Visions of the New Miami: Alexander Mijares
Standing in his bright white artist’s loft and residence that overlooks glorious views of Miami’s Biscayne Bay, I listen to artist and businessman Alexander Mijares talk about how his humble artistic beginnings led to a recent meteoric rise to fame. Exceeding even his own early expectations, Mijares has wowed the local and national art world with his stunning paintings and sculpture. Selling his painting “Alter Ego” at a record high in October 2012, Mijares has met with great success after painting for only one year. I met Alexander at a charity benefit for St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital in September, and was excited to sit down with Miami’s hottest new artist in his studio and find out what makes him tick.
Any viewer can see that Mijares’ vibrant works are driven by emotion, sensory experience, and dream-like visions. The exuberant colors, mosaic-like compositions, and themes utilizing masks and corsets all contribute to the exotic nature of his canon. It is no surprise much of his inspiration comes from actual dreams. “I like to take a nap in the afternoon to get inspired. I turn on nice Spanish music, or something of the sort, and doze on the couch. Almost instantly I fall into REM sleep and have exotic dreams. When I awake I am refreshed and immediately begin painting. The music, the subconscious imagery, and my passion for expressing myself drives the intense focus I maintain while I work.” Inspired by the sensuality of music, his travels throughout the Mediterranean, the energy of the surrounding water, and his rich Cuban/Spanish heritage, Mijares’ pieces are a rich synthesis of warmth, light, and shadow. His fusion of Cuban with new styles is representative of the new Miami.
Mijares At Home
Mijares is one of those uber talented artists that heard his calling after completing education for another field. “I attended Northeastern in Boston for undergrad. When I graduated, I came back home to Miami and became an integral part of my family’s metal fabrication business. I attended Florida International University and received my Masters degree in Business Administration. Everyone jokes because immediately upon finishing my graduate degree, I began my art career. But I truly believe that my body, my mind, wasn’t ready to create this art and expose myself to the world before this point.”
But Mijares didn’t meet such success immediately. His beginnings are humble; in fact I have never heard a story so honest and humorous. “I moved into this great loft space with many large, empty walls. As I was shopping for art to fill them up, I noticed everything I saw was so incredibly expensive. One day I had the idea- maybe I should try painting something myself. I bought a large canvas, paints, and a couple of brushes, and just went at it. For the days I couldn’t figure out why my paint wasn’t sticking to the surface of the canvas; the paint was sort of dripping or bleeding. I struggled with it, and after the first layer was set, I noticed the next layers stuck to the canvas just fine.
Upon completion of the painting, I brought the canvas to a friend who is a framer and specializes in stretching canvases. I dropped it off with him and promised to come back later for my stretched canvas. A couple of hours go by and I receive a call. It’s my friend and he says, “Alex, did you have a problem when you were painting this canvas?” Of course I said yes because it had been a major struggle at the beginning. He said, “That’s because you painted on the wrong side.’ I laughed but it was a humbling experience. It really indicated I had so much to learn and had a long journey ahead of me.”
While Mijares agrees he still has a lot to learn, the journey to recognition wasn’t quite as long as expected. As Mijares continued painting, he attended Art Basel 2011 and got a sense of what was out there. “I went to Basel last December and talked to a lot of people. I saw work that was in all of the galleries, looked at what was selling. I realized at that point that what I was working on in my studio had a lot of potential. The whole experience actually made me more confident that I had something to offer.”
Since that realization, Mijares has been named “The New Color of Miami” by Venue Arte magazine, the Director’s Choice artist of the Santa Fe Museum of Art, and “A genius of color and shapes!” by Brazilian-American neo-pop artist Romero Britto. His art has been featured at esteemed locations such as The Marquis Hotel for the Venue Magazine Cover Party, FKCNR event (a charity fundraiser aiding children with cancer), the Lupus Foundation, ISA boutique, Coral Gables Museum, Baltus: The Spanish Art of Luxury (an upscale showroom in Miami), The Blacks Gala, American Cancer Society Gala and The Well to name a few.
Mijares At Work
Change, Street Art & Slippers
Ever the businessman, Mijares is careful to strike a balance between exploring his emotional landscape and staying in tune with what galleries and buyers are craving. “I have friends in the gallery world. I frequently have lunch with them to discuss my work and what I could do better. They have become invaluable mentors throughout my artistic process. They may say something like, ‘Why did you put arches in the foreground? This painting would have been more successful if you had left them out.’ I learn from every work I do, I’m constantly open to change and growth.”
Mijares has begun experimenting with merchandising and street artists on unique collaborations as part of his new direction. He spoke to me about groundbreaking new projects with excited enthusiasm. “Del Toro, a local Miami shoe brand, has picked up a few of my designs and put them on limited edition men and women’s velvet slippers. They were unveiled at the Wynwood Building on October 13 during Wynwood’s monthly ArtWalk. I’m also working with extremely well-known street artists in Los Angeles and Barcelona on a couple of collaborative paintings. I’ve flown out to visit them and been in touch. Basically I am painting a canvas, mailing it out to them, and they are taking their own creative approach to transforming the canvas. We will be tying in Spanish art with street art in a unique new way. I contacted these guys on Twitter with my project ideas and they were really open to it. We haven’t seen many people taking this approach to collaborative blending between street and gallery art before. I’m excited about what 2013 is going to bring.”
Mijares notes, “Art has been my diary. It’s a private relationship between myself and the canvas.” Indeed, Mijares’ dream-like canvases feature exotic females, sensual masquerades, medieval architecture, and distorted shapes. But his influences draw from a rich artistic history that has been in place for decades. While heavily influenced by Picasso in general, Mijares says he looks to many different artists for inspiration. “A friend of mine has a massive collection of art books, so when I visit him I choose some to bring home and study. I’m always looking at the work of differing artists- It’s a great way to keep my work fresh.” On his table now I notice Phaidon and Taschen editions of Miro, Matisse, Calder and M.C.Escher. If these are any indicators of what’s to come in the future, I am excited to track Mijares’ multi-faceted trajectory into artistic stratospheres.
Mijares has been asked to be on the Young Associates Committee for the Coral Gables Museum’s Party in the Plaza on November 2, 2012, where his work will also be featured for the second year in a row. An exhibit is also being planned at the W Hotel for Art Basel 2013, details to be determined. You can stay up to date on Alexander Mijares, his accolades, press, and upcoming collaborations at Mijares.com, or on Facebook at Facebook.com/mijaresart.
Try This On For Size: R29, Del Toro, & Alexander Mijares — All In One Night
We’ve been pretty much obsessed with Del Toro shoes for some time now, and our growing fixation for this particular brand of footwear has only heightened as collaborative projects have been released. But what’s making us exceptionally slipper happy right now aren’t the goofy-faced smoking shoes à la Man Repeller or Theophilus London’s variation (make no mistake, those are rad, too) instead, it’s Del Toro’s latest collab with Miami-born artist Alexander Mijares.
Call it our allegiance to all things Miami or our penchant for one-time-only breeds, but we’re so over the moon that we’re co-hosting the unveiling of this limited-edition shoe at Del Toro’s Wynwood showroom this Saturday, October 13 from 6 to 10 p.m., during the well-attended, monthly installation of Art Walk. And yes, you’re invited!
Marking the first of a series of collaborations between Del Toro and new-to-the-scene artists, Matthew Chevallard (the mastermind behind the DT brand) is bridging the gap between fashion and the arts. “It is our intent to channel the developing Miami art scene to our loyal audience,” Chevallard says of the project. “It’s also meant to convey the unique nature of our brand, which goes hand-in-hand with the artists we work with in representing their unique movement of individuality.”
A marriage of minds for sure, Mijares’ DT slippers (designed with a skull for men and initials for women) haven’t even been unpacked yet and already the pre-orders are pouring in. Heed our warning and arrive early if you hope to get your paws on a pair, only 12 of each were produced.
Photo: Courtesy of Del Toro
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CORAL GABLES MUSEUM HOSTS SECOND ANNUAL “PARTY ON THE PLAZA”
Pre-Basel Kickoff to Launch Miami’s Art Season
CORAL GABLES MUSEUM HOSTS SECOND ANNUAL “PARTY ON THE PLAZA”
Annual Event Showcases Miami’s Most Talented Emerging Young Artists
October 03, 2012 (CORAL GABLES, FL) – On Friday November 2, 2012 The Coral Gables Museum’s Young Associates will host their second annual “Party on The Plaza” featuring the latest artwork from Miami’s emerging talent.
“The Young Associates is one of the first young professional organizations in Coral Gables,” said Cristina Mas, president of the Young Associates. “We created this event to promote our group, the Museum, and to introduce up-and-coming local artists to the Miami arts community.”
Following the tremendous success of last year’s launch that raised over $25,000 for the Museum, the Young Associates are expected to bring in even bigger crowds with an expansive exhibition of bright young artists. Featured artists include Victor Alarcon, Christiaan Lopez-Miro, Alex Mijares, Paul Ramirez, Raul Boesel Jr., Gaudi Castro, and Michael Halley. All work will be available for purchase with proceeds going to the Coral Gables Museum.
Returning for his second Party on The Plaza exhibition is Alex Mijares, widely considered one of the greatest up-and-coming artists in South Florida. Mijares has been described as “a genius of colors and shapes” by the internationally renowned, Miami-based artist Romero Britto. He credits last year’s exhibition for helping him launch his career.
“Party on The Plaza helped introduce my name to the community, providing my first platform where my art could be appreciated. It was the launching point of my career as an artist,” said Mijares. “Since then I have done numerous shows all over the country. I am forever grateful to the Young Associates for giving me this opportunity.”
The Honorable Jim Cason, Mayor, City of Coral Gables, will provide opening remarks at the event. Party on The Plaza will be held primarily outdoors in the museum’s historic limestone plaza, where guests can enjoy hors d’ouevres, and Bacardi drinks, including adult mojito and piña colada snow cones. Music will be provided by DJ Jeff Wool and a photobooth is available for guests to commemorate the night with pictures.
Pre-sale tickets are currently available for $25 before October 15 and $30 after October 15. Tickets purchased the night of the event will be available for $35. The event will be held on Friday, November 2, 2012 from 7:00 – 11:30 p.m. at the Coral Gables Museum, located at 285 Aragon Avenue. For more information please visit: http://www.coralgablesmuseum.org/youngassociates.php.
Coral Gables Museum
The Coral Gables Museum celebrates the civic arts of architecture, city planning, landscape architecture, historic and environmental preservation and history-the elements that define Coral Gables. It is a true public/private partnership between the City of Coral Gables and the Coral Gables Museum Corp., a private, not for profit 501.c.3 Corporation. The Museum opened its first exhibitions in October 2011.
The Young Associates is a new forum for like-minded young professionals and art enthusiasts under age 40 to connect with peers while supporting the Coral Gables Museum and enjoying all it has to offer. Y.A. is a group of up-and-coming community leaders with the common mission of promoting museum membership and events, while providing a venue to share community passions, specifically emphasizing promotion of the arts and a vibrant Coral Gables.
For Media Inquires please contact:
Cristina Mas / firstname.lastname@example.org / 786-393-8432
Artist Profile: Alexander A. Mijares
Artist Alex Mijares sees the relationship between the individual and the way their presence alters the overall energy of an environment in a very unique way. This Miami native has a talent for portraying the emotion and vibrant flavor of human beings (mostly women) with a lively blend of colors that come together in a psychedelic yet elegant style.
His paintings bleed with his passion for the wondrous yet mysterious settings that bring out the beauty of human interaction. Always an artist, Alex has converted his adolescent interest in sketching and graffiti into a desire to show the world what a gloriously animated circus of shapes we encounter each day.
Perhaps what drives Mijares to create is his hard working nature derived from his experiences running a family business, completing his MBA and traveling the world for new inspiration all at the same time. Elite recently interviewed this up and coming artist to find out more about his views on the art world and how his career path has effected his life.
Who are the people that inspired you to follow your dreams?
My family has always been a huge support system for me, so with them and all of my close friends behind me I’ve really been inspired to forge ahead in my career. The key players who really taught me about art and the art world who also gave me a big push were Alex Cesaria (owner of Unix Fine Art Gallery) and my close friend, art collector Tommy Morrison.
Was there a turning point in your life that led to your current direction?
Believe it or not, I was working in the manufacturing industry and had just finished my Masters in Business Administration when I moved in to an apartment and was looking for art for my place. The prices for the size I needed were outrageous, so I said to myself ‘I’ll just go paint my own painting.’ I ended up going to a store and buying a roll of canvas, one brush and some paint and painted my first piece.
It was 5 x 4 feet, and the best part was that the paint kept bleeding and I had no clue why. I came to find out once I had finished that I had painted on the wrong side of the canvas, the side that was not primed. So that was an experience! And since then I have been hooked.
What kind of training and preparation have you gone through?
I’m self-taught. I only started painting a little over a year ago. And since then, I have held several sold-out shows.
What is your biggest tip of advice for artists?
Believe in yourself and it will translate through your art. Also, don’t try to compare yourself to other artists, you are you and your art and talent is based on how you see things. Showing others how you view something is the special part.
5, 10, 50 years down the line when you’ve achieved everything you aspire for today, where do you see yourself?
I want to be able to travel all over the world and spend some time in each location and paint. That way, I can constantly fill my work with experiences and the beautiful colors of the world. I tell people that my art is my diary.
Who’s career inspires you the most?
I haven’t figured that out yet.