Rhodes, a Mississippi native, moved to Miami three years ago in search of a new adventure with her husband. The couple was looking for a place with vibrant culture and a growing art scene so the painter could work on her craft. They considered cities like New York, Chicago, and Philadelphia, but it just so happened to be the dead of winter when they were making plans. So it’s no surprise Miami beat out the competition.
“We wanted to go someplace that was more of an art center… What’s really cool about Miami is that it’s still close to family in the southeastern United States, but it’s so different than anywhere near it,” Rhodes says, sitting comfortably in her studio.
Her workspace walls are a bright white, made brighter by the afternoon sun shining through the open windows. Set neatly in the surrounding shelves are paint cans, unfinished sketches, and mountains of books that contribute pops of color to the area. Displayed on her easel is a half-finished painting of the view from a New York City rooftop. The Brooklyn Bridge catches the eye.
Recently, Rhodes partnered with Gramps bar to create some one-of-a-kind Christmas postcards for the Wynwood hangout's Miracle in Miami pop-up. Guests can expect designs featuring festive turtles, alligators with Santa hats, or some cats sitting around contemplating life with a bunch of gingerbread cookies on the table. Rhodes’ postcards will be available for the duration of the Miracle in Miami pop-up, which runs through December 23. The artist herself will be at the bar on Monday, December 10, at around 7 p.m. to interact with guests.
“I ordered some word-bubble stamps so people can stamp onto the postcard and write their own captions, kind of like little scenes out of the New Yorker cartoons,” explains the painter with a broad smile.
Her knack for greeting cards arose from mindless doodles while in college at Mississippi State, she says. Those scribbles eventually made their way onto cardstock, and she began selling greeting cards at local craft fairs. Although the artist says she is still developing her style, her work already carries a distinct technique that makes her strokes easily recognizable.
“One of the reasons I feature Miami in a lot of my work is because when I first moved down here, I noticed that there was not enough work [about the city],” she says, playing with the paintbrush tucked behind her left ear. “There are so many beautiful things in Miami — so much color, so much culture — I didn’t think there was enough original art representing the city.”
She prefers to do paintings of those small neighborhood nooks often overlooked by nonlocal artists. Grabbing a freshly painted block of wood from her tabletop, she reveals an outline of a corner coffee shop. “I just started this one and it’s the B & M Market & Rhoti Shop on 79th Street,” she says. As a Little River resident herself, she knows the Rhoti shop is a frequent haunt.
“I live here, I know this neighborhood, so I want to paint it and show the Miami that I live in.”
Follow Rhodes on Instagram or visit her website at bethmade.com.