As part of my time in Miami, I wanted to spend more time connecting with galleries and artists.

On one of my first days there, I was invited to an evening at The Fountainhead Residency which is where I was an artist in residence last year. The event was a private event with Young Arts Foundation, who were supporting one of the current artists in residence, James Allister Sprang. Guests were invited to the home of Kathryn and Dan Mikesell who run The Fountainhead Residency to view their incredible collection, and then to visit the studios of the artists in residence; James, Matthew Morrocco and Shath Al Deghady.

Kathryn and Dan Mikesell are such committed supporters of artists and it was wonderful to hear them talk about their programme and how they intend to grow it over the years, as well as meet many other people from their membership community who are passionate about supporting art.

I was really excited to visit The Bass Museum of Art this year as it was undergoing a refurbishment when I visited last year. The building was designed as a library and art center by Russell Pancoast in the 1930s and was established as the BASS Museum of Art in 1964, with the collections of John and Joanna Bass. I was very kindly given a tour of the current exhibitions by Leilani Lynch, the assistant curator. I really loved the work of both artists Paolo Pivi and Aaron Curry, and the gallery spaces themselves are interesting and quite varied in scale and shape.

The ICA Miami was also closed on my last visit as undergoing refurbishment. This gallery is located within what is now known as the Miami Design District which has changed over time but now contains a large amount of very high-end designer stores. It was interesting to see the gallery spaces and the selected work on show from their collection.

I also had the opportunity to meet with Mindy Solomon of Mindy Solomon Gallery in Little Haiti to view her gallery and have a chat about the Miami art scene in general and my artwork. I have been following her gallery online since my last visit and really like the work of her selected artists and exhibitions.

I was also fortunate to revisit the studio of Loriel Beltran in Miami, an artist whose work I really admire, as well as visiting the studio of artist duo Nice N Easy whose work I have also been following online since my last visit where I saw their installation at Locust Projects. It was great to discuss both their practices and I would love to work with them both in Manchester, so watch this space!

My last visit on my last afternoon was to Art Center South Florida on Miami Beach to catch up with them on their programme which has seen them recently award over $500,000 to support Miami based artists to develop their work. It was also great to see their project space for the first time with the exhibition Parallels and Peripheries, curated by Larry Onsei-Messah. The project space itself, which is within an original 1930s building on Lincoln Road Mall on Miami Beach has incredible curved walls which would be a delight to work with.

It was a wonderful return visit to Miami, and I’ll hopefully be returning again, fingers crossed!




I also visited the Wolfsonian Museum and Archive last year on my visit to Miami, and it was wonderful to extend my research on this visit to explore more in-depth archives that I had only just touched upon.

The Wolfsonian Museum, Library and Research Center is based on Miami Beach and was founded by Micky Wolfson Junior who is a collector of design ephemera, and it is a museum that explores the inventive and provocative character of the modern world. Through objects and design, they aim to reveal how the past influences the present and shapes the future.

Their very kind librarians sourced items from a few different collections I was specifically interested in. Unfortunately, due to copyright, I cannot share images of the archival items, which is a great shame as I viewed many interesting items very useful to my research.

The first items I viewed were items related to the architecture of Henry Hohauser, who was an architect from Chicago, who moved to Miami mid war due to the building boom, and designed hundreds of hotels, apartments and commercial buildings there.

I viewed his companies scrapbook of press cuttings from the mid war period which was fascinating and included drawings, photographs and interesting language that was used to describe in overly optimistic ways. I also viewed a serious of his drawings and plans for numerous buildings along Miami Beach.

Following this, I accessed the catalogue from the exhibition ’70 years of Miami Architecture’, at the Bass Museum of Art, which was written by Aristides Millar. It talks about the relatively recent architectural history of Miami Beach, and Miami (these are two different cities) and how this has changed and grown over 7 decades.

I also viewed several promotional brochures for ocean and cruise liners from the Lawrence Miller Collection, which showed the imagery and language used to promote and advertise transatlantic and more local passages on ships. Finally, I looked at a large collection of promotional brochures for Miami and nearby resorts in Florida from the mid-war period that promoted holidays and relocation to the area. A strong pull to the area was the sunshine and seaside location, and the benefit this would have on your health, in particular, offering healing if you had any chronic health conditions. The illustrations, fonts and layouts were really interesting and will definitely inform new work.

During my visits to the Wolfsonian, their new exhibition ‘Art Deco to Mass Market’ was installed which was very suitable to my research. The exhibition traces how what we now call ‘art deco’ style was first discovered by visits to the Paris Exposition in 1926, and this modern, forward-looking style was first brought to skyscrapers in Chicago and New York, then travelled south to develop into a more tropical version in Florida. The exhibition also chronicles how this style developed into mass-produced items such as crockery, furniture and textiles that were available to the masses due a lower price point.



As I mentioned previously I visited Miami last year to undertake research into seaside moderne architecture on Miami Beach built during the 1930s. There are several hundred buildings constructed in this style between the early 1930s and 1940s within Miami Beach, and when I visited the last time I very much only scratched the surface.

This time I spent a lot of time revisiting particular buildings of interest and focusing on a few examples in greater detail.

I spent a lot of time looking at residential properties in South Miami Beach built in this style. The facades mimic the architecture on the front of ships – symmetrical fronts, with a central mast and decorative detail, pulled from a variety of cultural and historical influences. As ever the buildings were painted a wide variety of different colours, which was instigated during the revival of Miami Beach during the 1980s by Miami Design Preservation League.

I spent a long time revisiting interiors of specific buildings such as hotels and the Miami Beach Post Office, which an incredible building comprised of a rotunda building which includes a ceiling mural and very elegant golden post boxes. It is one of the coolest (in temperature) and most elegant public buildings I have been in. With regards to the hotel interiors, I focused on looking at the way the building had been furnished mainly with decorative wall panels and plaster reliefs. On this visit, I spent a lot of time drawing and photographing details.

Last year on my visit Art Deco Museum, which is run by the Miami Design Preservation League, I saw their permanent collection as well as undertaking a few historical tours. On my visit this year, I revisited the museum, which now had a few exhibitions on by artists responding to Miami Beach. I also met with their Director Daniel Ciraldo, and it was great to talk about their current organisation, aims and the possibilities of collaborating in the future.


I spent 3 weeks in Miami last year, thanks to an artist International Development Grant from Arts Council England and British Council. I spent two thirds of my time staying at The Fountainhead residency, which is run by art collectors Kathryn and Dan Mikesell, in a residency programme across the street from their house. They were really useful in connecting me to people when I was there so I had quite a few people to reconnect with while I was there as well as new avenues of research.

As well as Miami Beach architecture, I was really interested in the creation of Miami and as a tropical environment by the use of planting of tropical and exotic foliage. Palm trees and other exotic plants were introduced to Miami Beach to create a more tropical environment but we’re not indigenous to the area at all, but thrived due to the all year hot and humid climate.

On this visit, I really wanted to visit Fairchild Tropical Garden in Coral Gables which was instigated by plant explorer Dr Fairchild who introduced many tropical plants to Miami, and indeed the US itself. With a group of other botanical enthusiasts, including Robert Montgomery, he opened this park in 1938.

Dr Fairchild was a plant explorer who retired to Miami in 1935, choosing this location as a hot all year climate where many plants he had brought from overseas would be able to thrive due to its unique temperature within the United States. He brought more than 20,000 plants to the US including nectarines, dates, mangos, bamboos, cherries and alfalfa.  The garden has palms, cycads, vines and flowering trees and also a butterfly garden, all of which was being enjoyed by many local school children on my visit.

The garden was designed by landscape architect William Lyman Phillips, a leading landscape designer in South Florida during the 1930s. The complex includes some interesting art deco buildings from the original build as well as newer buildings over the years such as educational spaces.

The botanical gardens are open all year and have a membership programme and very strong group of volunteers who run the tours and other visitor services, as well as a smaller group of paid staff who undertake management and maintenance of the park, as well as botanical research.

The gardens are laid out in a semi-formal manner with walkways and one vista that looks out across a large lake, which does contain alligators! There is a free tour that talks about the history of the gardens which is led by a volunteer. This was really interesting and informative and talked in great detail about different palms and other varieties of tropical plants brought to the gardens.

After this visit, I went to the nearby Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables in 1926, by well known architects Schultze and Weaver. Not an art deco hotel, but still a very expensive and grand hotel, it was an important part of Miami’s architectural history, alongside the nearby Viscaya Museum. Both designs take references freely and loosely from other historic architecture such as Spanish, Morrocan and Greek, mixing it all together. This is said to have fed into the nautical moderne architecture of Miami Beach which references many other cultures historical architecture with details and patterns on its facades.


I have been looking at items from the Museum of the City of New York on their amazingly thorough archive online for the past few months. I have been looking at photographs of different architecture that I have viewed on my trip as well as influential events in relation to design in New York such as the World’s Fair in 1939, which included some incredible temporary modernist structures. I wanted to visit the museum to learn more about how the city came into being, as well as viewing items in relation to the period I was looking at.
The museum is situated at the top of Central Park, overlooking it, in what appears to be a former large mansion house. The galleries themselves are not massive but the exhibitions themselves are very considered, informative and of a very high quality of content.

The exhibition on the first floor covers the origination of the city as a trading port city, to the booming metropolis today, following it through various depressions. The exhibition’s text and visuals are accompanied by audio, film and selected objects from their archive related to each period. Particularly of interest to me were the periods between 1915-1940s and how the architecture considerably grew upwards in an early Modernist style we now call ‘art deco’.

Manhattan was named after the Manhatta American Indian Tribe which previously lived on the island of sorts. In the 1/2 hour long film narrated by actor Stanley Tucci, heee describes in a quickly brushed over way how the Manhatta tribe were happy to be paid a good fee to leave their land and move on. It was all made to sound very win win but I doubt it was this amicable.
However the film and is exhibits gave a good background on how this mega city was invented, including building a canal all the way down from Canada to power the cities water needs. The museum also talks importantly about how the country was built on immigration and how these cultures have lived side-by-side next to each other over time.

After this I visited The Drawing Center, which is a not for profit gallery that focuses entirely on artists who explore drawing. I particularly enjoyed the work of Elijah Burgher there.

Although I occasionally exhibit drawings, drawing is really the central park of my work and it informs all final work that I show. I have a lot of drawings and paintings in the studio that are stored away that aren’t the final work but make the bones of it all.
When I lived in London I had to work at home due to studio costs, and indeed the high cost of everything else, so I would mainly only work on drawings that were A2 size maximum.

My last meeting in New York was with artist Michelle Weinberg who is originally from New York, but was based in Miami for many years. She is now living in New York, at the amazing live/work space Westbeth in Manhattan and divides her time between projects in New York and Miami.

Unfortunately, we didn’t manage to meet up in Miami last year due to schedules but we have been communicating online since then. It was great to meet and talk about our work and experiences of living and working as an artist in each country. As we had so much in common it felt as though I had known Michelle for many years!
Michelle kindly took me to the Fashion Institute of Technology galleries that had some really interesting exhibits from their collection on show, which included an exhibition on the colour Pink which was just fascinating with so many unique designer items on show.




I finished off the week with a walk along the high line in Chelsea, which was lovely to see as I had heard so much about it.
I had a full 6 days in New York and it was brilliant to get to understand the beginnings of the development of the architecture I was looking at, as well as the art scene there. I’m really grateful to all the galleries, artists and residencies that met with me. I would of course really like to go back to develop this understanding more so watch this space! Onwards now onto Miami..