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10 Emerging Contemporary Artists From Orlando to Know

10 Emerging Contemporary Artists From Orlando to Know

Picture of Michele Marin
Updated: 10 July 2017

Recently, Orlando has been shaking things up with a rather impressive contemporary art scene. In fact, the Florida Prize in Contemporary Art Exhibition, at the Orlando Museum of Art, has been gaining quite a bit of attention in the four years since its inception. The exhibition, which pays tribute to all forms of contemporary art, features both established and emerging artists. We’ve rounded up some of the best contemporary artists in Orlando who are garnering accolades across the globe.

Mark Gerstein

Award-winning filmmaker Mark Gerstein has worked with the biggest studios in Hollywood. But these days, the associate professor of film at the School of Visual Arts and Design at the University of Central Florida is taking his experience in the industry and turning it into art. Gerstein transforms the idea of video on a screen as we know it into a “unique image hybrid of film, photography, and sculpture in a gallery setting,” as he states. The result transcends the experience we have with so many of the outlets we love.

What, 2016 | © Mark Gerstein / Courtesy of the artist

Dana Hargrove

In an instance of life imitating art, the Scotland native once focused on site-specific art inspired by the beauty of her home country. But upon Hargrove’s move to the USA, in her early 20s, her work took on a renaissance of sorts, culminating from her feelings of displacement. Shifting her concept of site-specific work, the self-described “ideal based artist,” while still using landscape as her inspiration, now sought to inspire observers to reflect upon their own surroundings and environment. Through many different forms of media, Hargrove urges a connection of mindfulness between a person’s surroundings and the effect on not only the individual but also society.

Cairn, 2013 | © Dana Hargrove / Courtesy of Bridgette Mayer Gallery

Lisa Iglesias

Lisa Iglesias defines art with her range of exploration, but her emphasis on drawing gives viewers an eye into the artist’s interpretation of the world. Whether raising a child, moving a glacier or drawing lines, Iglesias engages with these various temporalities. The artist also collaborates with her sister Janelle Iglesias in the project-based Las Hermanas, Iglesias’s playful response to different issues.

HERE/US/NOW 2017 | © Lisa Iglesias / Courtesy of the artist / Courtesy of Raymond Martinot

Annette Barbieri

Soft and reminiscent of the state Annette Barbieri grew up in, the Orlando artist employs her surroundings in abstracts erupting with soft colors mimicking the Atlantic waters and Florida sunshine. Whether painting in acrylics, mixed media or encaustics, Barbieri continually tries new techniques and fascinating color combinations, resulting in works bursting with uniqueness.

Archipelago | © Annette Barbieri / Courtesy of the artist

Boy Kong

The Orlando-based self-taught painter, illustrator, muralist, and collage artist gathers inspiration from Ukiyo-e, Surrealism, Graffiti art, and animal folklore. Dividing his time between Orlando and NYC, Boy Kong’s body of work, which is identifiable without succumbing to a signature aesthetic, is on display at Redefine Gallery.

© Boy Kong / Courtesy of Redefine Gallery

Crummy Gummy

Crummy Gummy is a nationally known contemporary photographer based out of Orlando. His work ranges from poking fun at plastic surgery gone too far to his latest artistic endeavor, Airheads. Crummy Gummy used other artists of varying types—photographers, ballet dancers, street artists—to draw an expression reflective of their personality on a balloon. View Crummy Gummy’s work at Redefine Gallery or visit the artist’s website.

© Crummy Gummy / Courtesy of Redefine Gallery

Bayo (a.k.a. Eduardo Flores)

Self-taught artist Bayo found his passion at a young age and has since worked all over the U.S. and Mexico as an art director and illustrator. Viewers will notice that most of Bayo’s subjects never look straight on and depict deep emotion from a vulnerable state. The artist has garnered attention from major galleries as well as critics and bloggers, and rightfully so, as such intricate lines capture the complexity of human feelings.

© Bayo / Courtesy of Redefine Gallery

Peter Van Flores

Peter Van Flores is an artist originally from the Lower East Side in New York City and has produced a mass amount of work in Orlando. His work draws inspiration from graffiti, vintage comics, and American icons. He will be part of a three-man show, titled Chevauchement Urban, at Redefine Gallery on July 20th from 6–10 pm.

© Peter Van Flores / Courtesy of Redefine Gallery

(Steve) Parker

The Orlando-based artist wears many hats, from the owner of Redefine Gallery to art instructor at Full Sail University, and his art is just as diverse. From fun-loving and whimsical sketches to more intense, dynamic paintings, Parker does a great job of reaching a myriad of viewers with his range of creations.

© Parker / Courtesy of Redefine Gallery

Geoffry Sprague

Depending on the viewer, Sprague’s art has been labeled everything from darkly humorous to whimsical fun. The artist begins each piece with a plan but follows where his subconscious leads him, letting the characters emerge accordingly. Creating sculptures which twist literal themes and familiar ideas into visual puns through clay and papier-mâché, viewers can enjoy details such as cigarettes, shoelaces, and even bandages on a monkey’s tail, all encouraging them to come to their own conclusions as they linger over the sculpture.

© Geoffry Sprague / Courtesy of the artist