We had the good fortune of connecting with Felisa Prieto and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Felisa, what inspires you?
I am highly inspired by Land and Environmental Art, as well as Fiber Art and Photography; all which have led me to document waste and create art with recycled non-biodegradable materials, product of human consumption.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I use non-biodegradable found materials, mainly raw packaging, fibers and left overs; I combine photography, sculpture and the need to reduce waste to create my art. I am always drawn to the materials rather than an idea of how the piece will look; I never know where the materials will take me or if the work will ever be completed, it is always about how much I can produce with the material at that time. This process can take months, even years, but it allows me to change the pieces as time goes by, understanding my own process and the fixation with certain objects and textures. There are many challenges with how I make art: material quantity is one as I often use what I find on a daily basis, time is another; but the biggest challenge I have, is confronting my own work. It is like looking in the mirror and speaking with my subconscious. To see the patterns of behavior I always knew I had, but never had the courage to admit.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
You would be surprised at the gems that keep popping up in Fort Lauderdale, having family and friends visit gives me an excuse to take a break, explore the city and show them my favorite sites. The NSU Art Museum Fort Lauderdale is a great place to see contemporary art, specially the first Thursday of every month when it is free entrance. Right across from the museum, you go into an office building, hop in an elevator to the top floor and you end up at the Rooftop @ 1WLO; amazing city views, cocktails and oh the food! Fat Village ArtWalk on the last Saturday of every month is also a great way to see contemporary art, support local artists and shops. The Comedy Show at Café Collective has become one of my favorite places to see emerging comedians and musicians. The art exhibitions at Bailey Contemporary Arts (BaCA) always happening during Old Town Untapped ArtWalk, and at The Pompano Cultural Center are always free and just s quick drive from Fort Lauderdale. The Jazz Brunch at the Riverwalk Park is also an unexpected gem; all you need is a blanket and a picnic for a day of free jazz and boats going by. Laser Wolf is by far my favorite beer bar in town; next to the train tracks, it is a great place to meet new people specially if you are the shy kind or bump into old friends. Sometimes they have live music, radio shows and art exhibits; but what I love most about this place, is how everyone makes you feel welcome and safe. The Wilder, Apothecary 330 and Rhythm & Vine are perfect for trying out cocktails. Finally, the Alchemist Cafe is definitely a gem I stumbled upon a couple of years ago, it is not hard to find in a map but it is hidden enough to pass it by. It sits on a big lot with two other also amazing restaurants, a couple of local shops, a thrift store and a torn down structure with ever changing murals.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
This is a hard decision, I would nominate everyone I know as they are all talented and have taught me something that makes me who I am today; but for now, I would like to give shoutout to those who have strongly inspired me to work with the community. Christian Escobar Mora, photojournalist at Global Press Journal for risking his life every day documenting the never ending war in Colombia; “Lady K Fever” Kathleena Howie, graffiti artist in New York City for inspiring me to make art with children in the South Bronx, and beautifying New York with her public works. Nadine Anne Bopp, Green Architecture and Sustainability professor at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, for being my inspiration to pursue Environmental Art and Urban Sustainability; and finally, Michelle Hoffman, Director of Advancement at Hawaii Association for Marine Education and Research, Inc. for the many discussions about how we can change the world, for always pushing me to be compassionate despite our differences as humans, and to understand that we are in this planet to be part of it, not to rule it.
Nominate someone: ShoutoutMiami is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.