A cosmopolitan hub with a fast-flourishing artistic community, Miami is home to an exciting array of both domestic and international artists. While some are veterans of the local art scene and others only recently making their debuts, all 10 of these contemporary artists are emerging in one way or another: onto the global stage, into mainstream awareness, or onto a new frontier in their careers. From haunting photography to NSFW sculptures, the work of these 10 artists is what keeps Miami magical.
Miami resident Mauricio Gonzalez is on his way to becoming a local treasure. With intriguing titles such as Won the Jackpot Quit Painting, Cape Canaveral and the Theory of the Ripe Mango, and Show me your Ballerinas, Gonzalez’s work bursts with refreshing personality. Visually captivating and unpretentious with subtle sexual undertones, the Cuban-born artist has created a unique style of art much like Miami itself.
Brazilian-born Guilherme Moraes has quickly become an all-star on the local art scene since debuting in 2013. With two solo exhibitions and numerous group shows under his belt, Moraes, represented by the prominent Fredric Snitzer Gallery, has already presented his work in many of Miami’s most buzzed-about venues. Dealing in subdued hues and broad brushstrokes, the artist specializes in sketches of scenes and figures, leaving just enough to the imagination to encourage active engagement with the work before you.
Amanda Season Keeley
Regularly exhibiting work since 1999, Amanda Season Keeley can hardly be considered an “emerging” artist. And yet, Keeley has recently embarked, or emerged, onto a new frontier in her career with her EXILE Books installation project, a pop-up bookstore highlighting artists’ publications. Text has always played a role in Keeley’s work, which has included sculptures resembling mounted bookshelves, engraved wall plaques, counterfeit publication covers, and more.
Nicole Doran is a creator with character. Exploring gender politics and post-internet culture through multiple disciplines, Doran’s sense of humor shines through all of her work. From her Prick series, comprised of colorful ceramic planters in the shape of male genitalia, to text-based paintings with slogans such as “Same phone who dis?” and “Make America paint again,” this joyful artist is certainly one to watch.
With her multifarious style comprising video, photography, installations, and more, artist Antonia Wright is a perfect fit for Miami’s diverse, cosmopolitan environment. In a local art scene dominated by painters and photographers, Wright broadens Miami’s interpretations of what an artist can be. Her self-published writings, global presence, and role as the first-ever artist-in-residence at Miami’s Lotus House Shelter for women and children make one thing clear: this artist can be anything and everything she chooses.
Since breaking onto Miami’s art scene in 2013, Cuban artist Rafael Domenech has earned accolades for his work, which strikes a provocative balance between art and architecture. A byproduct of his commitment to the “interaction and integration of work, viewer, and space,” the sharp angles and rigid lines that often appear in Domenech’s work surprisingly succeed in breaking down boundaries rather than erecting them. From blueprint-like tape and paper creations to life-size wood installations, the artist challenges the perceived rigidity of space.
Tackling the increasingly relevant subject of gentrification, Eddie Arroyo emerges onto new artistic territory. By documenting “commercial buildings which will soon be replaced by new development,” Arroyo’s work serves as witness to society’s acts of creation and destruction, arguably two methods of creating art themselves. In the past, artists have protested against social injustice and political violence through their work, but gentrification is still an area relatively unexplored in visual art. Arroyo’s captivating paintings, such as the tongue-in-cheek depiction of a “Guccivuitton” in Miami’s Little Haiti neighborhood or the more somber image of a smashed car window, mourn the loss of a community’s “cultural, social, and economic fabric.”
With her unique photo-based work, Argentinian-born Marina Font leads viewers through terrain previously unexplored in Miami’s art scene. Exploring themes including memory and “the forces of the unconscious,” Font’s work deals largely with muted colors, light, and shadow, an eye-catching change from the psychedelic colors characterizing much of Miami-born art. Font’s audiences in Miami, Barcelona, and beyond can attest to her ability to transform pitch-black canvases and piles of straw into something vibrant.
Diego Singh is an art-world enigma: a major player in Miami’s art scene since 2004, the Argentinian-born artist is constantly evolving, ensuring that attendees of his exhibitions feel like they are discovering a new artist every time. From creations based on CAPTCHA text to abstract paintings and from layered blacks and grays to rich blues and burgundies, Singh’s work is refreshing, exciting, and expectedly unexpected.
The Western-inspired work of Utah transplant Cara Despain has quickly attracted the attention of both domestic and international art lovers. Desert scenes and horses continually crop up in Despain’s photography, found materials work, and sculptures made of unconventional materials such as reclaimed fabric and corn starch. In 2015, the artist emerged onto the global stage with a Switzerland-based exhibition, and she has since exhibited works in Buenos Aires and Santiago.