Conversation Pieces

Whether you’re a novice art aficionado, a seasoned collector or something in between, we’ve gathered some emerging Miami artists that you should consider adding to your collection. Some you may have heard of, some you will discover here first, but all have one thing in common: They’re on the verge of greatness and thrilled to share their passion with the world.
Words by Joe Oz | November 28, 2021 | People

Lauren Shapiro

Perhaps one of the most amazing ingredients of creativity is perspective — and Miami-based visual artist Lauren Shapiro has a lot of places from which to pull, having traveled extensively around the world for her craft. She’s been a resident artist at Sanbao Ceramic Art Institute in Jingdezhen, China, and has participated in biodiversity focused residencies in Brazil’s Amazon Rainforest. Most recently, she was a resident at the Anderson Ranch Arts Center in Aspen, Colorado, and is the current artist in residence for a National Science Foundation grant awarded to researchers at California State University, Northridge and the University of Hawaii at Manoa. Says the artist: “I enjoy combining ceramic arts with social practice to join people and the environment through the art-making process.”;

Augusto Esquivel

It’s not every day that you come across a button artist, but for Augusto Esquivel, it’s just who he is. “My work invites you to a non-linear experience of pixelation and OCD,” he says. “Through my practice, I seek to understand the dual identity experienced as an immigrant and the relationship with capitalism.” He chooses sewing buttons as a tribute to the strong connection he had with his grandmother and the concept of up-cycling materials by threading thousands of buttons using clear monofilament suspended from acrylic structures. His button masterpieces are at once visually jarring, wholly engaging and completely hypnotic;

William Osorio

Emigrating to the U.S. from Cuba, William Osorio arrived to Miami in search of freedom and intellectual honesty. The self-taught artist has an omnipresent idea in his practice comprised of the inseparable relationship between the subject and the world. “My intention with my work is to have a deconstructive approach toward orthodoxy and established paradigms,” he says. “ I start from philosophical thoughts that I try to link with recycled visual elements from daily life, from the socio-political context, and from the entire history of art. Through my work, I try to investigate the complexities of the human condition and the absurdity, the tragic, and the divine that compose it.”;

Vic Garcia

Vic Garcia was a business student searching for a suitable path when he began drawing to help pass the time. “It quickly evolved into a whole world populated by an overflow of characters I created,” he says. “Using my art to express things I never could with words, my freestyle work and newly realized passion soon began to infest my room — from walls to underneath the bed!” It wasn’t until after college, when he went to work for his dad, that it became obvious that art had completely taken over his life. “Lost in the world I created, I decided to go full-throttle into what came so naturally to me,” he says. “Today, my ability to bring good vibes and happy people into my world, quickly catapulting me into the hearts and minds of many near and far.”;

Carmen Smith

Nostaliga, nuances and neon are central themes of Carmen Smith’s work. Originally from St. Augustine, she moved to Miami after earning a BFA from Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts. Playing with light, shadow and colorful forms, her scenes often appear nearly abstract but never fully void of representation. “Central to my practice is the belief that structures have emotive and intellectual influence,” she says. “My paintings capture moments and fragments from the urban landscape that are often observed passively.” As such, her use of familiar settings invites the viewer to become part of the scene and showcases how a place has the power to become part of an experience within an enduring emotional context, resulting in a nuanced consideration of how place affects experience, memory and, ultimately, identity;