artists we’ve compiled for you on the ensuing pages. For as long as each can remember, their dream has been to inspire as many people as possible through their work — and they’re doing just that and a whole lot more with every new masterpiece they bring into the world.
Text by Estrellita S. Sibila Photos courtesy of respective artists | May 22, 2018 | People

Wesly Alvarez
Figurative Paintings
Wesly Alvarez Studios

Academic Painter Wesly Alvarez’s work is inspired by life and a reflection of his connection with humanity. “It’s something intrinsically human to seek out beauty and meaning around us,” he says. “I love when I see my work connect with people and they tell me how the images I create intersect with their lives — it’s exciting when I hit a nerve with someone and it becomes personal.” Beginning to create art at an early age, Alvarez was fortunate to have an artistically inclined mother growing up who inspired him through her artwork and sketchbooks. “I was a quiet kid and drawing was a very therapeutic way of discovering the world,” he says. “It gave me a way of taking my inner thoughts and displaying it for others to connect with.”

Cheri Kudja
Recycled Robots
Bitti Bots!

Cheri Kudja merged her love for robots and for Mother Nature to create fun little bots made of vintage, found and re-purposed objects. It all started when her youngest daughter had to create a school project using 100 found objects. “We set out to the streets and found everything we needed,” she says. “She got an A and I’ve been making robots ever since.” Each of her signature “Bitti Bots” comes with a name, birthdate and personal story, making all of her creations more than just quirky sculptures. “My pieces take people down memory lane while simultaneously inspiring them to be more conscious of recycling,” she says. Made of bolts, tins, spark plugs, lug nuts, smashed pens, springs and just about anything else you could imagine, the variety of figures and distinctive personalities that emerge from her workshop are total crowd-pleasers, no matter which of her cute robots you decide to take home. “I love sharing with others the happiness that I put into each of my creations,” she says. “It’s an emotional journey that I’ll always treasure.”

David E. Peterson
Abstract Painting +
Pop Minimalism

As a kid, David E. Peterson loved getting lost in the creative process. Whether it was drawing on paper, painting on canvas or sculpting with clay, art filled every inch of his world and he always knew he would be an artist. “Art is a physical and mental freedom, where I can think and build anything I want,” he says. His first masterpiece was in art school where he created a 6-foot bust of himself cast in concrete. The project really pushed him to ”work big” and take on new challenges. “Inspiration is everywhere, and it’s always challenging to filter all of my ideas so that I can concentrate on just one or two,” he says. The bold lines of industrial design serve as his muse and the juxtapositions of color, patterns, wood, materials and surfaces are pronounced in his Puzzles Series. “My favorite part of the creation process is being in the studio with music playing — that’s when time stands still and it’s just me and my projects,” he says. “For me, art is a physical and mental freedom, where I can think and build anything I want.”

Edwin David Sepúlveda
Don Rimx, LLC

Edwin David Sepúlveda, a.k.a. Don Rimx, is known to capture the viewer with his distinctively detailed and elaborate larger-than-life murals. “My work is full of energy and plenty of doubts, but it’s also rich in honest reactions and beautiful feelings,” he says. “My style combines elements from the city and nature to create images that represent powerful dialogues between the piece and the spectator.” His work is derived from classic paintings, graffiti and street art and intricately displays a culmination of skill, creativity and execution. He pulls inspiration from every moment, every experience and all the people and things he encounters throughout his life’s journey. Leaking water buckets and pieces of broken wood bound into new shapes and figures appear as recurring themes in his work, making the viewer contemplate their relationship with nature and use of natural resources. Says the artist: “When people experience my work, I want them to feel connection, inspiration and a reflection of life.”

Donna Ruff
Various Mediums
Donna Ruff Studio

While Donna Ruff’s art may not fit into a specific genre, her use of a wide range of paper is highlighted throughout her body of work. From discarded newspapers to precious handmade paper, many of her drawings are made from cutting, burning and layering paper, sometimes with copper or gold leaf. “My grandparents had a paper company and I was always given scrap paper to draw on since I was 4,” she says. “Paper can be quite strong, but can also be fragile and easily manipulated.” The imagery that she works with is based on geometric systems and shapes that have been used in decoration for many centuries as well as in books and sacred architectural spaces. “Since there’s a lot of repetitive mark-making in the process, it becomes a meditation for me as I work,” she says. “My drawings take a long time to complete, and the work that goes into them becomes part of their meaning — art shouldn’t be too obvious, it should reveal its nature on contemplation.”

Ed King
Neo-Pop Artist
Ed King Pop Art

Ed King creates vibrant and whimsical art pieces that he describes as “fantastically fun-tellectual.” He incorporates elements from different cultures and beliefs into his colorful and jovial works in the hopes that people are inspired and uplifted by his pieces. “I want my collectors to walk into a room where my art is hanging and let a smile wash over them,” he says. Drawing inspiration from books, music, ancient mysticism and a healthy sense of creative adventure, he sees Miami as a cultural touchstone and ground zero for artistic zeitgeists looking for an incubator for experimentation. “Art is as necessary to the soul as water is to the body,” he says. “It’s a non-negotiable necessity.”

Cecilia Dubon Slesnick
Illustrative Painting + Drawing
CSD Studio

Cecilia Dubon Slesnick gathers inspiration from the funny little details in her daily life as a wife, mother and VP of Education for HistoryMiami. Her first paid art gig was as an editorial cartoonist for The Daily Campus at Southern Methodist University. “I’ll never forget how proud I felt seeing my work every day in the newspaper,” she says. “The first time someone came up to me to tell me how much they liked my work, it was best feeling in the world.” Today, her drawings and paintings are whimsical and clever and reflect quirky interpretations of accessible and relatable objects. “Art allows the imagination to stretch, it gives us the power to explore and it’s something that I hope to not only do for the rest of my life, but to encourage my children to do as well.”

Estrella Mederos
Various Mediums
By Appointment Only

Cuban-born Estrella Mederos has enjoyed a career as a medical doctor, radio personality and health columnist while exploring her creativity through a variety of artistic forms including sketches on paper, oil and watercolor paintings and sculptures. An avid art collector herself, Mederos’ work is largely influenced by science and medicine. “I’ve always used art as a means to convey what I’m feeling to the world,” she says. As such, her body of work includes Amazonia, a series of busts showcasing a variety of flora and fauna as representations of fertility, vitality and sustainability; Hasintha, a collection representative of the number 8, which stands for poetic justice, harmony and wise action; and Winged Specimen, a series she completed in 2002 that she recently rediscoved stored away in an old trunk that showcases a variety of mythical, butterfly-like winged creatures. All of her works embody the balance between giving and taking while challenging the viewer to find beauty in the unexpected. “Art should speak to you, toy with your curiosity and cause you to think about things you would not have otherwise considered.”

Stephanie Jaffe
Mixed-Media Collages + Mosaics
Stephanie Jaffe Art

Stephanie Jaffe fundamentally incorporates nostalgia into her work, as both an emotional response and an idea. Formally trained in ceramics and glass blowing, her portfolio includes everything from big glass vessels with organic shapes to large-scale mosaics. Through her work, she explores the complex interplay between memories, humor and the emotional resonance of objects. Her mixed-media collages and mosaics create whimsical arrangements and nostalgic narratives where word play and found objects are often part of the work. “Art is a voice — some people sing, run numbers, perform surgery or express themselves by cooking…art is my communication device of choice,” she says. Jaffe often frequents resale shops and markets looking for old objects, furniture, decorative items — and even broken pieces. “I enjoy the hunt and the many places these forgotten objects lead me,” she says. “I came into the world as an artist — it’s encoded in my DNA.”

Sean Havas
Underwater Photography
Sean Havas Photography

Sean Havas captures the beauty of the ocean and its most fabled inhabitants. He found his true calling in life in his teens when he took his first underwater picture and settled on the medium once he printed his first life-sized image of a shark onto glass. Since then, the vibrancy of his images and the impact of seeing the animals he photographs in their actual size is freakishly impressive. But there’s also a much deeper message to his craft. “Our oceans are being destroyed at a very unsustainable pace, and through the beauty of my photography I hope to make people fall in love with the oceans and start caring about what we can do to save them,” he says. His favorite part of the creation process is the adventure of finding rare and elusive oceanic giants and ultimately sharing the water with them during both planned and impromptu photoshoots.