Miami Living Magazine

Gloria & Emilio Estefan

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Page 30 of 179

MIAMI LIVING 29 Contemporary artist Liz Schulze's work reflects the tropical colors and the brightness that makes The Sunshine State famous and the subject of many movies, books, songs, and, of course, art. Born in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, this Florida resident truly enjoys her surroundings. For Liz, Miami is an inspiration. "Miami's so great because the colors of the sky and ocean on any given day give you so much to work with and think about. The Deco as a backdrop to almost anywhere you go just makes me feel better, it's so exotic and fabulous! There's vibrancy to the constantly blooming plants, the sea creatures, the birds and tropical trees, and an incredible lushness that has really started to influence my paintings." This brightness and friendliness of Miamians is apparent in Liz's big, bold shapes of color. Blue skies and puffy, white clouds on canvas evoke the same good feelings as the real Miami skies. Different subject matters grace this artist's canvases. Just like Mexican painter Frida Kahlo, Liz has created many self-portraits. And, just like Frida's, they are packed with bright colors, forms, and symbolism. In her self- portrait collection, there is even one with Kahlo. Liz's blonde hair, soft facial features, and casual appearance contrast with the sharp angles, dark hair, and serious look that was so Kahlo. This self portrait won the Juror's Choice Award 2006 at the Old Firehouse Art Center. Schulze also portraits herself next to famous American artist Jean-Michel Basquiat. Both are superimposed on a background of the skeletal figures and masklike faces that made him famous. Liz knows how to pick elements and subjects that represent each artist, which can be something as whimsical as her head inside a box of Chinese noodles. There is a little of everything in her canvases. Liz paints portraits of people with items that mirror their personalities, like golf clubs or Japanese food. There are political drawings using childhood icons, Bert and Ernie from Sesame Street, to show conflict of thinking, or Starbuck's cups with shark fins floating in the coffee. Kim Jong-Il, the leader of the people in Korea, is painted with a white bowl of chocolate puffs floating inside a thought-balloon above his head. "I tend to incorporate color and 'pop' into even the most dire of situations. Surely, even Kim Jong-Il wakes up and wonders what to have for breakfast before he gets to the business of ruining people's lives." Indeed, this is what Liz says about her acrylic- on-canvas, Kim Jong- Il Thinking About Cocoa Puffs. When not painting Papillon dogs cruising the skies on fried eggs, or herons in bright blue backgrounds, Liz gets involved in many other projects. "I'm doing other stuff in addition to painting canvases. Almost everywhere you walk in South Florida, every building you pass, or yard, there's something added: a mermaid mosaic table, a flamingo planter box, a giant, welded pelican statue … something kitschy or splashy, and I just see that stuff and want to make it all. I started making voodoo coconut heads and Tiki god birdhouses. Tourists love them. Everyone wants to take a piece of Florida back with him or her. I'm painting Tiki beach huts in people's houses and birds and tropical scenes on walls. It's completely different painting something that will be seen by lots of people, every day, on a much grander scale. I just love painting anything. I love painting in Miami." Liz is currently showing her work at: Eggsplat! Studio, 290 NE 2 nd Ave., in the heart of Pineapple Grove, Delray Beach, (561) 512-8948. And be sure to visit her at: ML ON THE SCENE Colorful Character Meet Liz Schulze, visual artist … and so much more! Marta A. Oppenheimer

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