These local artists found a “muse” in their Hispanic culture and the Corridor
From bright pink flamingos in the Everglades to towering trees and teal springs in the Ocala National Forest, it’s hard not to feel a spark of creativity when immersed in the Florida Wildlife Corridor.
Florida is full of artists with rich and diverse backgrounds. For these artists, Florida’s wild places provide a never-ending fountain of inspiration in everything from paintings to sculptures to murals and much more.
We talked to four local Hispanic artists who draw inspiration from their home state and heritage to create art that both honors their background and raises awareness about Florida’s precious ecosystem.
Responses have been edited for clarity and brevity.
Raised near the Ocala National Forest with roots in Puerto Rico, Amanda Acevedo McClure takes inspiration from her heritage and Florida’s unique, vibrant natural places. Her work includes eye-catching paintings of nature, wildlife and people, especially those overlooked in society.
I returned home with new eyes for the stunning nature surrounding me in Florida. I have spent the last decade hiking, camping and of course, painting the wildlife that make our home here in Florida so incredibly special.”
An engineer by day and self-taught artist by night, Michelle Irizarry Ortiz paints colorful and thought-provoking works featuring water, wildlife, people and more. She uses her art to raise environmental awareness, and writes a blog covering topics such as sustainability in the arts, the environment and climate change.
As a Water Resources Engineer, I am especially sensitive to environmental causes, so water is a common theme in much of my artwork. Florida’s blue waters, diverse landscapes and wildlife also provide plenty of inspiration. I am a climate and environmental activist and, together with my daughters, have advocated for climate action and environmental protections. I also curate local environmental art shows in the Central Florida area, to educate the public on the plight of our environment and climate change topics.”
Adorable Monique is an award-winning artist who grew up in Honduras and now lives in Southwest Florida. She paints scenes of Florida’s abundant wildlife and natural environment, such as the birds and the Everglades, to raise awareness about its sacredness and fragility. She views art and nature as a way to connect with oneself.
As a Floridian, it is an ultimate gift to be part of the bountiful and consequential importance of the sustainability of the region and the world, such as the Everglades and the Florida Wildlife Corridor, which support ecosystems for lifecycles to evolve.
The vivid colors portrayed in my artwork convey meaning beyond color. Forms, shapes, outlines and contrasts represent trees, birds, water and all other elements that elevate our beloved wildlife passageway. Art is my way of being an advocate to raise awareness about safeguarding the environment and its legacy for future generations.”
A self-taught, Cuban-born artist based in Miami, Rei Ramirez is heavily influenced by the animals and nature of South Florida. His paintings and murals convey the electric Miami scene and the diverse cultures and wildlife in the region.
I seek to capture the passionate nature of my people, especially women studies, in my portrait work. I also seek to continue to build in my visions and create multi-faceted works featuring these different visual elements.”
Do you know a wildly talented Hispanic artist in the Corridor? Let us know @LiveWildlyFL!
Check out another wildly talented Hispanic artist in the Corridor.