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visual artist and writer marisol diaz

i am a self-defined Nuyorican creative (that is a Puerto Rican who is from both the isles of Manhattan, NYC and the Caribbean). I share daily in the joy of education and live in a cute port town in New York, in a 'teensy-weensy' apartment with my two dogs and canary named Valentino. Check out my Etsy shop for purchasable pieces. Please do not reproduce imagery off of this site without explicit credit and no derivatives may be made of my original imagery- Thank You.

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Miami International Art Fair IV- Glass Mosaics, Cardboard, Soap and Cocoa Leaves...

No that's not a recipe for anything, unless you want to call it a recipe of creative sparks being showcased at the Mia...

We're in February and I'm still reporting on all those creative flair ups that I saw in Miami back in January at that oh so sweet Art fair and though I have many more worthy artists in my picture file- I'm ready to wrap it up. But before I do, here are some of the last inspiring pieces I thought you would enjoy...

Remember- click on the pink links to learn/see more about the artists or their representing galleries!

Cuban Girl by Salvador Andrea rep. by Berengo Studio photo by m.diaz Supermarket Beauty by Salvador Andrea rep. Berengo Studio photo by m.diaz Till That Morning by Taro Hattori rep. by The Black Square Galleryphoto by m.diaz Detail of Till That Morning by Taro Hattori rep. by The Black Square Gallery photo by m.diaz Detail of Untitled (carved soap) by Felicity Warbrick rep. Waterhouse & Dodd detail of Untitled (carved soap) by Felicity Warbrick rep. by Waterhouse & Dodd by Gaston Ugalde rep. by Salar Galeria de Arte by Gaston Ugalde rep. Salar Galeria de Arte by Gaston Ugalde rep. by Salar Galeria de Arte

Miami International Art Fair III- The Mundane Gets Its Iconic Due 

This is the third installment of Miami Art Fair contemporary art and I still have more to share. I'm anxious to show you all some more of what I've been doing lately too, so hopefully you keep coming back for more!

Nick Gentry, Antenna, Mixed Media on Computer Disks on Wood rep. Art Modern Gallery photo by m.diaz

Artist Nick Gentry's work represented by the Art Modern Gallery has gone viral on the blogosphere lately, my students love his work on old floppy disks. Above is one of his pieces entitled Antenna that I saw at the Miami Art Fair.

The next piece that I'm featuring here is this piece entitled Compound 3 by Colombian born artist Juan Raul Hoyos, represented by the Alejandra Von Hartz gallery, made entirely of paper bags. Anyone who is a regular blog follower of mine might recall my post entitled The Potential of a Brown Paper Bag that you can see here which resonates with the same idea of how much complexity you can build with such simple things. In the case of artist Juan, he has built what appears to be a whole congested city developed out of printed bags simply opened and left to evoke a war-torn time and place. For me what was quite powerful was the congested feeling still seemed overcome with abandon and emptiness...like an evacuated space. Too bad it seems Juan does not have his own site and or the Alejandra Von Hartz Contemporary Art Gallery site should have links to more of their artists work so that you could see more.

Detail shot of Compound 3, by Juan Raul Hoyos, white paper bags, Rep. Alejandra Von Hartz Contep. Art Gallery photo by m.diaz Compound 3, by Juan Raul Hoyos, white paper bags, Rep. Alejandra Von Hartz Contep. Art Gallery photo by m.diaz

This next artist is another one of my favorite three dimensional artists from the MIA. Her name is Shantamani living in Bangalore, India represented by the Galerie Helene Lamarque. Her series of work is entitled Carbon myths and she uses charcoal which for me infers earthy fire, combustion and residue to construct her pieces. Mother Goddess,by Shanthamani rep. Galerie Helene Lemarque Detail of Mother Goddess, by Shanthamani rep. by the Galerie Helene Lamarque photo by m.diaz MINT by Shanthamani, Charcoal, rep. by Galerie Helene Lamarque photo by m.diaz DETAIL shot of Mint, Shanthamani, Charcoal, rep. by Galerie Helene Lamarque photo by m.diaz

Ok so get ready! Here is another moment when my students came to mind...turning around in the Galerie Helene LeMarque booth at MIA and seeing all of these stacked yellow phonebooks carved into these portrait busts! A graduate of School of Visual Arts, artist Long-Bin Chen from Taiwan gave a serious sculptural treat...once again showing us the power of the pedestrian object being risen to iconic stature.

India Buddha Boston by Long-Bin Chen back of India Buddha Boston by Long-Bin Chen a photo by the Museum of Arts & Design Webcam tech blog of Long-Bin Chen at work in their studios

detail shot of Long-Bin Chen's work by m.diaz detail shot of Long-Bin Chen's work by m.diaz here another sculpture by Long-Bin Chen at Mia photo by m.diaz back view of sculpture by Long-Bin Chen at Mia photo by m.diaz another sculpture by Long-Bin Chen at Mia photo by m.diaz

If you have 7 minutes I found an additional treat for you all, this fun you tube video doc of Long-Bin Chen and his work- I think you;ll really enjoy it!

I hope you enjoyed this installment of my MIA art fair experience! I have one biggy left to report on before I start to move on and share some other creativity and art related news- so stay tuned and LET me know what you think! Anybody here who blew you away and why? or was this all just too on the 'what-ever-happened-to-fine-art-supplies?' for you?

-Ciao Amarettogirl


Miami International Art Fair II

All photos in this post by m.diaz @ the MIA Art fair

Christina Pettersson

In grad school I was told I was a better draftsperson than painter and that I should focus my energy on just drawing... regardless... at graduation I received a certificate of distinction at the Hoffberger school of Painting. I'm glad I didn't outline limitations around myself or be swayed by the big names that guided my path, but when I saw this artist, Christina Pettersson's work @ Mia it reminded how powerful an unadulterated graphite drawing can be. Her work comes across as pure as a piece of 18th century literature and iconic and romantic enough to make William Morris smile in his grave. The large scale of the drawings can be better appreciated in the video I found for you. I am also quite impressed with the artists featured by the Spinello gallery who had more than one of the artists I am featuring and reviewing here my blog.

Zora Neale Hurston's Grave, 2009, Graphite on Paper by Christina Pettersson rep. by Spinello Gallery</span> Eudora Welty's Grave, 2009, Graphite on Paper by Christina Pettersson rep. by Spinello Gallery

Euginio Cuttica

One of the artists I really enjoyed discovering at the Miami International Art Fair was Euginio Cuttica, who I believe was there represented by the Adriana Budich Arte Contemporàneo Gallery. Eugenio Cuttica is a contemporary artist born in Buenos Aires in the mid 50’s. The opening slideshow on his website is a treat enough to discover so I highly recommend clicking on his name anywhere in this post to go to it and peruse yourself.

Luna #19 mixed media on cardboard by Euginio Cuttica DETAIL Luna #19 mixed media on cardboard by Euginio Cuttica Luna #17 mixed media on cardboard by Euginio Cuttica DETAIL Luna #17 mixed media on cardboard by Euginio Cuttica

Sang-Sik Hong

Another very intriguing artist was South Korean Artist Sang-Sik Hong who was represented at MIA by the Patrajdas Gallery.

Sang-Sik uses a very pedestrian (everyday) object such as the plastic drinking straw and delivers a fun, yet deliberate and evocative punch of relief imagery!

He makes contemporary, symbolic sculptures & installations. A real special treat is to visit the Patrajdas site by clicking on it here and seeing SangSik Hong's Installation Works which are EXTRAordinary and fantastic feats of genius!

Representations of Power, Sex & Desire executed in a "weak" and basic, yet iconic material.

Mouth - Red (ed. 3/5)Straws by Sang-Sik Hong rep. by Patrajdas Contemporary Art Obstruct (ed. 1/5)Straws by Sang-Sik Hong rep. by Patrajdas Contemporary Art DETAIL Obstruct (ed. 1/5)Straws by Sang-Sik Hong rep. by Patrajdas Contemporary Art
DETAIL Obstruct (ed. 1/5)Straws by Sang-Sik Hong rep. by Patrajdas Contemporary Art


I hope you enjoyed this second installment and trust me there is still so much more to come! So stay tuned! -
Ciao Amarettogirl


The Miami International Art Fair HIGHLIGHTS Report I

My MIA Press Pass

I am back in the cold Northeast from a visit to Miami International Art Fair this past weekend where the weather was warm, and some of the art was hot.

Fortunately, I met a fellow blogger/artist F.L. Campello from the Mayer Fine Art Gallery whose work I was struck by and who quickly hooked me up with a press kit. The fact that bloggers have gained some respect was new to me, but makes perfect sense since we have the ability to start accessible information chains that can go viral rather quickly. So I am now considered viable press in these situations which is so very cool!

I returned with over 300 photos in tow of contemporary art that I can now break down and parcel out to you in digestible bits and pieces.
Overall the fair seem to have an overabundance of Latino artists represented. I'll begin this feast for your eyes and intellect with a few appetizers, click on pink links to see, read or learn more.

artist - Cornelis Zitman rep. Ascaso Gallery, Caraca Venezuela photo by m.diaz @ MIA

NOTE: a quick reminder (especially if you're new to following my blog), I don't prescribe to antiquated definitions of fine art vs. craft or that one is a higher art form over another- I can be free to do that since I am not confined to markets, or to inciting market value.

Regardless of being involved in education and the value of certain pieces to the art to the student, I am not driven by academic high-art-speak babble, which can unfortunately just be a guise for a lack of conviction and a way to bs around the human need for personal expression. So some of my top picks may be due to a variety of different reasons which can vary from the gallery's attitude, content, a specific appreciation for a technique or skill that is manifested in a particular element of art, or simply my personal taste.

My top picks may not be your cup of tea and will range from blue chip to University of Miami students, but hopefully you'll see some value in what I chose to highlight here since I certainly won't be posting all 300 photos.

Salustiano (B. 1969), Spain, Isabelle, Natural Pigments, Acrylic Resin on Canvas, from Kavachnina Contemporary gallery Miami,FL Photo by m.diaz @ MIA Salustiano (B. 1969), Spain, SMILE, Natural Pigments, Acrylic Resin on Canvas, from Kavachnina Contemporary gallery Miami,FL Photo by m.diaz @ MIA Valeria Rocchiccioli, Agua, Plastic photo by m.diaz @ MIA Valeria Rocchiccioli, Agua DETAIL1, Plastic photo by m.diaz @ MIA Valeria Rocchiccioli, Agua DETAIL2, Plastic photo by m.diaz @ MIA Spinello Gallery Enrique Gomez de Molina photo by m.diaz @ MIA Spinello Gallery Enrique Gomez de Molina photo by m.diaz @ MIA F.L. Campello, Lilith,Mayer Fine Art Gallery Nazar Bilyk, Rain, Black Square Gallery, Polyester resins, Glass, fiberglass toned as a Bronze, photo by m.diaz

This visit was incredibly educational for me not only in what is happening with some of 'the up and coming' and inspiring creative thinkers out there, but also in regards to some of the behind the art scene of gallery etiquette, conventions, loyalty, and their time, energy and economic investments, so once in a while I'll post a nugget of info in that regard as well.

- Ciao and enjoy!- Amarettogirl


On my way to MIA- Miami International Art Fair 

Like a good blogger on Artful and creative living I am on my way to Miami tomorrow for the Miami International Art Fair!

I promise to come back chuck full of photos of more inspiring artists and hopefully some more inspiration to share!

MIA features the Projects Gallery of Philadelphia Which represents this piece By artist Alex Queral, acrylic on carved telephone book

So stay tuned in with me while I blog about my trip and share what is sure to be some phenomenal artistic feats since I will spare you those that aren't! LOl!- ciao Amarettogirl



new ink work 

'wanting' ink illustration on heavyweight watercolor paper by m.diaz 'hungry' ink illustration on heavyweight watercolor paper by m. diaz

Little, BIG Delights that Rock My World, & Might Just Rock Yours!

For this 2011 year I decided that I would have a new category on my site entitled, Little Big Delights dedicated to all the little things that bring me GREAT joy and remind me that being present, globally conscious and appreciative of heart smiles can be mesmerizingly joyful.

Every one of these little things makes a big difference in my days, weeks and months of living. Though these things can sometimes be objects, they are not always- sometimes they are sensations; like the smell of a hot pan with sizzling onions and garlic, or the popping sound of wood as it crackles loudly and madly in the fireplace or a warm cup in my cold hands, or the skip of my heart beat when I see a silent smile. Everything wont be for everyone, but hopefully I'll inspire delight or what I call a heart smile somewhere in you too.

Today I'll list three Little, BIG Delights. Though I have done this (highlighted things I love) all along on my blog, wanting to formally categorize them came from a phenomenal book and an inspiring author- so I will start with that particular delight -

  • 1. reading

- and though I have my nose in more than one book at this time- in this case I'm referring to a book I just bought for myself that I have been delighting in reading every night before sleep this week:

This book, Encyclopedia of the Exquisite, An Anecdotal History of Elegant Delights, is by Jessica Kerwin Jenkins, former Editor of the magazine W in their Paris division, is well-traveled and currently a writer for Vogue. Here is a sample page of the delightful writing Ms. Jenkins offers us immediately in her introduction,

"These entries sprang directly from a file I kept on my desk, bulging with scribbled scraps, Xeroxed articles, quotes, and curious images I'd come across-anything that lit a spark, or excited "intense delight". In my mind I called the collection "Why I Like it Here," "here" meaning on the planet. If I was having a bad day , flipping through the file could sweep me into a dreamy demimonde where things didn't seem so bad."

As the book is categorized alphabetically, I have so far; seen the sky filled with 'Aerostations' through the eyes of Marie Antoinette & King Louis the XVI, gone Alfresco, learned to make Blancmange, reveled in the powerful history of the color Black, abandoned convention with the origin of the Bob haircut and am looking forward to unraveling the mysteries of the feminine Boudoir and the Carousel tonight! Ms. Jenkins form of writing is delicious in it's clarity and focus.

Ok drumroll for

The lid of my van leeuwen earl grey icecream

Unfortunately, I first encountered this beautifully designed, pale-yellow, ice cream truck this past summer in NYC when I was in the middle of cleansing and detoxing my body from sugar. And though I was thoroughly entranced by the elegant illustrations and the over-all marketing aesthetic, the moment I asked the Seller if she had nutritional information for the ice cream and when she said no - my will power (at the time made of iron) kicked in, so I walked away and had none...fast forward months later and many pounds less on my body, I was in my local whole foods and discovered the same beeauutiiiful aesthetic packaged in pint size containers in the frozen foods section - with a nutritional chart! All I needed was that and an espresso cup-size portion and I was in HEAVEN!!

and finally my last Little, BIG Delight

3. These antiqu-ish rustic BLANK pin cushion clamps:

This past summer my hub and I went up to his parents in BOMBAY NEW York - yes I said Bombay (7hrs. north of nyc) out by the Canadian Border and by/on local Mohawk reservations. Like I often do I love to go through the local antique shops. This time I found these sweet little BLANK clamps. I'm actually sure they're not really antique (just made with that look) but as a budding seamstress - I think they're BRILLIANT- seeing as I can glue any pin cushion of my choice on to it - like my hand-made by me felt cupcake pin cushion! PLUS they were only 6 dollars AND they clamp onto my ironing board and my sewing table!! Woo HOO!!!

Hope you enjoyed these LITTLE BIG DELIGHTS and that you find some of your own in your daily life!- Amarettogirl


Creatively Invoking The New Year with Sorority, Intention, Incantations, Stitchery & Felt

All of Us CC's photo taken by Erin with Annamaria's Camera- thanks Erin!

I was fortunate this New Year's eve to have an opportunity to get together with a portion of my CREATIVELY CONSCIOUS Sisters (some of the original collection of women from my women's art retreat this past summer) and do a crafty version of a New Year's Invocation.

My gift to the women were little precut and personalized embroidered heart sachets that had charms, wishes and love stitched onto them.

One of the unsewn, unsealed, unstuffed New Years sachets I made for the Ladies of CC

As part of the process, I had each woman consider what the people, places and things that impede their daily dreams and goals are and on that sheet of paper physically write and name those things as what I like to call our 'Chief Censors'.

Beginning the incantation photo by CC Sharon

After that we wrote down what our deepest desire was for this up and coming new year...not so much a resolution but more something we wanted to see realized and manifested in our lives.

I wanted us to ritualistically experience a metaphor for being released by that chief censor into action towards our deepest desire. So I brought a stainless steel bowl in which to individually 'torch' the chief censor and watch it burn into ash and into the ether while asking to be released from it verbally. Our Burning Bowl photo by CC Sharon

We rolled up our our deepest desire and placed it along with stuffing and fragrant filling into the core of our heart sachet. Each woman went through the process of physically stitching her deepest desire into her heart....

the unstuffed sachet I made for CC Kesha CC Kesha Sewing her sachetCC Khadine Sewing her sachet CC's Khadine & Sharon working on their sachet's together CC Annamaria's sachet The Other side of CC Annamaria's Sachet

"Wishing you all a wonderful New Year!!"-Amarettogirl


Inspiring Artist You should Know: Denis Darzacq  

Photo BY Denis Darzacq from his Hyper series Denis Darzacq is one of my top all-time favorite living artists. He is a French photographer that I would love love to interview (if I ever could be so honored). He is virally known for his most recent series 'Hyper', but I was introduced to him on the blogosphere with his earlier series entitled, 'La Chute (the Fall)'. Hyper is seemingly a continuation of his work in which he:
asks young street dancers from working class neighborhoods in Paris and Rouen to perform in the aisles of the "hypermarché," the massive supermarkets and global retail chains that have supplanted smaller shops in France and in many countries around the globe. Suspended in mid-air, these floating bodies bring an otherworldliness to common consumerism. Like baroque figures, the dancers rise and fall either victims or victors against the absolutism of globalized commerce. This opposition between being and having, between the person and the environment - a central theme in Darzacq's practice - questions the human cost of materialism.

La Chute was inspired by the 2005 riots in the housing projects ("banlieues") around the outskirts of Paris where many young, disenfranchised, and mostly immigrant inhabitants were blamed for much of the unrest. Like Hyper, the photographs present dreamlike scenes of hovering bodies but in this case they are contrasted against the sparseness of the desolate landscape. La Chute is a meditation on uncertainty, possibility, and desire in the face over overwhelming adversity.

LA CHUTE N° 09 BY Denis Darzacq

Last year I was in a two woman show with fellow artist Nova Gutierrez in the 2/20 Gallery in Chelsea, New York run and owned by Miguel Herrera. The theme of the exhibit revolved around our interpretation of the title of the show, the words 'Unearthly Woman'. Many (not all) of the pieces that I made for that show were loosely inspired by Denis Darzacq and his photographic work.

The Laurence Miller gallery states about Denis Darzacq's work:

The photographs explore the tension between being and having, between the human body and the built environment. They offer a fresh, witty and intensely colorful commentary on global consumerism and freedom of spirit.

I did not use Denis' images as that is not what I mean by inspired.

In fact, that is definitely a topic for future art-making posts, since it is sad and frustrating and much too frequent how many artists struggling for their own content can confuse inspiration with outright copying.

However, using his ethereal capture of frozen moments of the fall, I began to develop my own picture references of the female figure falling as a metaphor for my displacement within dual and competing cultures and locations (place and time) that I feel as a Nuyorican but also as my gender explorations are redefined from that of my biological sex.

Falling to me is a fascinating subject one in which even NPR's show Radio Lab has explored (that I would highly recommend listening to). Falling is at once a loss of control as it is a release of control and it is a fascinating state of altering time. I wanted my translations to be quick and loose, as opposed to my usually tight illustrated style, and done with unresolved marks that pushed the flavor of frozen motion. In my humble opinion, it is that frozen motion that Denis Darzacq captures so masterfully.

one of the charcoal and acrylic paintings for the Unearthly Woman Exhibit one wall of my work for UNEARTHLY WOMAN from last year's Chelsea NY exhibit- quick charcoal & acrylic paintings a scale shift as this is one of the smallest pntgs compared to the larger ones by me

What I'm hoping to convey today with this post is how an artist and their vision can be a catalyst to developing your own unique response and to exploring a communal idea uniquely. In addition, I hope to introduce you to this outstanding artist, his work, and process as he has now made it to one of my top creative minds list.

I also found this fantastic video that shows Denis at work with his process and I thought it an excellent addition to this inspiring artist you should know post:


Creatively Conscious Women's Art Retreat Continued For the Holidays!

My womens art gathering from back in August (Click HERE to see the post about it)has continued and is giving birth to some new opportunities! Sharon will be hosting another one (a Ceramics one) next and hopefully with some deliberate intentions on my part we will have our over night retreat soon! We need to name ourselves still, but so far Creatively Conscious has stuck!

Sharon reading her quote Busy Bees - Mandi, Linda and Esther (my momma) Kesha working on her design Sharon working on a silkscreen with glitter Sharon's card The Art & Design Girls (highschool mates)
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