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Monday, January 21, 2019

Nature is his biggest inspiration

The St. Stephen's Art Show and  Coconut Grove Arts Festival are February 16-18, 2019. We'll be profiling some of the artists who are participating this year. 

Meet Josh Brooke Cot
é Josh will be exhibiting his work at the Coconut Grove Arts Festival for the first time this year. He lives in Bakersville, NC, which is right near Asheville, the arts and culture center of the state. He is married to Pam Cote a non-profit development grant writer for 18 years, "No kids but three beloved rescue cats and one rescue dog!" says Josh.


 Josh has shown his work around the country. "I have lived on West Coast near Seattle and also Eugene Oregon and have done shows across the country all the way to the East Coast including Bellevue Art Museum, WA; New Orleans Jazz Festival, Des Moines Art Festival, Winter Park, FL, Columbus, OH, Sedona, AZ and many more," he says.

He has won numerous awards over the years including Best In Show for his sculptures. However the collages he will be bringing to Coconut Grove have never been to another art festival. So this is something to look forward to.

Josh is known for his wire work, but you will see his hand cut paper collage at the show this year. He says, "Working with wire and steel sculpture has taken a toll on my hands, using pliers for 12 hours a day, as I've gotten older, I have this past year begun to create 2D hand cut paper collages which is the sole medium that I will be exhibiting at Coconut Grove."


Josh's restored 1912 farmhouse with one of his concrete sculptures, "Death Rides a Girl's Bike."

Josh's collage work space is a light-filled sun room, an addition to his restored 1912 farmhouse in the mountains near the Appalachian trail.

Over the years, he has had many great influences and inspirations, "First of whom was my father who was an artist for 25 years, also come to mind are literary inspirations e.g. Dr. Seuss, Lewis Carroll...but big visual influences for me include Heironymous Bosch, Carravagio, Brueghel, and contemporary artists like Odd Nerdrum,  Kris Kuksi, Will Kurtz and Joel Peter Witkin," he says.


Josh and one of his rabbits.

I asked Josh about the rabbits, he likes to create lots of rabbits (see his website for lots of them - cotefineart.com. 

"Yes the rabbits influence my work greatly too...they are magical...my muse, and the keepers of my art portal... They must be my totem animal...It all begins with my childhood stuffed animal bunny, long story short, I was separated from my cherished stuffed animal Peter Rabbit and it traumatized me a bit.

"Was I born into this world clutching my favorite stuffed animal, a blue felt, moleskin bunny? It seems so. My earliest memories are inseparable with my stuffed animal named simply: Bunny, my twin. Dangerous forays into the woods, splashing in mud-puddles or even field-trips to the dump: Bunny was always right there alongside me!

"I grew up in the the generation before our current litigious society emerged its ugly head. It was the 70's in Waitsfield, Vermont. I was 6 years old. Kids got to go the dump and play there. When my Dad went to the dump to take real garbage, he would take my brother and I along (Bunny gets to go!) The dump was a fantasy land of treasure. I remember finding ancient Chinese coins, a coil of copper wire, and once, a discarded animal: Peter, a stuffed rabbit.  Peter became just as close as Bunny.

"Trauma struck one day, when we moved from Vermont back to Michigan. Eight hours into the drive, I joltingly remembered that Peter was still in my bedroom closet back in Vermont! Why we never turned around or why Peter was not shipped back to me, is lost....new bunnies came into my life, but Peter is forever lost...until... pulled out of the portal here, he lives once again in the medium of wire. Never grow up..."


“From Death Springs Life” 48 X 48 inches, hand-cut paper collage. 

Josh grew up drawing and painting, he watched his father draw and paint and it quickly became something that Josh was good at. "I have always, drawn, painted, carved wood, stone, clay, wire, now collage...Yes, I did start twisting wire one day, I was headed to a wedding and did not have a gift to bring, I used a pile of old electrical wire I had been saving and made my first wire sculpture: a fish," he says.

Josh loves nature, you can see it in his work. He has always lived in rural mountains or remote spaces, for sanity and for inspiration. "Nature has been a huge inspiration for me, a great teacher, with natural forms, color and light, colors my imagination and inspiration for dreams, myth and my art."

Josh has a history with the Coconut Grove Arts Festival, he told me, "About forty three years ago at the Coconut Grove Art Festival, I was a five year old child and my parents (who were artists and had a booth at the art festival) lost track of me for two hours! This was indeed a life altering event as I felt saturated in the cacophony of the art and artists of the fair. As if a floodgate had been opened and I was released like a minnow into a fascinating colorful world, alone. Fear turned into fascination. This drifting feeling of freedom and art has impacted my life to this day. I was found on the beach drawing in the sand, safe and sound."


“Sunday Drive” 6 feet tall 4 feet wide, hand cut paper collage, mixed media.

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Sunday, January 20, 2019

Full moon, live music, drinks and food!

The "Permanent Vacation" block party on Saturday night was excellent. The party was on Main Highway from Fuller Street down to Commodore Plaza, sponsored by the BID. The whole Grove was quite crowded last night. We also spied J-lo and A-Rod dining at Strada. Everyone was out last night! Bars lined the street, local restaurants sold food, and there was live music.


Siri from Atchana's, dishing out delicious Thai food.
Locos Por Juana performed along with Soulixer.



Here are some of the crew from The Spillover at their booth.

Pets enjoyed the block party, too.



The full moon glowed down over the crowd.




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Saturday, January 19, 2019

Saturday night block party and Romeo & Juliet

The free block party is from 7 to 10 pm tonight, January 19, and right up the block is Shakespeare in the Park, featuring Romeo & Juliet, at The Barnacle which starts at 8 pm and will be repeated on Sunday, January 20, at 6 pm. It's sort of free, but not free because The Barnacle will request $2 from each person to enter the park. 

The Coconut Grove Bike Valet will be set up at St. Stephen's on Saturday from 6 to 10 pm, so you can bike over and not worry about parking. They'll be at the church courtyard on Main Highway. Look for the "Free Bike Valet Parking" banner.

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Join the Strut wrap-up party

The King Mango Strut wrap-up party is Sunday, January 27 from 3 to 7 pm at The Taurus.

The video that was shot of the parade will be shown. Live music will be performed by Mr. Ree.

Bring the family, stop by even if you were not part of the parade. Strut t-shirts will be available for $15 each, too.

The Taurus is at 3540 Main Highway.

Check out pictures from this year's Strut here at our Facebook page.




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Friday, January 18, 2019

First Bingo of the year at Woman's Club

Bingo is back at the Woman's Club of Coconut Grove, it's the first game of the new year on Thursday, January 24. Doors open at 6:30 pm.

Admission is $5 for adults and free for kids under 12. Cards are $1 each, minimum of 5 games.

Enjoy free refreshments and snacks. The last game prize is $1000 cash with a full bingo card of 46 numbers called.

All proceeds benefit the club.

Parking is at St. Stephen's for a flat rate of $3, mention bingo when parking.

The Woman's Club is at 2985 South Bayshore Drive. 



Adv.
=== 
The Arbor - A boutique eco-living community in Coconut Grove. Check it out.
===


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'Permanent Vacation' block party is Saturday

The "Permanent Vacation" block party is Saturday, January 19. And it's the perfect time for a staycation with all the wicked winter weather sweeping through the rest of the country this weekend. Come out to Main Highway between Fuller Street down to Commodore Plaza and enjoy!

From 7 to 10 pm, come out to the free event where you'll find a "beachy celebration" will all sorts of live music from Reggae to World Music. Locos Por Juana (shown here) 'will be performing along with Agape who will open for them.

Locos Por Juana is a Grammy and Latin Grammy nominated bi-lingual group. Itawe Correa is the lead singer, along with guitarist Mark Kondrat, drummer Javier Delgado, and bass player David Pransky. They write and produce their own music.

Locos was voted Best Latin Band in 2017 by Miami New Times.

Local restaurants will have spots on the street, selling food and there's a kids corner with interactive experiences.




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Thursday, January 17, 2019

Vizcaya's Dinner Bouquet family program

Sample light bites from Vizcaya’s kitchen garden and get hands-on experience working with herbs. Create an edible arrangement to take home and get cooking with the family. This event is February 10 from 2 to 4 pm.

Anthology Floristry leads this family program to create an edible arrangement of herbs and produce. This program takes place in the Vizcaya Village, across the street from the Main House and Gardens. This was originally Vizcaya's Farm Village.

Each month, family programs offer adults and children the opportunity to make meaningful memories. Programs are different each month, and highlight art, history and the natural environments so there is always something new to do at Vizcaya together.

Adults: $22; Child, 6-12 years: $10; Children 5 and under: free; Teens, 13-17 years: $15; Seniors 65 and above: $16. Tickets may be purchased here. There is no cost for Vizcaya members.

Family programs are designed for children ages 6-12 and their families. There must be at least one child, aged 6-12, in the group to attend the program. Get a family membership online today and enjoy the benefits of membership all year long – including free monthly family programs.

Vizcaya Village is at 3250 S. Miami Avenue.



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Another one ready to bite the dust

This home on Avocado is next on the chopping block, it is slated for demolition. You can walk up and down the streets and pick and choose which house is next. The sad part about this house is that it's in The Tropical Cottage book that was published a few years ago about the great homes in Coconut Grove. 

The book description says, "Coconut Grove is a seaside hideaway filled with modest homes and charming cottages that have been nurtured, preserved, and artfully updated for today. Houses washed with white set amidst abundant gardens recall Eden."

But at the rate the developers are going, this will all end up as white boxy houses. It's got to stop.

There is a meeting at City Hall regarding the new NCD legislation, on Thursday, January 24 at 5 pm. Bodies are needed to show up and speak on the issue. Let our commissioners know how you feel. Right now whatever NCD we have is not being obeyed, we need stricter rules. Zero lot lines need to be dissolved as an option, the size of the home needs to fit the lot, knocking down houses needs to be controlled like it is in other municipalities in the county.

I truly feel our commissioners in the City of Miami don't care, the dollars they get from developers are more important to them. But something needs to be done. our village is being destroyed house by house. It's gotten to be a joke at this point and an insult, the developers don't care, they are picking out houses one by one, destroying the neighborhoods.

Something to note: There is no money for the preservation the Marjory Stoneman Douglas cottage, the Mariah Brown home on Charles Avenue, or the City-owned 1897 Flagler Worker’s House (the last known building in Miami directly associated with Flagler).



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Wednesday, January 16, 2019

The Grove as described in a travel guide

“Coconut Grove is a more variegated mosaic. Historically the focus of Miami’s intellectual, bohemian community it also incorporates the blighted ‘Black Grove,’ an area plagued by high crime rates, drugs and deprivation, where many of the descendants of Bahamian workers have settled.”

That is a description in a travel guide. 

An employee at Books & Books happened to see it and pulled the book from the shelves, calling it racist.

Story in Miami Herald.

Your thoughts?

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Romeo & Juliet at free Shakespeare in the Park

A Romeo & Juliet performance in the Grove in 2011.

Florida Shakespeare Theater present is presenting Romeo and Juliet at The Barnacle.

In William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, a long simmering feud between two noble families erupts in the city of Verona. Forced to choose between love and loyalty, the  blood  feud and a cruel twist of  fate, brings about a tragic ending for the young lovers, Romeo and Juliet. Since it was written around 1595, Romeo and Juliet has been in almost continual production across the globe, and is arguably his most beloved play.  

Jordon Armstrong plays Romeo and Susannah Eig plays Juliet, also in the cast are Samantha Kaufman, Joseph Ross, Joe Folocco and a whole cast of others.

These free performances begin at 8 pm on Friday and Saturday, January 18 and 19 and at 6 pm on Sunday, January 20. A $2 donation is suggested, and a limited number of VIP seats are available at $35 each. Proceeds benefit the park’s education programs. 

Directed by Colleen Stovall, this production features a full cast of professional actors, period costumes and period sword fighting.  Please visit FloridaShakes.com for more dates, times and locations and for details about the production.

The Barnacle is at 3485 Main Highway. 



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Light, angles and nostalgia; lots of nostalgia

The St. Stephen's Art Show and  Coconut Grove Arts Festival are February 16-18, 2019. We'll be profiling some of the artists who are participating this year. 


Larry Shane, photo by Nick Ondarza

Larry Shane, local photographer, is known for his photos of iconic Miami places that are now gone or on their way out. The nostalgia and his eye for the perfect shot have made him quite popular on the art show circuit. Larry will be part of the St. Stephen's Show this year. I asked him about his art.


GRAPEVINE: Your photography is one of the most popular at the art shows, what gave you the idea to start photographing these old places before they were totally gone? 
LARRY: Believe it or not I started with tulips from Holland along with some various Miami architecture (odd combination). My work morphed into what it is today largely due to my having chronicled the end days and subsequent demolition of the Orange Bowl. I was merely documenting it for my own archive, however, it was after the fact that I realized I had some marketable shots. 

I've always been attracted to roadside architecture, neon signs and remnants of the past. I began to realize that things were disappearing at an ever increasing rate, and I felt it important to capture them before it was too late. We drive by things every day and they're always there,  until one day you go by and it's gone. I take great joy in the smiles and memories that my work evokes in those that stop by during art shows. It's a large reason why I do what I do. 
GRAPEVINE: Which is the most popular image you sell? What sells the most? 
LARRY: My most popular images these days tend to be Fox's Lounge, Tobacco Road, Jimbo's Shrimp and Scotty's Landing (after the Orange Bowl lol ).
GRAPEVINE: Other than Scotty's Landing, have you photographed any other images in Coconut Grove? Which ones from the past? Which ones are in danger of being gone soon? 
LARRY: I absolutely love shooting the Grove. I grew up hanging out there as a teen and lived in the Grove in the '90s. Aside from being my go to happy place at the Marina for sunset's and sailboats I've gathered shots of the Taurus, The Playhouse, Plymouth Church, Carrollton School, Vizcaya, the now shuttered Planetarium, businesses that have been around a long time such as Maya Hatcha, The Tavern, Robin in the Grove, etc. I've also shot Cocowalk before it's current massive reconstruction effort, as well as other familiar Grove architecture and scenes. I have also shot in the West Grove, from the Bahamian cottages to the shameful substandard apartment blocks that line Grand Avenue. As for endangered, of course, the Playhouse tops the list. After that I'm concerned about Maya Hatcha, Tavern and Robin in the Grove since the building has recently changed hands which usually signals exorbitant rent increases. I'm also not overjoyed with the excessive commercial and residential development that has transformed Miami's most charming village into what it is today. 
GRAPEVINE:  Do you work digitally or with old fashioned film? 
LARRY: It's all digital these days (for me at least). That allows me to shoot 1000-1500 images in a day or weekend without having to worry about the cost of film.
GRAPEVINE: The angles of the shots are what make the images art, along with the nostalgic value. Do you edit while shooting or later after in Photoshop? 
LARRY: It's always about the 'angle' (composition) and light. Many people may shoot the same thing but if you can get it 'different' it will stand out. I like to fill up the frame and have developed a style where I shoot from a down low position which gives my subject a more dramatic presence, I feel. As for post production editing, I don't like to over process or create something that wasn't there to begin with. I may do slight color and/or light correction, a bit of cropping as needed and a small boost to saturate color (which often times the camera doesn't capture the way our eyes see it).  

Larry at last week's Beaux Arts Festival

GRAPEVINE: What famous photographer would you like to have photograph you? 
GRAPEVINE: If you could go back in time and save just one structure that is now long gone, which would it be? 
LARRY: Oh my, what a question. I hate to come full circle but it has to be the one that evokes the most passion and emotion and that is, of course, the Orange Bowl. It's the one place that has touched most everyone's life here in South Florida; whether your high school played there, or you were in the band, a cheerleader,  the legendary Dolphins and Canes history, concerts and even it's use during crisis situations. It's the place that has touched an overwhelming majority of Miami in so many ways.
GRAPEVINE: I see you at all hours posting photos online from one end of the county to the other. I've seen you inside the demolition of the Miami Herald and also in the Florida Keys. When do you sleep?
LARRY: Ha ha ! As this is my passion there is never a moment when I couldn't just head out and shoot till I run out of battery. I am a night owl so I do tend to sleep in on weekends which is not great because the best light is in the morning and later in the afternoon when the sun is at an angle. So, to answer your question, I try and get my 8 on weekends and typically 6 or 7 during the week.
GRAPEVINE: Thanks, Larry! See you at the Art Show next month!

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Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Fairchild's Chocolate Festival is back

 The 13th Annual International Chocolate Festival is back at Fairchild Garden from Friday, January 25 through Sunday, January 27.

Indulge in chocolate delicacies during the season's most delicious event. Enjoy fine chocolate samples from artisan chocolatiers, lectures on chocolate making and demonstrations from Miami's master chefs and chocolatiers. Take the ChocoWalk to learn about the life cycle of a cacao plant, with stops in the Rainforest and more. 


Find out everything you ever needed to know about chocolate from the experts.

Free for Fairchild Members
Adults: $25
Seniors (age 65 and up): $18
Children (ages 6-17): $12
Free for children 5 and younger

Get tickets and see the events and schedule here.


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Veg speed date Miami at Choices Cafe

Choices Cafe is holding a speed dating event, a week from today on Saturday, January 19 from 6 to 8 pm.

This is a Veg Speed Dating (for vegans) for ages 21 and up.

If you don't make a dating or friendship match your first try, your second event is half price.

They claim to help people find veg love, creating life-changing matches and love stories in the veg community. Veg Speed Date is exclusively for vegan and vegetarian singles. They have thought through every detail to make sure people have a great time, don’t need to worry about feeling rejected, and have the best chance of making that special connection. Since February 2017 they’ve been successfully running events in cities all over North America. The events have generated over 1000 veg love connections.

Expect a fun, friendly and new way to meet veg singles. Think of it like mini-chats, just getting to know someone, face-to-face, for a few minutes. Spots are limited to 30 participants, because they’ve found that an intimate, get-to-really-know-you setting works the best for making real connections. They also make sure there’s an equal gender ratio – or very close to it.

The chats/dates are five minutes each, you secretly choose who you like and then get your matches at midnight!

Get tickets here. Cost is $34.99 per ticket, plus a $2.22 service fee.


You can sign up here for a chance to win a free ticket to the event.

Choices Cafe is at 2895 McFarlane Road.

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Monday, January 14, 2019

Replacing history with replicas

The new Stirrup House

The new bed and breakfast at the former Stirrup House site on Charles Street is getting ready to open. I say former because the original Stirrup House was replaced with a duplicate. An excellent duplicate, but none the less, a duplicate. 

The EWF Stirrup House at 3242 Charles Avenue was built in 1897, it is/was the oldest house in Coconut Grove, other than the Barnacle, across the way, which was built in 1891. And while the Barnacle is revered and protected and used and appreciated, the Stirrup house sat and rotted for many years in the hands of the Stirrup family. 

Ebenezer Woodbury Franklin Stirrup, a Bahamian immigrant who settled in the Grove, built the two story house. Mr. Stirrup ended up being one of the largest land owners in the Grove, he lived in the house until his death in 1957, at the age of 84.

The shape of the original house a couple of years ago

It's sad that the original house was neglected so much that it had to be destroyed and rebuilt. Should the house be taken as being historic or just the ground it stands on? It was left to rot. Of course, right across the street is the Coconut Grove Playhouse, which is in the same situation. For over 12 years, it has been left to rot and what is its fate?

Charles Street is the most historic street in the Grove and yet it has the most problems.


Future site of new hotel?

Behind the playhouse there is a big empty lot. There are plans to put a hotel there. The one issue with neighbors is the zoning, will Charles Avenue now go from residential to commercial zoning? Will the hotel affect the neighborhood and will quiet Charles Avenue have to deal with excessive traffic?

It's interesting that no one has mentioned the proposed hotel yet. It's also interesting that neighbors never have a say in their own neighborhoods. It's all about developers and development in Miami and sadly, Coconut Grove, too.


Historic Charles Avenue, will this sign be the only thing remaining?

The new Stirrup House Bed & Breakfast.

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Sunday, January 13, 2019

Collecting used bikes for South Africa

Garth Friesen
In rural South Africa, many students walk up to 70 miles per week to get back and forth to school. Healthcare workers with no access to transportation see a limited number of patients a day. Productivity for entrepreneurs and farmers is limited to the goods they can carry to markets. A bicycle can address these needs.

On January 17, Cypress Creek Rotarian Garth Friesen will address the Coconut Grove Rotary about his club’s initiative to collect used bikes and ship them to South Africa. The club has sent 800 bikes in the last two years and another shipment is scheduled for this month.

Friesen is CEO at III Capital an investment management firm. A native of Canada, he has been in the finance industry for 25 years in London and New York, and he has lived in South Florida for the past 18 years.

The Rotary Club of Coconut Grove meets every Thursday at the Coconut Grove Sailing Club, 2990 South Bayshore Drive at 12:30 pm. The cost of the meeting is $25 with lunch or $10 without lunch. Open to the public.

Even if you don't get to the luncheon and have a bicycle or two you would like to donate, you can do that by contacting the Rotary at RotaryClubofCoconutGrove@gmail.com.

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Beaux Arts Festival is so enjoyable

It's a beautiful weekend for the Beaux Arts Festival at the University of Miami - sunny and perfect temps. A few of us went on Saturday and may go back Sunday, it's open from 10 am to 5 pm.
The great part about the Beaux Arts Festival is that it's free to enter - so bring the whole family! And the food and drink is a fraction of the cost of other arts festivals.
My favorites have to be the Coconut Grove Arts Festival and the St. Stephen's Art Show but Beaux Arts is a favorite too, and it's not going to make you go broke when you eat and drink. I got a pincho for $6.00 at Beaux which was $15 last year at the Grove Festival! I also got a fresh lemonade for $3.00, which is usually $5.00 and up in the Grove. Also, the ice cream guy is $6.00 at Beaux and much higher in the Grove. Parking is free at Beaux, too.


The City of Miami has so many restrictions and fees and police that it's impossible to have a free show with low prices. I don't blame the organizers, I blame the location. At UM, it's on private property so there are no city fees to be paid, also the police all seemed to be UM Police, not City of Coral Gables Police who would be paid overtime.
Anyway if you get a chance to go it's worth the trip across US1. It makes for a very enjoyable day.




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Saturday, January 12, 2019

His incredible sculptures are made of car parts

The St. Stephen's Art Show and  Coconut Grove Arts Festival are February 16-18, 2019. We'll be profiling some of the artists who are participating this year. 


Kyle and one of his fish creations.

Meet sculptor Kyle Pearce from Tarpon Springs, Florida, right on the Anclote River. 

"Matter of fact, I was living on a sailboat for a year before I got my house. I'm single, but have three great sons who don't live with me," says Kyle.

Kyle will be showing his work at the St. Stephen's Art Show. He's been doing the St. Stephen's show for about five years. He likes the show because, "they treat the artists great and I usually sell pretty well there also. I also bring my fishing rod and catch a boat trip each night after the show so it's a fun trip."

What is so cool about Kyle's sculptures is that they are made mostly from car parts including bumpers, hoods and fenders, and some mechanical parts. He gets a lot of his supplies from junkyards and body shops. Kyle says, "Repurposing stuff is great, plus I believe there is a spirit, or energy in everything, and stuff from accidents has a story to tell."

He tries to keep his art small enough so he can move it around by himself.

Kyle travels the country and does shows in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago plus a few local shows. "I love road trips so it's a good fit; I love fishing and motorcycles so Florida is a good fit also."


One of Kyle's motorcycle works.
He made the first biker sculpture from bumpers, the second from car hoods and bicycle parts and a third from raw steel. They are in a Harley dealership in New York, a Wheels Through Time Museum in North Carolina, and Long Beach Island, New jersey respectively.

Kyle says, "I like to work primitively, eschewing electric tools and welders for gas torches and a hammer. I make most of my bends with an English knee."

I asked Kyle if he could have his portrait painted by any artist, who would it be, he said, "I love old expressionist art and Henri Matisse. If I could have Matisse do a portrait of me it would be way cool, but with him being dead, I would have to go with Stephen Palladino. He's a great upcoming artist with a cool street style. Plus he's not dead."

I also asked Kyle how he goes about creating each piece, "I usually do a rough sketch to begin, then seldom look at it again as the piece starts to take on a life of it's own."

His customers include businesses such as Dale Jarrett Ford, museums, and collectors. Plus a lot of lawyers for some reason.

Kyle's work is unique and interesting and stands out among the other art at the St. Stephen's Art Show. Look for him this February. In the meantime, check his work out at his Instagram page here: instagram.com/kylepearcesculpture

Another Kyle creation.
A closeup of one of the pieces. Notice the detail.

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