MEET THE NEXT GENERATION OF MIAMI’S BRILLIANT, CUTTING-EDGE ART AND CULTURE INNOVATORS WHO ARE RESHAPING THE WAY WE VIEW AND APPRECIATE THE BEAUTY AROUND US.
PHOTO BY IRA CHERNOVA
AUSTYN WEINER, ARTIST, (@austyn)
When did you first get into art? I was 12 and it was in my seventh grade photography class. I made a bad print in the darkroom and my teacher handed me some Mod Podge, black paint and an old newspaper and said, ‘Well, make something of it.’
How did you take it from a passion to a career?
Once I decided to leave school to pursue my art, I put myself in a position where I had no choice but to sink or swim, so I glued myself to my studio and through the work I found my practice. Those first few years were an integral part of laying down the foundation for my work ethic. I decided then that this would be my everything, and I let the lines between my work and myself dissolve.
Was there a particular moment or piece that resulted in your work taking off ?
Not really. There are moments and paintings that felt monumental at the time, but when I look back I see each one as the piece of the puzzle that brought me to the next; so cumulative and so divine. Everything really is constantly morphing, changing and reinventing itself, and with every painting I try to allow that same openness and detachment to occur.
PHOTO BY DARIAN DICIANNO
CHIARA DIGIALLORENZO, ART MANAGEMENT, (@chiaradigiallorenzo)
How did you enter the art industry?
I’ve loved art and have been surrounded by it for as long as I can remember. I had knowledge of the history of art from my studies, and I had just left a big agency experience at IMG. In retrospect, I found a way to blend my skills with the talented emerging artists that surrounded me. My niche is art-based management, production, partnerships and everything in between.
The NFT world has been a whirlwind of an industry shift and you are at the forefront of it. What is it like?
I went from being someone who was not tech-savvy to speaking about the blockchain on a daily basis—it has been ever-changing to say the least. My introduction to the medium was in the fall of 2020 with artist Trevor Andrew (Gucci Ghost). I was initially skeptical, but I have to thank and credit the artists that I’ve worked with for being such early adopters and pioneers in the space. NFTs have challenged the traditional constructs of the art industry, finally providing artists a vehicle to participate in secondary market transactions. The whole experience has been a major highlight of my career.
What does the future of the art world look like to you five years from now?
It’s hard to say for certain, but I’m confident that the contemporary art market will only continue to grow and NFTs will continue to develop more utility. We’ve already begun to see the integration into gaming, and it won’t be long until film and TV follow suit. I see the future being more collaborative and exciting.
PHOTO COURTESY OF RICHARD BENCOSME
When did you know you wanted to pursue a creative field?
As a child, I had an undying passion for art, but I really deep-dived into it after I started my first footwear brand, Del Toro. Through Del Toro, I released a variety of collaborations including Daniel Arsham, Rob Pruitt, Brent Wadden, Katherine Bernhardt, Eduardo Sarabia and Richard Woods, among others. After years of collecting, I grew a profound understanding of the art industry, resulting in the launch of my art gallery, THE OFFICE. I wanted to bring a more relaxed and trustworthy experience for clients when purchasing art, and simultaneously help emerging artists by giving them a platform.
Tell us about your latest exhibition at THE OFFICE. with Eduardo Sarabia.
I’m thrilled that we are able to present new works by Eduardo Sarabia, a longtime friend and brilliant artist, during Art Week. At the foundation of the exhibition, titled Sacred Tree (translated from Ceiba Sagrada), are the trips that Sarabia has made for personal reasons but also as multicultural explorations. These journeys emerge from anecdotes of narco-culture to approximations of the shamans of southern Mexico and their search for the Quetzal. The micro stories contained in his work display senses of power, with hidden learnings, with faith or with different belief systems. The Sacred Tree series invites the viewer to question the reasons why we no longer attend to spiritual issues as our ancestors once did, and to reflect if, perhaps, it is a good time to return to it.
PHOTO BY GENESIS BONILLA
FREDDY SEIKALY, ART COLLECTOR, PHILANTHROPIST, (@freddyseikaly)
I know you are an avid collector. Tell us about some of the highlights of your personal art collection?
As a collector, I strive to surround myself with objects that give me an emotional response. I have met and built meaningful relationships with many of the artists in my collection, which is eclectic and includes a wide range of styles. Some of the recent highlights include works by Kenny Scharf, Eddie Arroyo, Alex Sewell, Sam Jablon and Carlos Betancourt.
When did you start collecting?
I’ve always been a collector, but my foray into contemporary art began at 18 years old. I grew up immersed in art. In my childhood bedroom I had a large dramatic work by Purvis Young, which sparked an interest in discovering local artists. I regularly visited artist studios with my family where I acquired my first work—a photograph by Carlos Betancourt, who has since become a dear friend.
How would you like to contribute to the Miami landscape of art and design?
Art has played an essential role in my life and has brought me immense joy. I hope to continue to support the world-class organizations in Miami that bring the same sense of joy to our community. I have been an active member of several museums including The Bass and Pompidou Museum and have curated fundraising exhibits for charitable organizations I support. I plan to further my involvement with local museums and continue to support and highlight local Miami artists as a collector and as I curate my next fundraising exhibit.
PHOTO BY GENESIS BONILLA
TATIANA SEIKALY, INTERIOR DESIGNER, (@tatiseikaly)
Tell us about your passion for interior design. What sparked this?
Growing up, my brother and I spent our summers visiting our family in Lebanon and Greece. During our travels, our parents always took us to visit the local artisans, museums and historical sites. These travel experiences were the start of my love for art, design and architecture. I was inspired by the way people live in different parts of the world. From the intricate design of Lebanon’s architecture to the soft and minimal architecture of the Greek islands, both were so different but equally beautiful. I love being able to bring these two cultures together in my designs.
How did your Instagram account @chairsonchairs come about?
I wanted a place to catalog all the unique chairs that I came across. I would write the chair name, the designer and what galleries or stores it could be purchased from. To my surprise, I realized there wasn’t an Instagram page solely dedicated to chairs where ‘chair aficionados’ like myself could scroll through. Now designers are constantly sending me their chairs to post.
What are some of your favorite design trends of the moment?
I love seeing timeless interiors and trends come together. At the moment I’m very into bold colors, specifically in kitchens. My design firm Studio Seikaly is currently renovating a beautiful art deco home on Miami Beach. We designed an all-green kitchen referencing the original green terrazzo flooring of the home’s living room.
PHOTO BY GESI SCHILLING
When did your love and appreciation for the arts begin?
Did you always know you wanted to work in the field? Art has always been a part of my life. It is our ongoing goal that ICA Miami can have a similarly profound educational impact on youth in our community.
Tell us about your role as artistic director for ICA—what does your job look like?
As artistic director I am responsible for the creative vision of the museum—exhibitions, collections, programs and education, as well as its long-term strategy. I work to create a community around our museum and ensure that it is dynamic and diverse.
Who are some artists to keep our eyes on for the next generation of talent?
This is a moment of extremely high-quality artistic production across the globe. It is also an incredibly dynamic time in Miami. Of Miami-based emerging artists alone, I would highlight Houston Cypress, Tomm El- Saieh, Reginald O’Neal, Bernadette Despujols and Jared McGriff, among many others.
PHOTO BY BROTHER JUNIOR, SOFA BY BRANDI HOWE
When did your love for art and design begin?
My love for design and art began when I had the freedom of living alone and could design my own living space. I was excited to go home, and when I was home I didn’t want to leave. My home was and is a true expression of myself, so I feel the most comfort there. I began to understand the significance of my surroundings and the effects it had on my mood. My way of sharing this experience with other people is through design.
Tell us about your design process—what inspires you?
I feel very drawn to the aesthetic of the 1960s era. Not only the innovative design but the way they lived, the style, architecture and interiors are so eye-catching to me. The designers that I look up to the most from the ’60s would be Verner Panton and Jack Lenor Larsen. When I design interiors or sets, I always end up mixing prints, colors and antique finds that break all the rules. I do not believe less is more. When I design textiles, my inspiration is drawn from sunsets. My sunset obsession stems from my love of a perfect color palette. I match the shades and colors from the sunset and use it for every textile I create. Ironically, my furniture designs and ideas have all been inspired by the biomorphic shapes and unique textures of the coral reef, so our planet has been a huge inspiration to me.
Photography by: Courtesy of Unsplash