| Art |

The Artists of Philanthrofest: X-Rated Collages, Naked Cuban Chicks, and Totally Legal Photography

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Philanthrofest 2013 was an awesome assortment of pro-social community based organizations, tech startups, grassroots efforts, entrepreneurs of all kinds, true musical variety, and a great batch of local artists.

The MDC Wolfson Campus opened its arms to the people, and the sun shined brightly on them.

Here's a look at some of the beautiful work that was on display, and a peek at those who made it.

See also:

- Ten Easy Ways to Make Miami a Better Place

The art display zone was located in MDC's building 1, from the entrance to the courtyard. Here's how visitors were greeted.

Rev. Alan Laird of Black Art Productions (786-315-0960) was painting a pillow that was sitting on a painted chair. In front of him were an assortment of paintings on traditional and hexagonal surfaces.

"This one is based on the tradition of Bamboula in Congo Square, New Orleans, where every Sunday the slaves were allowed to go congregate and dance. There were hundreds of them," he said.

Next to Laird, Gustavo Ramirez had a table full of $5, $10, $20, and $60 pieces.

"My studio is an efficiency in Hallandale Beach," he said. Gustavo specializes in abstract and portrait work and believes that "Fine art should be available and affordable to the common everyday person."

Meanwhile, Margot Abramson (305-761-1791) showcased her "This Is Art" project of painting/collage works with her daughter by her side.

"I got sick of trying to do "serious" work, and got back to having fun," she said.

"I also have these x-rated pieces. People love these."

"It's just supposed to be funny," she said.

Emerson Calderon wasn't at his booth when we walked up, but his work is awesome.

His free, glossy literature describes him as an illustrator and fine artist.

And your feedback is important to him, so check out his website and blog and drop him a line if you like his work.

Rebecca Barba's "Art Of Life" booth included a live-painting setup.

She was getting ready to start painting a lifeguard booth. "Come back in a couple hours and there'll be more to look at," she said.

"I've been painting since I was a baby. I used to draw with poop. My dream is to do art all the time, but for now I still have a day job. I'm inspired by artists like Jose Bedia and Wilfredo Lam."

Argentinian artist Griselda Lechini said, "Kids really love my work. Maybe for all the bright colors."

"I think my style is a mix of impressionism and expressionism."

"This is what I love to do."

Samantha Lazarus' intense, pattern laced human and animal depictions were a standout.

"I use a quill to do my pieces," she said, "And I've done a commission at Jungle Island and some murals around town. This piece is done on burlap."

Ileana Collazo had a whole garden's worth of vivid flower paintings.

"I'm a poet and a painter," she said.

And she urges everybody to visit Zen Village in the Grove. "You have to go there. It's amazing. Here, let me introduce you to Master Chufei Tsai."

Certified Master Chufei Tsai (above, center) is the founder and spiritual director of Zen Village, a cross cultural interfaith organization, Buddhist temple, and sanctuary that promotes eco living, sustainability and holistic wellness.

Another awesome painter is Eros Alessandro:

His eye popping neon-bright pieces are fun to look at. "I like naked women with long hair," he said. "That's what I paint."

The Cuban born artist says, "I do decorative painting for a living, faux finishing glaze work for places like in the Design District. But I only started painting for myself again a couple of months ago. I was inspired by this blonde haired girl from Cleveland." He has no website, but his phone number is 786-319-6296 if you are interested in his work.

Abstract painter and sculptor Rodrigo Guillen also displayed excellent work.

"My work often explores women and time," he said.

"I like the Coral Gables art walk. It's better than Wynwood, more people, more businesses. And better than Little Havana, where people just go to have fun, not buy work."

And lest we forget Miami's master of protest photography, Carlos Miller of Photography Is Not A Crime was at the fest as well, promoting the idealistic principles of freedom of speech and freedom of expression that make this country great, even when we have to fight for the legal officials to recognize our constitutionally guaranteed rights to them.

"I'm just out here hustlin'," he said.

Hustle on dude, hustle on.

Thanks Philanthrofest, that was awesome. See ya next year.

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