Luzmariana Iacono is a driven individual in her junior year at the honors College in Florida International University. She is double majoring in Marketing and International Business and is passionate about the entrepreneurial aspect of business. Artistic by nature, Luzmariana recently started her own career in the beauty industry as a professional Makeup Artist with a specialisation in Editorial and Avant-Garde makeup.
Art and Science raise awareness: Artist Lauren Shapiro at Bakehouse Art Complex
An Art lover and enthusiast understands that there is always a deeper meaning behind every project, and even the most simple and beautiful pieces and installations can bring in rather serious and alarming truth. Wynwood is known for its beautiful Wynwood walls and a fun environment to spend the evening with friends and family. Looks can be deceiving though, because the exterior look of the Bakehouse Art Complex is a vibrant yellow and black building yet it transforms into a beautiful working space that tells the story of different artists in residence. I was surprised when I found clay attached to some wooden walls in one of the major spaces of the complex; I was intrigued to learn more about the project because it seemed that the clay looked like corals, and as an ocean lover I was captivated by the idea.
Lauren Shapiro is the leading artist in charge of this project, which more than a simple ceramic installation, it is an initiative to raise awareness to the environmental issues that are affecting coral reefs. She is passionate about nature and traveled around the world, meeting with scientists to research more about the current status of coral reefs: why are they dying? climate change, and ocean acidification are the detrimental factors of such a situation. Raising awareness is one of the first and most important steps to take when wanting to solve an environmental issue and that is why she decided to start this project and ask people from the community to volunteer and connect with reality by molding clay.
Photo Taken by Luzmariana Iacono at Bakehouse Art Complex
The project itself consists of molding clay, which she collected and recycled from different institutions, in the form of corals by utilizing silicon-based stencils from real corals.The idea was to fill in several wooden walls with the coral-shaped clay to simulate a Coral Reef. I discovered about this opportunity through one of the visits with the Art Society Conflict class and I loved the fact that we were actually able to work with the clay and not merely watch someone else give a demonstration. That class was very interactive, and even if I am not majoring in Art, I have always loved to try different mediums to create art and express myself. In this case, I was bringing to light someone else’s idea and not mine, but I was so inspired by Ms. Shapiro’s perspective on the subject that I decided to reach out again. I was able to contact Ms. Shapiro after and decided to volunteer because I sincerely enjoyed the process and meaning behind the project. Upon our first meeting with the class, she gave such a detailed and passionate explanation of her idea, but she also mentioned that due to COVID-19 lockdown the progress was slower than expected but there was still hope to finish by the exhibition date. I understood her sense of urgency, the message she wanted to convey, and I felt inspired when working with the community to bring forward an important message.
Since I enjoyed the process, I researched whether or not the Bakehouse Art Complex offered any other workshops like this one or the opportunity to volunteer in another project; I learned that they offer wheel-throwing and hand building classes and materials are included. Unfortunately they are currently cancelled because of the pandemic, but they will resume with their activities in the future. However, they used Zoom Sessions to keep us connected as they hosted events entitled “Art+Activism” to discuss current topics and further analyze how art can impact society.
I am really thankful for having found this opportunity because I was able to really connect with amazing individuals, artists that have a vision, and work with art in a meaningful way. When Ms. Shapiro was expressing her ideas and what motivated her, what stood out to me was that I finally found the response to the common misconception that Art and Science are two unrelated topics. In reality, they are not because art is not only meant to be pleasing to the eye, but its purpose is also to inform people and it is the only universal language that evokes an emotion regardless of speech barriers. Art is Science’s translator in this case because the project is communicating an environmental issue through molded clay. I would love to participate in a similar project and creative initiative, maybe even utilizing a different medium, but I am definitely looking forward to creating art with a purpose.
Shapiro, Lauren. “CV/Contact.” Lauren Shapiro, laurenshapiroart.com/cv/contact.