Miami New Times' MasterMind Awards honors the city's most inspiring creatives. This week, we're profiling the 10 finalists, selected by our staff from over 100 submissions, who are in the running to receive one of three 2013 MasterMind awards, each of which comes with a fat $1,000 check. This year's MasterMind Award winners will be announced Thursday, February 28, at Artopia, our annual soiree celebrating Miami culture. For tickets and more information, visit the website.
It took a visit to wintry Sweden for the TM Sisters to realize the extent to which the Magic City's neon aesthetic animates their work. In fact, insatiably inventive siblings Monica and Tasha Lopez De Victoria consider the 305's relentless energy their medium.
"We didn't realize how influenced by Miami we were until we started traveling," the 32-year-old Monica says.
Tasha, who is three years younger, adds, "In Stockholm, where we went to deliver a lecture, we were shocked at how homogeneous and muted everything is. Everywhere you turned, the colors were like these different, monochromatic shades of gray."
Born in Miami and raised in West Kendall, both sisters were home-schooled before selecting high schools for the arts curriculum: Tasha chose South Miami Senior High, and Monica attended Miami Sunset Senior High for a photography class. Tasha's studies continued at New World School of the Arts, while Monica studied photography at Florida International University. Both say their parents instilled creativity in them early.
"Our mom's passion is helping other artists unblock their creativity," Tasha says.
After finishing school, the sisters began staging epic performance pieces and video projections that combined everything from synchronized swimming to spandex-clad roller skaters.
In 2005, their video Superpowers -- which featured dozens of Miami artists dancing in front of a geometric blue and pink background -- went viral and later earned a slot in a European exhibit. In 2007, they made the cover of ARTnews' September issue. And last year, New Times named the sisters Best Local Artists in the "Best of Miami" issue and finalists in last year's MasterMind Awards contest.
Today, the sisters work in the DWNTWN ArtHouse, a space that also houses Turn-Based Press, Bas Fisher Invitational, and several local artists' studios.
Fresh from Shimmer, a techno-tropical extravaganza at the Adrienne Arsht Center's Miami Made Festival, the TM Sisters are preparing for their first solo show at Wynwood's David Castillo Gallery in September.
Standing in front of a massive green cyclotron wall while an '80s mixtape booms through the studio, Tasha works on a fractal grouping of mirrored glass shards. Dozens of brightly sequined costumes hang on opposing walls. Their newest project is still incubating, but it promises to be anything but Stockholm-gray.
"Whether it's employing those large mirrors, the green screen, or a body covered with lots of hair, it usually ends up depending on whatever best conveys our message most clearly," Tasha says.
2013 MasterMind Award Finalists:
2013 MasterMind Award Honorable Mentions:
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