Three Women Artists to Catch This Weekend in Fort Lauderdale

We're all emerging from Art Basel fatigue, again, wide-eyed, bushy-tailed, and ready for more visuals. And just in time, too, since a new gallery warehouse space is popping up this Friday just a few minutes outside of FAT Village. Presented by Pyramid Collective and Intuit Media Group, the opening will feature around 15 artists, including many you've read about right here. For instance, the show includes work from skateboarder collagist Chris Piller, whose pieces draw heavily from Basquiat, David Hockney, and Warhol, as well as painter and sculptor Jack Kearney, the man who, as the owner of '90s spot Squeeze, is pretty much responsible for any semblance of a scene this city enjoys today.

But because we don't get to highlight Broward County female artists as much as we'd like -- the Bubble's annual grrly art show notwithstanding -- we've compiled profiles of the three kickass ladies presenting work at Friday's show. We think their stuff would make excellent presents this holiday season.

People took notice of Stroke of Genius tattoo artist Erin O'Dea's creative side early. So much so, that her third grade teacher wrote on her report card, "art is her favorite subject, but she lets it preoccupy too much of her time." Turns out the teacher couldn't have been more wrong about what she should be focusing on. O'Dea went on to make artistic pursuits central to her life, studying art at Broward College and eventually becoming a tattoo artist.

New Times: You paint a lot of celebrity portraits. But your work seems more amusing and whimsical than critical. What is it about celebrity culture that appeals to you (for the purposes of your artwork) and how do you choose whom to paint?

Erin O'Dea: Early on, I was painting people I knew, and I think the "celebrity" thing started with the Bill Murray I painted a few years back. I can't think of one good reason not to paint Bill Murray, so I continue doing it, I've probably painted at least 20 by now. The others are usually characters in Wes Anderson films. I am not interested in celebrity culture as much as I am in individual actors or actresses playing roles I can relate to for one reason or another.

What do you think of Art Basel? Celebrity hellhole or better than ever? Did you go this year?

Art Basel has been growing into an insane Megatron of a party. I usually attend openings/parties pre- or post-Basel weekend. That's when all the good stuff happens and you don't need to walk five miles to your car. I did a group show called Vinyl Vision, which showcased so many great artists and friends whom I look up to.

You're a tattoo artist, where the canvas can be pretty small. The times I've seen your work, it's been really big. Is there a connection? Do you utilize really large canvases to explore space or more detail with your art?

I never enjoyed painting small. Although the "canvas" for a tattoo is much smaller, it is a completely different medium with traditions and guidelines to follow, aside from the client's requests. When you paint, those restrictions are gone. Now that I have a studio and can make a mess painting, I can paint larger. Large canvases are just more fun, I think.

What can people expect from your series this Friday? New stuff, old stuff?

I have a Morrissey that's pretty new, a Danny Trejo, two new Bill Murrays, and two new freight train paintings on which I collaborated with Atomik.

What about in the future, any new subjects you're looking to explore in your painting?

I have been playing around with doing some HBO series characters, some Muppets, and more train collaborations. I've been messing around with dry brushing and tattoo flash format for designs, too. Who knows? Art is a never-ending adventure.

Kim Kearney (daughter of aforementioned Jack) deals mostly in abstract representations of animals in which texture and color dominate. Her works, which often incorporate unexpected materials such as human teeth or bees (she's in good company with Matthew Brandt!), also sometimes utilize a drip technique, playing with form and ideas of how to push the realm of representation.

New Times: You relocated to Fort Lauderdale from Los Angeles a few years ago. What has that been like as an artist?

Kim Kearney: Leaving L.A. was hard, but I wanted to learn myself and my work outside of the context of Los Angeles. Being in a place that has so much overstimulation was an incredible feeling at first, but then I needed to see it clearly from its core, and mine.

Your dad is an artist, and it seems inevitable that he would influence your work. Could you talk a bit about that?

My father shaped the way I see the world. He has an incredible imagination, and he loves to tell stories. I'm trying to tell a story in everything I make, and I hope people find that in the work.

There is a lot going on in your pieces. Do you go into a painting knowing where it's going or what you want, or does it evolve throughout the process?

I approach painting with symbols, shapes, colors, and intent. There is also another force working with me or through me, and I let that guide me. I devote myself to ideas and the moment. Letting it happen is everything.

Your work is abstract but there is always a discernible subject. In the past, your paintings included a lot of animals, but what I've seen from this show includes a lot of human faces.

Faces are reflectors. The symmetry of them is a powerful tool for messages and myth. They are nurturing, sensual, and familiar. The symmetry of the face encompasses endless variations of expression and mood.

What can fans of your work expect in 2014?

2014 will be my first solo exhibition. It's 10 beds full of 80 paintings made of painted faces infused with essential oils.

A born-and-bred Florida gal, the beach blond Tobi Salver launched her clothing brand, Fox House, online in 2011. Now, she's got an extended pop-up shop in Wynwood and thousands of followers on Instagram who swoon daily over her merchandise. Turns out, fashion is in her blood. Her grandmother Joanne Alterman was a successful designer who made skirts from Seminole design fabrics and sold her line at Henri Bendel locations in New York. Her store incorporates a mix of new and vintage finds.

New Times: How did you get into fashion?

Tobi Salver: Fashion has always been a part of my life. Aside from my grandmother, I have pictures from when I was 3-years-old, with my hair done, nails done, make up, and dressed in my mom's clothes. I would do it all by myself or with my best friend Kari, who went on to open her own cosmetics label. The both of us were always into fashion/beautifying, and I have taken that passion and tried to turn it into a career.

Do you take a lot of inspiration from South Florida?

Always. It's easy to get inspired here. It's its own American paradise as well as a melting pot of so many other cultures. It really gives a uniqueness to our area. I love Florida!

What's the story behind Fox House? How did it start, how did you think of the name?

It started out of my apartment in Midtown Miami about four years ago. I wanted to open a shop, but had no funding, so I decided to break out first on the interwebs. E-commerce is tough, but there is so much potential in it. As for the name, I jotted down dozens of words that inspired me, and then kind of paired a few, and ended up with Fox House. Also, a "fox" is a sexy woman, so that worked well because of our vintage aesthetic.

What kind of woman would Fox House appeal to? What's the "look"?

Fox House has something for everyone. From 16 to 46, the majority of women can find something. But I would say we cater to the bohemian beach-bum by day, and rock-and-roll punk chick by night.

What are some unique buys you'll have available at Friday's show?

I'll have some great kimonos! I'll also be displaying our newest line Good hYOUman, which was founded by a fellow South Floridian. The brand includes unisex tanks and shirts with awesome and inspiring sayings. In addition, I'll have some glitzy holiday looks, fun prints, cool fabrics, and fancy textures for everyone.

Holidaze, presented by Pyramid Collective and Intuit Media Group, opens Friday at 7 p.m. The space is located at 1239 N.E. 8 Ave., Fort Lauderdale. Admission is $10.

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Erica K. Landau