48. Alette Simmons-Jimenez

In honor of our MasterMind genius awards, Cultist proudly presents "100 Creatives," where we feature Miami's cultural superheroes in random order. Have suggestions for future profiles? Email [email protected] with the whos and whys.

48. Alette Simmons-Jimenez

Artist Alette Simmons-Jimenez says of her upbringing, "my background is totally mixed media." Only an artist would reflect on her life as a military brat bouncing from city to city with her pilot father and her artist mother through the context of art supplies and installations.

Her dad, "who had the brains," and her mom, "who had all the beauty," totally shaped her work. "Art was always part of our life. I grew up like a nomad and felt uncomfortable staying anywhere too long. I assimilated all the different cultures, people, languages, sights, sounds and smells, and my very eclectic life made for very eclectic work."

After getting her BFA at Newcomb College in New Orleans, Alette met her life partner and they sailed away to the Caribbean. She stayed there for 18 years. The Caribbean adventure paid off--her work was exhibited in the Dominican Republic and she began receiving recognition that was far from common for a female artist at the time.

She hit Miami in 1993 and was awarded studio space at the Art Center on Lincoln Road. Represented by galleries in Coral Gables and the Beach, Miami "eventually crept into the palette" and she began "to push some personal boundaries."

Since her running start in the Caribbean, she's gone on to win numerousawards, including Best of Show at the Mobile Museum of Art in Alabama, and the Young Jury Award from the Optica International Video Art Festival in Spain.

She formed the Wynwood Gallery, Artformz, after her kids left home, "to meet and exhibit work without concern for market constraints." Even though this former nomad has set down roots in Miami, she is still always metaphorically on the move, always in action. "For me life has always been a constantly evolving art project."

1. List five things that inspire you.

-My children (one finishing post grad work in Architecture at Harvard and the other finishing a Design Management degree at Parsons)
-The struggle for freedom
-Passionate and sincere people
-Ruth Asawa
-Sights, sounds, and smells of a walk in the forest

2. What was your last big project?

This year has been one project after the other. Last week I finished "The Spill Gates," a response to the word "spill" for the Miami Art Week show of the same name at Artformz. During the Art Fair Week, 250 people tossed, spilled, or threw paint at a black canvas suspended on a wall in the project room. They really enjoyed it and we all had the best time. Over the next weeks I responded to their work and finished the piece. I was totally surprised by my response--I didn't expect it. Nice! Everyone who participated signed a sheet that will be fixed to the back of the painting forever. I'm just waiting for the next chance to do another collaborative spill.

3. What's your next big project?

A few months ago I promised Ruth Grim, curator of exhibitions at the Appleton Museum of Art, [that] we'd sit down and discuss her idea of installing a large audience participatory piece of mine in 2011, "Suspended Spiral." Right now I'm moving my studio. I work in multiple media and I have sculpture, gobs of tools and supplies, pedestals, technical equipment, paintings, tons of files and documentation, a library and just so much stuff. But as soon as I'm settled in my new space I'm ready.

4. Why do you do what you do?

I am driven and obsessed, why and to what end, I'm hoping God knows. I remember once upon a time I thought I should stop, but I never have, it would seem I have no choice.

5. What's something you want Miami to know about you?

I want Miami to know about my work.

What's something you don't want Miami to know about you?

Mama always said, "If you don't want anyone to know--don't tell anyone."

The Creatives so far:

49. Tawnie Silva
50. Ginger Bardot
51. Jonathan David Kane
52. Naomi Fisher
53. Rocky Grimes
54. Teresa Barcelo
55. Paul Tei
56. Lee Materazzi

57. Karla Garcia
58. Anna Mixon
59. Octavio Campos
60. P. Scott Cunningham
61. Elena Garcia
62. Summer Hill
63. Autumn Casey
64. Juan Navarro
65. Serge Toussaint
66. David Rohn
67. Diane Brache
68. Spencer Morin
69. James Anthony
70. Jim Drain
71. Claudia Calle
72. Kevin Arrow

73. Andrew Hevia
74. Ana Mendez
75. Michael McKeever
76. Diana Lozano
77. Ricardo Pau-Llosa
78. Agustina Woodgate
79. Tarell Alvin McCraney
80. Jennifer Kronenberg
81. Farley Aguilar
82. Colin Foord
83. Karelle Levy
84. Matt Gajewski
85. Antonia Wright
86. Allen Charles Klein
87. Christy Gast
88. Gustavo Matamoros
89. Shareen Rubiera-Sarwar

90. Kyle Trowbridge
91. Clifton Childree
92. Jessica Gross
93. Danny Brito
94. Nektar de Stagni
95. Anthony Spinello
96. Vanessa Garcia
97. Justin Long
98. Rosie Herrera
99. Rick Falcon

100. Ingrid B

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Ily Goyanes
Contact: Ily Goyanes