Saturday, 08 January 2011 22:06

Skulldaggery - Beyond the Kid Stuff

The first page on Alessandro Echevaria's website,, features a stripped image that's very familiar to me. It's a simple page, with few words and a medium-sized picture of an animal-- I'm not sure what kind, really, but it's definitely not human-- whose face has been sliced into four sections, eyes intact, yellow, and vacant. In between the sections you can see bits of what cartoon anatomy must look like, all in pink with nerve endings slipping out to the edges of the animals' skin.

I don't think I would have been so disturbed by the image had I not recognized the base right away: the animal Echevaria mangled here was none other than the lead monster in Maurice Sendak's classic Where the Wild Things Are. The scariest monster of the bunch-- part lion, part sasquatch, with a wild, dark mane and big, square teeth-- wasn't nearly so intimidating once he'd been sliced up, innards neatly packed between the sections of his head.

Alas, there were only two of these icons dismembered (the other was Pinnochio-- who was a real boy, after all.) Echevaria carries out this dismemberment theme through a lot of the work on the site, sometimes to tragic-- but mostly to sardonically comic-- effect. When leafing through his tee-shirt designs and digital pieces, my initial urge is to ask him to do a series of comic books and sell them to the adult market.

The lines are simple, the colors stark, and his sense of humor are all so contemporary as to scare off your average intelligentsia enough to pull off a hell of a career in the subversive above-ground world of post-modern art and lit. If he'd started doing these pieces ten years ago, he might have been considered too far ahead of his time. But in a world post- Wicked and thirty years since Chris Clairmont proved that comic books were beyond simple kids' stuff-- he's a completely apropos contemporary.


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With a combination of youth, brains and beauty, wildchild artist Samantha Leah Shiff is bringing an edge to the South Florida Art Scene. She recently exhibited at South Florida’s new Art hot spot Auteur Explosion at Cinema Paradiso, where she was a hit amongst the creative seekers that visit the event each month. Upon exhibiting some of her Acting chops, she was approached by the theatres manager Frank Wolf to join the acting troupe for Repo the Genetic Opera, and Rocky Horror Picture Show.

Growing up the daughter of an Architect and a Singer, Shiff was raised with deep art consciousness. She has once said "The reason why my life is so colorful is because of art and its influence on my life. I have a knack for pushing the limits, tearing down boundaries, and shocking people with my work, It’s what I live to do." And if living for art means you would bleed for art, Sam has done that as well. A notable piece entitled “Bleeding for Love” depicts a contour expression a couple lip-locking. What makes this piece interesting is that it was painted with blood saved from an accident. Ouch. But that is what makes it art, when you use these unappealing moments in life to create beauty, and that is how Samantha expresses herself.

Another interesting piece would be a self-portrait done in the style of Chuck Close, by creating blocky color variations to form a portrait or large image. He amongst many artists like Jackson Pollock and Ralph Steadman inspire Sam to push the edge of defining how one does or calls art. Perhaps this will also translate into her transition as an auteur as she is currently in development of a short film based on Allen Ginsburg’s “HOWL.”

To Contact Shiff for Modeling, Acting or Commission Work

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In Fort Lauderdale there is a sanctuary for artists lucky enough to survive a year long waiting list known as the Sailboat Bend Artist Lofts. In this low-rent "wonderland" (as this writer deems to portray it) lives a visual pop artist, who paints smirks on all who lay eyes on her witty candy colored images.  Her name is Lisa Bulten Rockford, a graduate of the esteemed Art Institute of Chicago, who upon completing her Masters launched headstrong into the competitive arena of fine art. In prolific fashion she exhibited all across the nation before settling in South Florida as an instructor at Broward College in 2006.  She draws inspirations from both her loving parents who in one way or the other, shaped her art today.


A series entitled "Barbie Magic Reveal" are humorous illustrations much in the style of your supermarket "Coloring & Activity Books" made for children (and some strange adults).  It exhibits her playfulness yet engaging deconstruction, and reconstruction, of familiar pop images and content.


3 Floors of 1310 Gallery will be covered in her work from Jan. 16th - Feb.12th 2010.
2 Distinct Painting series will survey the portrayals of gender and romance.
Only 1 Twist - That it will be a TWIST.  Yeah, that's the name of this wonderfully twisted exhibition of art coolness.  You simply must put your mind in a TWIST @ the 1310 Gallery, Sailboat Bend Artist Lofts, 1310 SW 2nd Ct. (Middle St.), Ft. Lauderdale, 33312. Admission: Free & Open to the Public

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Sunday, 17 April 2011 04:34

Artist 5

If there ever was a time to have artists take charge in making a difference in the community it would be now.As technology soars to reach the outer limits, the boundaries created from our social issues is enough to make us all claustrophobic.


Imagine street art as unconventional since the days of Keith Herring & Jean-Michel Basquiat. Imagine Art that is Grimy, Dirty and Raw but packed with enough energy to move masses with its messages.When you draw these thoughts in your head, you would picture ARTIST 5.


Artist 5 is a transplant from Suffolk, England to the shiny beaches of South Florida. His art merges a wide variety of styles with existentialist thoughts.It incorporates the decay of materials as part of its charm. He claims his 5 Points of Power are Urban Street Art, Abstract, Deconstruction, Dysfunction, and Existentialism, which if you look at his work you can see truth in this statement. His work captures beauty in social madness.


On his website,, says "I like my work to look as if it were produced at an earlier date and over time with weather and age it becomes worn and battered with chipping paint and runny lines." 


But ARTIST 5 doesn't just paint to draw a social change; he actively participates in creating social change. His THINK POSITIVE PROJECT was founded to be nationwide artist collective, spreading Think Positive messages across the country to counteract the current turmoil our country faces due to economic depression and its insatiable appetite for war. Focusing on South Florida community issues such as Healthcare, HIV Awareness, Homelessness, Drug Addiction & Prostitution.If there was anyone you should support for the good cause, it's the fifth artist ARTIST 5.

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