Vodou: heartfelt, close to the earth

At a Vodou ceremony in Gonaives, women dance for the spirits—dances full of opposites, subtle and dynamic, graceful and ragged, the vibrant tones and rhythms of the drums creating calm, balance, sensuality, and passion. Les Stone watches these women shake, wail, and swoon, go into a trance, shout to the lwa, drop to the ground. Meet Les Stone. He’s a critically acclaimed photographer, winner of several World Press Photo Awards and Picture of the Year Awards. Stone has chronicled the human cost of conflict in Iraq, Afghanistan, Israel, Sierra Leone, Kosovo, Liberia, Somalia, Cambodia, Vietnam, and many others. Stone has visited Haiti more than one hundred times. “Haiti…

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Caron Calvo: When Art Meets Humor

Caron Calvo is a visual artist and graphic designer who currently lives in South Florida; she specializes in abstract art and visual communication. “I’ve loved art since I was a little girl,” says Calvo. “I used my first computer in middle school. Later, when I grasped the idea that I could combine computer and art, that realization rocked my world!” During her art education at Florida Atlantic University, she enjoyed her teachers’ guidance while learning to master basic skills and using the different computer programs available to artists. Calvo, however, has learned most of her craft outside of school. “It’s kind of how it works,” she comments. Her…

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Tim Palmer screams at the world, whispers in your ear

Tim Palmer a cool dude. His bold and intricate images reflect both skillful execution and a balance of traditional and innovative techniques. If you were to ask Palmer to give you an artist statement, he would probably look puzzled. “My artwork is my statement,” says Palmer, who likes to think of himself as simply an observer and a creator. “It’s my scream, my whisper, my story. It is me.” Lately he’s been working primarily with acrylic on canvas. He finds inspiration everywhere, although his work mostly translates his love for tattoo art.  “I’ve just always loved its use of color, design, placement, and live quality,” he explains. Palmer…

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Suzana de Paola: The world is my playground

Her art is meant to impact, often emerging from controversial ideas and from true concepts that cannot always be put in words. Born in Sao Paulo, Suzana de Paola has lived in Brazil, Europe and the United States. At 8, she was already aware of her artistic penchant, winning an art competition at her school in Illinois. Encouraged by her parents, she went on a quest to discover her unique style, a goal she reached in 2000 after attending art classes in Italy. The artist describes her art education as more “street” than technical. Never having attended professional classes, she’s been the ultimate autodidact, learning by practice, analyzing…

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Holguinism: the hunt for the perfect image

There’s a very good reason behind Colombian photographer Ivan Lopez’s decision to use Holguinism as a fictional artist name. Located in Valle de Cauca, Holguin is a pueblowith no stop lights, two cantinas, one church and one brothel; this town is the birthplace of the artist—and that of many generations before him. Holguinism defines life as living art, the world a blank canvas. “If we break the routine of our everyday lives,” he says, “this world is truly a working canvas and we deserve to paint our own masterpieces.” His passion for photography started in childhood, when he discovered an utter joy documenting his surroundings with a camera.…

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Stephanie Rodriguez: Expressive and Whimsical

Even as a child, Stephanie Rodriguez considered herself an artist, drawing her favorite characters from stories such as The Phantom of the Opera, Great Expectations and Wuthering Heights. Later, while attending La Guardia Arts in New York City, she officially embraced illustration and focused on developing a unique style, creating expressive and whimsical art via the juxtaposition of classical photorealistic drawings or paintings. Stephanie, a graduate from the Fashion Institute of Technology, is inspired not only by classic literature (she cited Edgar Allan Poe and Oscar Wilde as favorites) and classic illustrators (including Howard Pyle and Arthur Rackham) but also by music—from classics such as Ludwig van Beethoven…

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Where no plant will grow, Michelle Morse paints flowers

In addition to working as an illustrator, Michelle Morse, a graduate of Syracuse University, is a mural artist for several South Florida corporations, including the Broward County School Board and Broward Health, Inc. Michelle also has taken several mission trips to create murals and teach art to orphans in Honduras. She believes that murals can inspire, motivate, calm, and unify people. MJF: How did you become a mural artist? MM: My mother says I never scribbled. When I was perhaps a year old, she was drawing stick figures to  entertain me and I cried for the pencil. She gave it to me, and to her surprise, I drew…

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Quirky and Animalistic Stories: Meet Vicki Hendricks

Vicki Hendricks is renowned for her noir novels—Miami Purity, Iguana Love, Voluntary Madness, Sky Blues, and Cruel Poetry. In Part I of this interview, she discussed the publication of Florida Gothic Stories, a collection of her short works (Kitsune Books of Tallahassee). Now let’s learn more about Vicki and what it takes to publish short stories today.  INTERVIEW WITH VICKI HENDRICKS (PART II) Vicki, what inspires you? I’m inspired by people I meet, incidents, stories in the news, other writers’ works, landscapes, and, oh yes, old boyfriends. I could probably tell you what inspired me for every story in my collection. For example, “Stormy” was inspired by my…

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Florida Gothic Stories: Delightfully Disturbing

Vicki Hendricks is the author of noir novels Miami Purity, Iguana Love, Voluntary Madness, Sky Blues, and Cruel Poetry, the last nominated for an Edgar Award in 2008. Her short stories appear in collections including Mississippi Review, Best American Erotica 2000, and Miami Noir. Florida Gothic Stories, a collection of her short works, recently came out (Kitsune Books of Tallahassee). INTERVIEW WITH VICKI (PART I) For the non-literary folks, would you please define the term “gothic”? Is there a difference between “gothic” and “noir”? If I were to go into all the history and nuances, it might take me several pages to answer, but I’ll try to give…

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Let’s Salsa with Tony Duarte

Tony Duarte is the founder and director of Salsabor Tropical, South Florida’s premier Dance School specializing in Salsa “on 2” aka Mambo New York / Puerto Rican style Salsa, Cha-Cha, and all types of social and ballroom dances. Tony takes pride in being one of Florida’s best Salsa dance instructors, always striving to pass his knowledge of many years of training and teaching on to others. Friday Latin Nights: Every Friday, Tony offers Salsa “on 2” and Bachata lessons at Congas Club in Fort Lauderdale. So Tony, how would you describe yourself? I’m very low key. I’m kind and sometimes quiet, but always fun when dancing. I’m very…

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Learning, perfecting the art of Haitian cooking

Sun Sentinel | August 14, 2008 | By Joan Lipinsky Cochran, Special Correspondent Step into Michele Jessica Fievre’s Pembroke Pines apartment, and you step into Haiti. It’s a world of paintings of men and women in bright clothing as well as richly decorated handicrafts, flower pots and earthenware bottles. Then there’s the food. A native of Port au Prince, Fievre takes her Haitian cooking as seriously as she does her job teaching French and English to students at Nova Middle School in Davie. It wasn’t always that way. In fact, Fievre didn’t learn to cook Haitian food until coming to the United States six years ago to attend Barry University.…

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