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HOTBED: Local Art Students to Show Their Chops During Art Basel

Art Basel (and its satellite fairs, public art projects, high profile parties, and general cultural mayhem) is known for bringing the art world's biggest names to Miami. Think Warhol, Banksy, David Lynch. But plenty of lesser-known artists -- and Miami artists in particular -- take advantage of the increased cultural interest around town to put their names out there among the greats.

Take the HOTBED project for example, which will feature four art students hand-picked by local creatives. It's driven by a husband-and-wife filmmaker duo, Bill Bilowit and Grela Orihuela, who call themselves Wet Heat Project.

The idea for HOTBED came to Bilowit and Orihuela after they moved from New York City down to Miami and began to get a taste for the local art scene.

"There's just a freshness and an energy that was warm and open and inviting, and yet the work itself was mature," Bilowit said of Miami's arts scene. "Maybe the art dialogue was still young, because it's such a young city, and it doesn't have the sophistication that New York has, but the work itself certainly had the energy, and the work itself had the sophistication."

The scene wasn't elitist like New York or Los Angeles. Artists weren't jaded. They were excited not about prestige, but about making art and showing it. And most importantly, because the stakes aren't as high as they are in New York, Miami artists could mess around and take chances.

Bilowit and Orihuela just ask that participants in the HOTBED project don't sell their work at Art Basel. HOTBED is about giving young artists the chance to show their work on the international stage, without the added pressure of trying to sell or market their work.

This year, all the projects have one thing in common: They're videos created by students from the New World School of the Arts in Miami. Apart from that, they're distinctly different.

When redwing blackbirds began falling out of the sky last year, dying in staggering numbers for no discernible reason, Azizi DeSouza was moved. His video piece for HOTBED depicts the event using construction-paper cutouts in the shape of birds. From above the camera, he lets the silhouettes fall to the ground, creating his own mass death of blackbird cutouts.

Steven Marquez, who comes from a commercial photography background, plays with the viewer's sense of space. The video, which will be shown in a hotel, depicts an empty hotel room--its sterility, its sameness. No matter how lived in a hotel room is, its character never changes, Marquez said.

Jeffrey Noble, on the other hand, believes that the only constant is change. He got his start in art painting surfboards and skateboards for friends up in Melbourne Beach. He moved to Miami and quickly integrated himself into the scene, doing street art and painting murals during Art Basel. His HOTBED piece examines the similarities between particles of spray paint and particles of light. He'll record the droplets of spray paint as they hit and coat a sea of white mannequins.

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And lastly there's Sebastian Duncan Portuondo, whose primary medium is stained glass. Like Noble, with whom Protuondo has worked in the past, his art is about the passage of time and the movement of particulates. In his video piece, he plans to record the process of ice melting.

These videos will be shown on a loop in the lobby of the Deauville Beach Resort Hotel, home to NADA Art Fair, and when patrons have finished their cocktails and watched the videos in public, they can resign to their rooms and rewatch the films there.

Visit hotbedmiami.com.

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