It wasn't like Serafin Debesa just woke up one day and decided he would risk everything and leave the corporate world behind.
"I had been feeling like something was missing for years," said Debesa over a Cuban coffee, surrounded by several of his thousands of pieces in the soon-to-be-opened Dimensional Art Gallery in Brickell. "Art has been important to me most of my life, and I felt there was something I could contribute."
So Debesa decided to leave his cushy job as operations manager for Majesty Cruise Line and devote everything to art. It couldn't be more difficult than coming to Miami from Cuba as a 1-year-old with his father, who was involved with the government of deposed President Batista. He began experimenting with different techniques.
"I knew I had an intention and direction," said Debesa. "The first thing you want to be assured of as an artist is that your work is unique, but still inspired by art and the beauty around you."
After about nine years and an incredible 2400 pieces, Debesa has come to identify himself as a "Miami dimensional artist." Its important for him, he says, to honor Miami, his adopted home and a place he has so much passion for. He defines dimensional art as having several layers. It's not just depth in the frame, but depth in the meaning and symbolism.
The gallery itself is a work of art, with three separate, gigantic murals on the front wall and surrounding fence. Inside, there is seldom a wall uncovered. Along with Debesa's work, artist Carlos Gonzalez' powerful paintings are on display, for sale at prices that start at several thousand dollars. His art ranges from exploration of religion to admiring the magnificence of the female body.
The detail in Gonzalez's and Debesa's paintings catches you off guard on occasion, such as the wrinkles on their subjects' faces and the use of shadows to add depth. Their work together is an example of how they envision the art industry.
"There is a brotherhood that should exist," said Gonzalez, who himself escaped Cuba after imprisonment due to his political beliefs. "There shouldn't be that sense of competition, but a sense of unity between artists. [We] envision an exhibition gallery where everyone can bring their art and be opinionated about each other's art. Art should be a social thing. [We] hate it when art turns into a business; it was never intended to be."
In addition to Gonzalez and Debesa, the artwork of Adriana Campo (above) will be featured, among others. Campo uses buttons in all her pieces, sometimes as people's heads or even the scales on a fish. The Dimensional Art Movement is alive in all the artists' work and will get its opportunity to shine Saturday as several pieces get auctioned in celebration of the gallery opening on SW Ninth Sreet.
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Dimensional Art Gallery opens with a reception at 2 p.m. Saturday at 132 SW Ninth St., Miami.