Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Local Artist Meet and Greet: Gerry Stecca

Gerry Stecca is a Venezuelan painter and sculptor who earned his Visual Arts degree from the University of California in 1987. He moved to Miami in 1989, where collaborations with designers in the retail, travel and hospitality industries led him to an interest in "the potential use of 'space' as a medium". This and other experiences in Miami eventually inspired him to create sculptural installations involving clothespins [see the last two photos below]. You can currently see a Stecca mural on the side of the Design District Club The Vagabond.

You studied art in San Diego. How does the art scene there compare to Miami?

Well... it's been a while since my San Diego days and it would not be a current opinion. [But] I do know that the concept of an art opening, gallery walk, or even art fairs is treated different in the West coast. In Miami, any art event that does not have hints of a party mixed in suffers in attendance. Also, we run our events much later than most of the country [and] even advertise after parties! [I’m] not sure about the immediate benefits of this festive approach for the artist and the venue but it is the norm followed around these parts.

What's the best thing about being an artist in Miami? Please elaborate.

Without a doubt, Miami is frequently an international stop, attracting people from all over the U.S. and the world and offering a priceless opportunity to share our work with so many people and nations, almost without having to leave home. How to do that [though] is up to each artist to figure out. But the opportunity is right at hand.

Also, compared to important cities in the world of art, we do not have as many artists competing for attention, space and clients. It [also] does not hurt to have fairly good weather most of the year either, which is good for morale even when times are hard.

Who is your favorite local artist [besides yourself]? Why?

There are more artists in Miami than the major local media lets people know (an old sore point with me) therefore answering that question is rather difficult. I will say that Wendy Wisher's work has consistently pleased and intrigued my imagination. There is also Federico Uribes’ sculptures and installations. Although we work differently, our minds follow the same road of repetition and pattern, thus I always look forward to seeing his work.

If you could have a drink with any artist living or dead, who would it be and why?

If it is only one [artist] that I get to choose, it would have to be Leonardo da Vinci, the all inclusive, one stop talent-do it all well-mastermind. I would probably just shut up and listen to what his vast mind would have to say. My drink would probably get forgotten.

Please choose your favorite: Picasso, Miró or Marcel Duchamp? Why?

Of those three, Picasso. I have seen a lot of his work in person and studied it in art school as well. [I’m] not crazy about most of it, but I
truly admire his relentless productivity and the intense approach he took to life. At a time when the world was a lot smaller than it is now - lacking the Internet, TV, international newspapers, etc.- Picasso was noticed and became one of the first art superstars [and has] retained his titled to this date (unlike most of the current [superstar artists], often fabricated by savvy art dealers).

How influential are other modes of art, such as film and music - on your own work? Has a poem, song, or film etc ever inspired you to create?

When it comes to my sculptural work, without a doubt, my inspiration is sparked by the discovery of the object, the unit, the one "thing" that I quickly see in my head as being used in single or in mass repetition as part of something larger. After, what seems like a mandatory period of trial and error, the object becomes an obsession or it is a bust.

As far as painting, drawing or designing something, the inspiration may come from just anywhere. The best ideas happen precisely when I am not trying to think of one, often while working on a very repetitious piece.

How/where did the idea of creating sculptures from clothes pins originate?

Most often asked question and the funniest to answer. While planning to attend a local fetish theme party, I offered to make a dress for my best friend. On an artist’s budget, I went to the closest dollar store and choose to buy a lot of clothespins. A few hours and close to 400 wood clothespins later, the first dress was created.

The satisfaction from that quickly improvised piece and the attention we got that night, led to a six year long [and] slow progression of the technique I use now, modesty aside.

Do you need long periods of time alone for artistic inspiration or are you energized by interaction?

Inspiration just happens. Be it while working on something, at a party, or driving across country (road trips are great thinking opportunities). Interaction with others is the most important source of experience, which in essence is the root of all true creative work. Musicians are born with the mathematical musical capacity already in them. Visual art, on the other hand, comes from experience earned throughout life.


  1. Great interview, Larissa! You were right about it...

  2. Thanks Paula. I'm glad you enjoyed it.