“Miami inspires my colors…the loudness of my work.”
Ocean Drive teamed up with Miami born and bred artist Alexander Mijares to unveil his first large-format installation “Sail Away” during the December issue cover celebration at the Delano. Here, we chat with Mijares on the message behind the installation, giving back and how Miami inspires his work.
What was your inspiration behind “Sail Away" at the Delano?
When creating this body of work, my goal was to transform Delano’s Orchard with my art, transporting guests to another world. Travel has always been my biggest source of inspiration. It allows me to disconnect from the confines of everyday life and society. I hope that this installation provides people a moment of freedom from whatever it is that they are dealing with, and that they are able to “Sail Away.”
"Sail Away," is on display at the Delano.
Favorite moment during the unveiling at the Ocean Drive cover party with Bad Bunny?
Standing off to the side and seeing everyone’s reaction as they made their way from the back doors through Leynia to see the installation for the first time.
Your ballerina sculptures were also on display. What does the ballerina symbolize to you?
From an early age, I was exposed to ballet. My mother would bring me to the studio and I would sit and watch in awe as the dancers practiced for hours upon hours. I was taken by the beauty of the female body, the movements, balance, and more than anything, the commitment it takes to be a successful ballerina. I also saw the frustration, tears, anxiety, joy and many other emotions that play out backstage. Thinking back on this time, I felt a need to get this collection out of my system. “Backstage” is a celebration of women, their strength, perseverance, and beauty.
"Aida," silver and gold ballerina scuplture, photographed at the Delano
While creating the collection, many thoughts and emotions ran through my head. One recurring theme was how “Backstage” parallels the social media era we are living in today. Just like the ballerinas who hide the pain, anxiety, and tears on stage, many people portray a perfect life on social media, but behind closed doors are dealing with life’s issues. Painting this series reinforced the ideas of hard work and dedication. It is also a constant reminder to spread love and be there for the ones you love, as you don’t always know what’s going on backstage.
Tell us about your most recent philanthropic initiatives. How does it feel to create works that inspire and help others?
Philanthropy is something that I have been passionate about even before I started painting. I feel as though God gave me a gift, the gift to people to create. I read messages all the time from people who are going to sickness, hardship, and much more. They have told me how seeing my work when they wake up in the morning helps bring them joy and peace.
But the real truth behind it all is that as a kid I felt dumb because I lived outside of my classroom… Teachers often threw me out of class when I didn’t know what was going on. Because of that I felt I didn’t have anything to say, or even if I did, that people wouldn’t listen. So when I started to become known in the art world, schools started asking me to come to speak to students and that’s when I found my calling. I never wanted anyone to feel the way I did as a kid in school or to feel they were dumb because teachers didn’t understand them. So I began focusing all of my time working with kids, trying to inspire them to be the best version of themselves, no matter what life presented them.
"I believe the children are our future," oil on canvas, photographed at the Delano
Then I went on to start working with hospitals, orphanages and people from all walks of life and around the world. It wasn’t just about giving financial support and walking away, I’m very hands on. Wherever I donated art supplies, I’d also visit to teach and paint with the kids. If I donated funds to a town, I went there and brought fresh water. So it started that way and continued to grow. I just try to do the best I can to give back and use my gift to inspire others. I’m also working to start a foundation of my own.
How does Miami inspire you as an artist?
Miami inspires my colors, the loudness of my work and much more. Miami is filled with such Latin Culture that it’s easy to be inspired here. I am born and raised in Miami. It will forever be a part of what makes me, me!
What's next for Alexander Mijares?
Whats next…. Do more! Give Back! Spread love and positivity! Never forget to be myself, stay humble and continue to push the envelope with my work. I try every day to be better, to try new things with my work and to see how far I can go.
Photography by: Courtesy of Alexander Mijares