The Gamson Effect:

Famous American pop artist, Stephen Gamson, shares an exclusive insight on his artistic inspirations and love for Miami

Inspired by the unspoken language of artistic expression, Miami-based artist Stephen Gamson, is inspiring others through his art and love for the Miami community. You’ve probably seen his renown work around the city, showcasing his signature pop style, featuring bright, bold colors and iconic symbols. His art has been featured at Art Basel Miami Beach and numerous other solo and group exhibitions, even internationally. Not only is he globally known, but his works are collected among “A” list celebrities and corporations, landing him countless brand deals like Bacardi or Lamborghini. He’s also received the honor of creating custom artworks as the official artist of events like Miami Beach Polo, Monaco Grand Pix, or The Sony Open to name a few. When you have your own official day, Stephen Gamson Day on November 5th, it’s safe to say, “you’ve made it.”

When did you realize art was your passion?

As a child I was always interested in shapes, colors, and textures. At the age of five, my parents enrolled me in an art class where I would paint and build plexiglass sculptures for hours on end. It was my favorite thing to do. I was the kid who would go shopping with my mother and pick out dresses for her just because I liked the colors and the fabrics. As a teenager I would flip through design magazines. I was always really interested in art and any chance I had to visit an art gallery or a museum, I would take advantage of it. Many people grow up idolizing their favorite athletes or musicians, but that wasn’t the case for me. I was the kid who idolized artists. Their work gave me the visual stimulation I needed, and I connected with them. After building an art collection on a shoestring budget, I finally came to the realization that I was living vicariously through these artists. I had my own message to share with the world.

How did you establish your style of art?

I’ve always been intrigued by artwork that gives the viewer something to think about. Perhaps it brings them to a place or time in their life. In a Russian airport many years ago in Moscow, I remember wondering if anyone spoke English. I quickly realized that I was surrounded by directional signage made up of a visual vocabulary, acting as universal symbols as a language that everyone could understand. I immediately knew where the elevators, luggage, and other stations were without speaking to anyone. I saw artistic potential in this unspoken language, which ultimately became the basis of my artwork. 

Which are your favorite materials to work with?

I work in several different mediums that include drawings, paintings, printmaking, and sculptures. My favorite materials have consisted of aluminum, wood, and acrylic paint. I enjoy a wide range of vibrant colors that represent a positive outlook on life that’s indicative of the Miami lifestyle. 

How does Miami inspire your art?

I moved here in 1995 and have seen many changes over the years. I find inspiration from living here, and I’m proud and fortunate to be able to call Miami my home. I love the vibrant people, art deco influences, architecture, the palm trees, and of course the ocean. It’s a dream come true for any artist. 

Explain your inspiration for the cover art piece.

The cover art piece, Happy Hour represents the vibrant lifestyle we enjoy while living in Miami.  This piece also touches on video conferencing as it's played a significant role during this pandemic.  The colors selected create a visual rhythm that both incorporates our Latin influence as well as the tropical environment we live in.

Talk about your favorite brand collaboration.

They’re all my favorite as each one presents its own challenges and rewards. They’ve become a part of my dialogue as I like to think of myself as their brand ambassadors. Early on in my career, I worked with Cafe Bustelo, where I was honored to be their artist of choice especially because of their influence in our large Latin community. My project with Lamborghini was really fun, when I created two “art cars” that were accompanied by poster signings. Bacardi has hosted, the Bacardi Cup, an annual sailing regatta since 1927. They honored me as their official artist, and I was presented with a very rare bottle of aged rum by Tito Bacardi at the awards ceremony. It was great working with Ugg Australia as I designed a limited collection of boots featuring my artwork. I also curated Ugg’s store window designs, and they also hosted a party for me during Art Basel Miami Beach several years ago as a fundraiser for the Miami Children’s Hospital. Regarding Miami beach polo, it’s one of my favorite events of the year, where my art has been a staple as their official artist.

What is your favorite part about Miami?

My favorite part about Miami is the vibrant, multicultural community and its elements. We live in a place that has no shortage of excitement. I enjoy people watching, the beaches, and the nightlife. I consider this the best place on earth! 

Do you have any exciting upcoming projects?

Many! In collaboration with an Italian wine importer, I will be producing artwork for five different wine bottle labels. These bottles will be introduced by the end of the year and sold at Whole Foods as well as other retailers. I’m also the official artist for the first annual Brickell Wine and Food Festival scheduled for November 17th-21st. I’m working with Mendez-Vela Interior Design and Pauline Merl on three hotel projects where my art will be featured in all the rooms and common areas. Mendez-Vela will also be hosting me for a solo art show during Art Basel on December 3rd at their showroom in the Miami Design District. In addition, I’m excited to be involved in the 2022 World Polo League, Beach Polo season April 21st-24th.

How does your work as an artist give back to the community?

As an artist, it’s a privilege and honor to be able to give back to my community. Over the years, I’ve worked with many charities in Miami and around the country by donating my artwork for their fundraising efforts. Miami-Dade County has proclaimed November 5th as Stephen Gamson Day, and I always try to do something charitable on the anniversary. This year will be no exception.

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