Mastermind 2012 Honorable Mention: Leyden Rodriguez-Casanova

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Miami New Times' Mastermind Awards honors the city's most inspiring creatives. This year, we received more than 150 submissions, which our staff narrowed to an elite group of 30. We'll be profiling our honorable mentions, and eventually the finalists, in the weeks to come. This year's three Mastermind Award winners will be announced March 8 at Artopia, our annual soiree celebrating Miami culture. For tickets and more information, visit the website.

Leyden Rodriguez-Casanova

Boasting exhibitions in New York, Miami, L.A., Capri, Basel, and Paris, Leyden Rodriguez-Casanova's work is just as fabulous as his fancy last name. (Believe it or not, we didn't intentionally feature an artist named Casanova on Valentine's Day. We swear.)

Rodriguez-Casanova immigrated to the U.S. in 1980 during the Mariel boat lift. Since then, he's lived and worked in Miami, creating a life with his wife, his daughter, and his unique takes on the ordinary.

Take window blinds, for example. How would you even begin to elevate such an everyday object to the level of art? Paint them? Bend them into shapes? Rodriguez-Casanova doesn't do that. Instead, he drapes them over a table.

​It even kind of looks like a melting piano, almost Dali-esque. It's so simple, it's mind-boggling.

In 2010 Rodriguez-Casanova received the South Florida Cultural Corsortium Fellowship for Visual & Media Arts, but currently the award stud is working on a solo exhibition in Bogota, Colombia, set for this fall. But you don't have to head to South America to see his work -- just look in your own backyard. Rodriguez-Casanova was awarded his first public commission in Miami-Dade County for an interactive sculptural environment. That's scheduled to be completed this fall as well.

He described his work as challenging the "absoluteness of psychological and utilitarian narratives existing in the experience and memory of familiar object." He says he's inspired "by realms of personal space such as domestic architecture, furnishings and lawns."

This one's called "Fifteen Black Reflections." Can you guess why? Fine, we'll tell you what we think. A photo frame with fifteen individual spaces for pictures, usually portraits. The black background tells us anything that would've been photographed here is instead a metaphoric reflection of black. Whether black is supposed to be negative or neutral, we're not sure... but geez! Way to get us thinking with a simple frame and a black background.

Honorable Mentions:

Hialeah Haikus

Jonathan David Kane

Eddy "Earthtone" Vegas

Bannavis Andrew Sribyata
Sarah Kontoff Baker
Jason Snyder
Valeria Yamamoto
Jayme Gershen

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