Public Art Wednesday: Crossroads of the Dystopia


Don’t miss your chance to check out the new exhibit at the Frost Art Museum in Miami, “Crossroads of the Dystopia.” “Crossroads of the Dystopia,” is the first major exhibition for Leonel Mattheu. Leaonel is a Cuban born artist who moved to Miami in 1992 and eventually moved to Los Angeles. Leonel has created art for over 20 years and has created fantastic pieces all with the themes of dystopia and disapora.

Check out his FREE exhibition every Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday from now until October 19 at the Frost Art Museum located at 10975 SW 17th St. Miami, FL.

Who’s your favorite artist in Miami? Tweet us at @Loop305 with the hash tag #PublicArtWednesday



-Samantha Wagner

Talk About it Tuesday: Heroes Unite


Heroes Unite is a program created to provide opportunities that can nurture and empower communities through mentoring, volunteering and family engagement. Heroes Unite strengthens communities by teaching them about art, culture and education. They strive to serve people in need and give them a safer and healthier life.

Heroes Unite was created in 1994. They began by supporting families from the Ronald McDonald house. Heroes Unite provided support to families that were going through a tough time caring for their terminally ill children. Heroes Unite provided therapy to siblings and parents of patients as well as engaged them in theatre productions. They also provided these services for people going through AIDS treatment. They offered a fun and creative outlet for people going through a hard time.  In 1999, Heroes Unite restructured their program and offered an after school session that would help transform the lives of children by teaching them about Chinese martial arts.

Heroes Unite now has over 500 students in their program. From modest beginnings Heroes Unite has come a long way in changing the lives of youth and families in Miami. Through art, culture, and education, Heroes Unite has had an enormous positive impact on its participants and in the community.

Like what you’ve heard about Heroes Unite? Support them on Facebook or follow this link for more information on volunteering or interning!

What do you think about Heroes Unite? Do you think more programs such as this one are needed in Miami? Tweet us at @Loop305 and let us know your thoughts, with the hash tag #TalkAboutitTuesday


-Samantha Wagner

Local Hero: Ian Welsch



Ian earned his BS, as well as Masters Degree in Education from the University of Bridgeport. Taking a position as an educator in the Miami-Dade County Public School System in 2005- 2009 taught him a great deal, and recognizing the need for additional educational resources, he started an in-home tutoring company. As the arts were being cut from classrooms, Ian saw an increasing need to leverage the arts as a motivational platform for urban youth. Increasing referrals highlighted a community-wide need and as a result, in June 2008, The Motivational Edge Inc. was formed. Ian is currently the Founder and CEO of the company

Who has been your most influential mentor?

Donna Phillips, my Advisor and a lead professor at The University of Bridgeport.

How did you get to where you are today?

Passion, perseverance, faith and the ability to ask questions helped me get to where I am today. I’ve always known I was on the right path but I certainly did not get here without help and guidance from others!

How did you get to be a community leader?

In my case, the following saying is very appropriate, “actions speak louder than words.” I have been fortunate enough to assemble a team of dedicated teaching artists, educators and professionals that care deeply for our community and the youth that reside in it. Together, we are all leaders of our community, guiding the younger generation to make more mindful decisions.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

I see myself still as the CEO of The Motivational Edge, thriving in multiple cities. I also see myself as a successful non-profit coach, impacting the lives of many people outside of my daily operations at The Motivational Edge.

What about this city inspires you?

I love that Miami is still a new and fresh city, with many cultures and ethnicities comprising the ever changing population of transplants, locals and everyone in between. I must say, the beautiful weather is also an inspiration.

What is your favorite thing about Miami?

Considering that I grew up in the northeast, my favorite thing about Miami is the winter…If we can even call it that.

Miami should be…  more collaborative.

Miami could be… more than a vacation destination for many.

Miami wants to be… a highly revered city and is trying to find its way.

Miami needs… to be worrying less about excess and more about access for its citizens.




Local Hero: Andrés Ponce



Andrés Ponce is currently the producer of the Elastic Bond Band.

Who has been your most influential mentor?

My parents and two good professors I had: Francisco Domingo and Roy Pritts.

How did you get to where you are today?

By doing what I love, working hard and persevering at it and having a bit of luck too ;)

How did you get to be a community leader?

By working hard on the Miami music scene with Elastic Bond and other musical collaborations. Now we get to promote and represent our local Miami community whenever we travel. I am proud to be also a leader as a stepfather and doing musical workshops with kids whenever there’s an opportunity.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

I see myself somewhere nice with proximity to nature, loving my family, making music and enjoying life the best that I can.

What about this city inspires you?

All the immigrants that came here pursuing their dreams and leaving past lives behind.

What is your favorite thing about Miami?

Its winter, the beach and the different cultures that coexist here.

Miami should be…  a great place to live

Miami could be… more unified

Miami wants to be… real and find its own identity, but it’s challenging when corporations want to keep building casinos and Walmarts here.

Miami needs…  more arts and music programs for its people, better public transportation




Local Hero: Sofy Encanto



Sofy Encanto is the lead singer and songwriter for the Miami Based band Elastic Bond.

Who has been your most influential mentor?

My mom

How did you get to where you are today?

It starts with knowing what makes you happy and following the path of your heart, then a lot of hard work, trial and error with determination, and definitely a little help from my friends…. and family. Also knowing that this is a continuous cycle.

How did you get to be a community leader?

I was never intended to be a community leader, but I do like to stand up for what I believe in, regardless of what society is trying to mold you to believe, and when you live by that principle it seems you end up living a lifestyle with substance and some people might admire that because it either takes a lot of courage or a lot of cluelessness.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

I see my self in a happy place where I have made significant moral and musical contributions to my community and perhaps the world.

What about this city inspires you?

The beach, the sun and the passion of the people.

What is your favorite thing about Miami?

The Ocean and being close to my family.

Finish these sentences:

Miami should be… open 24 hours

Miami could be… open 24 hours

Miami wants to be… open 24 hours

Miami needs… more farms and recreational programs in public schools.


Local Heroes: Liza Santana



Born in New York and raised in Miami since that age of 4, Miami is home to me. I went to college for Fashion Design/Marketing & Merchandising and ended up getting into marketing and media. It’s been a great ride for just shy of two decades. Having gone through the gamut of  print, TV, radio, and the agency world, I am blessed to have a wonderful job where I get to do what I enjoy, meet new people, connect and create. My agency is growing and for that I am truly grateful. We’ve been around for nearly 14 years and I couldn’t be happier with what we have built.

When I am not working, I love to cook, travel and spend time with my family and friends. Downtime for me is kicking back and enjoying some great music and a glass of wine. I am all about simple pleasures. Life is way too short to forget them. I smile at strangers, emit and evoke positivity and try to help anyone whenever I can. I think when you act and live with intention, you can make a difference and that makes life great.

Who has been your most influential mentor? 

That’s a tough one. I have been very fortunate to meet and work with some amazing people whom I have learned a lot from and others who’ve inspired me along my career. Naming a few, my two first bosses Clara Eshkenazi and Loreyne Alicea. I am friends with them to this day. Both are amazingly accomplished, talented, dynamic and passionate (aside from being AMAZING strategists in marketing and media). They taught me two decades ago to build relationships and the importance of integrity. I am grateful for those lessons and much more I took from them!

How did you get to where you are today? 

I would say it was a few things. College was very important to me and a wonderful experience where I learned a lot. But also, I credit the ambition that my family helped to instill in me, that desire to “want more.” I always wanted to achieve, so that paired with opportunities and doors opened because of my relationships would be what truly helped to get me here. Although I am grateful for where I am, I’m not nearly finished!

How did you get to be a community leader? 

I am humbled to be referenced as such. I just see myself as someone who cares. I find it hard to accept people walking around thinking that their (or our) purpose is just to work, pay bills, buy things… I don’t get into belief systems, religion or politics. BUT I do feel we have to make our mark somehow. No matter how hard one may have it, there is always an opportunity to help, to support, to inspire. I think people see those who “do something” as a leader. I am just one person who loves sharing and collaborating. I built my company with a methodology that we would always work with charitable organizations and try to make a difference. It’s been great working and meeting so many great people who I feel are real leaders here in our community. I see how dedicated they are and it moves me. So as far as leadership, I am appreciate for the reference.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years? 

I see myself doing what I do now, just in a different fashion. I hope to continue to grow my company and take on more of a consultative role to afford me more time to spend with my family and to dedicate to my writing.

What about this city inspires you? 

So much! We live in paradise! I live where people come to vacation. I never stop enjoying or take Miami for granted. The beaches, the people. We have so much diversity here. I love seeing new business opening and places being built. It just means we are growing as a city.

What is your favorite thing about Miami? 

I love that I can sit in front of the ocean on our beautiful beaches. I love I can go in any direction and eat the most delicious food. My favorite thing?  That special “sazón” we have here that so many from the outside credit as our dose of “Latin flair.” In every article or news segment about Miami, they reference how “Caliente” the people, the food and nightlife are. Not a bad reference as they think if you are from Miami you’re hot!

Miami should be… seen as special for all the unique things we possess as a city.

Miami could be… even more amazing if more people truly wanted to make a difference.

Miami wants to be… known for our flagship teams, beautiful beaches, nightlife, and annual events. But there is STILL so much more for everyone to know us for.

Miami needs… some more great publicity! I feel we are known as one of the entertainment capitols, but need to showcase more of how AWESOME our city and people are instead of drama!



Artist Kai Guetta

By Tatiana Enriquez

Get to know West Coast artist Kai Guetta; straight outta Cali reppin’ Hip-Hop Royalty.

“I come through your hood, stuntin’ in my yellow Lam Murcielago..I do a little house shoppin’, and buy me a crib… I touched the Hollywood paper, go and shoot me some flicks…” These lyrics, from Fifty Cent’s “Position of Power”, play in the back of my mind and juxtapose the stately portrait of his image as depicted by artist Kai Guetta in his “NOW ROYALTY” collection; a series of paintings depicting Hip-Hop artists in 17th century garb reserved for the nobility of the time. Fifty Cent was the first artist Kai chose to depict in this series; which was inspired by his love for hip hop and his respect for the old masters.

More About Kai:

Talent flows through Kai’s veins. This is no surprise as he is the nephew of renowned street artist Mr. Brainwash (Thierry Guetta) who became famous after his participation in the Banksy documentary Exit Through the Gift Shop. Mr. Brainwash has been a regular at Art Basel, and is the mastermind responsible for the stormtroopers installation at the Boulan South Beach at Art Basel 2010.

Kai started out as a street artist in LA at the age of 14 when he began a quest to get his father to stop smoking by plastering the city with a series of clever images which he called his “Morons” campaign.  He slowly created a buzz within the street art community and concentrated his focus on addressing social issues like consumerism and addictions. By the young age of 18, Kai was becoming more and more known and was asked to participate in a documentary series for Hudson Jeans. This caught the media’s attention and he was mentioned in Los Angeles Magazine as one of the forefront street artists of his time. He went on to study at CalArts and Ecole Nationale Superior Beaux Arts Des Paris. His style has been said to be a combination of  Damien Hirst, Banksy, Koons, Rembrandt, and Anthony Van Dyke all in one.


I caught up with Kai over the phone from his home-base in LA as he prepares for the launch of the Miami exhibition of his “NOW ROYALTY” collection at LULU Laboratorium (173 NW 23rd Street   Miami, FL 33127) on March 27th during Miami’s Winter Music Conference, and he shared his inspiration for this collection and much more:

TE: Which of the “NOW ROYALTY” pieces are your personal favorites and why?
KG: This is a very personal collection and I don’t know if I have a favorite piece. Fifty cent was the first piece and I continued from there. Each one has unique details, and captures a persona.

TE: You’ve had several requests for portraits from the likes of Lil’Wayne and Lady Gaga. What has the response been from other artists you have depicted?
KG: It’s a great feeling for others to appreciate my work. It was an amazing feeling when P’Diddy tweeted about the piece I created of his likeness. It is so much more fun when regular people see it though. Their eyes light up, and it’s more interesting to me to see their reaction to their idols depicted in this way.

TE: How did you go about choosing which artists to portray in the styles and poses chosen?
KG: I’m a huge hip-hop fan, so I definitely wanted to portray hip-hop artists. I wanted to make sure that I captured not only each artist’s real life personality, but also their huge hip-hop personas. The styles and poses chosen just came to me as I thought about their personalities and style.

TE: Do you have any plans to continue this series depicting musicians of other genres?
KG: This series was inspired by Hip-Hop and I don’t have plans at the moment to venture out to other genres.

TE: As you probably know, Miami loves it’s street art and it would be an honor to have you represented in our streets. Do you have any plans to grace our walls with your amazing work?
KG: I love Miami. I won’t get a chance to work on any other projects this time around, but I do have plans to come back. I really want to do something for the city.

TE: Given that your work is grounded in social commentary, what message do you hope to convey with this series?
KG: I got my start as a street artist and listened to hip-hop while working on my pieces. Over time, my father approached me and asked me to respect art if I planned to make a career out of it. I went on to study the works of great masters such as Van Dyke and the kings, queens and nobility they depicted in Europe. It was then that it occurred to me that in American society; although we don’t have established royalty or nobility, our versions of kings and queens are our hip-hop artists. They don’t own grand horses or have servants like the nobility of the past, but their horses have been replaced with grand vehicles, posses and assistants that cater to their every need. American society idolizes them the same way royalty was idolized in the 17th century. We want to talk and dress like them. We want to wear their luxurious jewels and clothes. The ironic twist in this series is  that many of these musical artists went from rags to riches. They are people we can look up to. They are also African-American and would not have been painted and depicted as nobility and royalty in Europe during that time.

Miami can’t wait to view Kai’s “NOW ROYALTY” collection, and most definitely cannot wait to see what Kai has in store for our streets!

Tupac LuLu
Copyright This is Not Art LLC

Copyright This is Not Art LLC

Local Artist Profiles: Tola Osokoya

tola osokoya 3

Artist Tola Osokoya

By Tatiana Enriquez

Get to know local artist Tola Osokoya and marvel at his shots of the proverbial “Big Apple” with his own Apple: iPhone, that is.

Chase Jervais said “the best camera in the world is the one that’s with you”. Tola Osokoya is certainly making magic with his iPhone camera. The selfie-addict’s dream- machine sits unassumingly in his pocket. However, when Tola takes it into his hands, it becomes a weapon of mass seduction. The right angle, the right lighting,  a burst of flash, and a moment is captured forever. Siri may need a cig after all this excitement!

More about Tola

Tola was born in Lagos, Nigeria on January 9th, 1981 and immigrated with his family to the United States thereafter. Growing up,  Tola didn’t have much interest in photography. He recently started photography as a hobby and discovered his passion for capturing beautiful and interesting imagery through the lens. He decided to use his iPhone to snap shots and Snapseed for editing. Tola’s inspiration comes from his love of architecture. He confesses “I slowly gravitated towards landscape and scenery photography. I see a concept of what’s going on in the moment and I try to capture it as I see fit. I’ve always been fascinated by high rises as well as old cathedrals. Everywhere I go I always keep my eyes peeled looking for something out of the norm. I pay attention to details and this is what often drives me to take the next shot. From how light bounces off an object or building, to rhythm and patterns that the wind creates in the sand, everything all around me inspires me”. Tola’s captivating work has been featured on several sites including, and He has also garnered many followers and fans on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

Tola believes that  “Miami has a great art scene that’s been around for ages. Unfortunately, it’s only in certain areas and it’s overwhelmed by the night life the city offers. Therefore, not a lot of youth are interested in it. If more awareness is pumped into the city via social media, I believe it can make a strong push in the growth of art for today’s youth.”

He also offers these words to new artists on the scene, “In my opinion,  art is subjective but also has to have visual aesthetic. For anyone that’s just starting off, that would be my advice to them. Believe in what you are doing and make sure it’s pleasing to the eye”.

So, what’s next for Tola? He says, “at the current time I’m perfecting my skill. I have a love for monographic photography, I think that’s what I want to get into next. I am also currently in talks with Polaroid about their current project Fotolab”.


PAMM downtown Miami Tola Osokoya

“PAMM” Downtown Miami Copyright Tola Osokoya

Frank Ghery NYC Tola Osokoya

“Frank Gehry” New York City Copyright Tola Osokoya

 photo 5(1)

“Camilla” Homestead, Fl Copyright Tola Osokoya


Follow Tola Osokoya:


Local Artist Profiles: Miguel Franco


Artist Miguel Franco


Get to know local artist Miguel Franco: an artist with transcending dreams.

By: Tatiana Enriquez

In his book The Interpretation of Dreams, Sigmund Freud wrote, “The dream is the liberation of the spirit from the pressure of external nature, a detachment of the soul from the fetters of matter.” Local Artist Miguel Franco is able to step deep into his subconscious mind, away from the tethers of reality, and explore the realms of his imagination through his dreams. There, he is free to act upon every whim and collect the treasures that lie within the very epicenter of his psyche. These treasures enable him to create intricate, bright, and exciting works of art that he so generously shares with us.
More about Miguel:
Miguel Franco was born in Cuba in 1958. He became involved in the arts at a very young age while in school. Once he immigrated to the United States and began living in Miami, Fl his need to create art continued. He began painting and drawing  in a figurative and surrealist style and tapped into his limitless imagination. He possesses a unique, trademark style that is immediately recognizable.
He also makes sure to give back to his community. He recently donated a piece titled “Ya Basta” to American Verde,  Common Ground for Conservation, an organization whose mission is to promote “green” business practices in Florida as a culture of sustainability and  provide technical assistance to implement these practices. ( Miguel chose this piece because “it symbolizes the need for humanity to stop mistreating Mother Earth.”
He confesses that his  inspiration comes from “dreams where [he]  is able to visualize and retain them in [his] mind to later bring them to life. It is like traveling to another dimension as a tourist and bringing back souvenirs.” He believes “imagination is an alternate universe where we can travel at light speed without fear of receiving a citation. It is here, where artists don’t have brakes.”

Miguel  believes that the “Miami Art Scene is a great resource for up and coming new artists who want to be seen and heard. Overall, I think it is an excellent organization, and I applaud what they stand for.” He believes that in order for our art community to grow, “networking is important to keep something like this alive. I definitely am a promoter for them, and I try to educate people on their existence and purpose any time I can.”

His advice to new and emerging artists is to “make an effort with your art, and have all of your pieces come from your soul. There is a day for all artists who persevere, to succeed.”

So, what’s next for Miguel Franco, and what can we look forward to? He says, “at this time, I am working on several pieces of new art. I am working on a future partnership with a men’s clothing designer. I have plans to exhibit my art in the near future; however no date has been set. For future dates, you can follow me on Facebook, Miguel Franco.





El Descanso

“El Descanso”, copyright Miguel Franco Art


La Maquina del Tiempo, 6/7/12, 2:19 PM, 16C, 6000x8000 (0+0), 100%, Repro 2.2 v2,   1/8 s, R102.4, G79.3, B98.0

“Coeficiente y Mas”, copyright Miguel Franco Art


La Maquina del Tiempo Cubana

“La Maquina Del Tiempo Cubana”, copyright Miguel Franco Art


List of Exhibitions and/or awards received:

2008- Exhibition Walter & Cane Gallery

2009- Collective Exhibition “Art of Freedom” Gallery

2010- Renne Gallery

2010- Leal’s Gallery

2010- Collective Exhibition “Artistas Por Una America Verde”

2010- First Fame Doral Park Country Club Exhibition

2011- Moon Lighter Premier Exposition

2011- Miami Art Basel

2011- Collection Exhibition “Art Festival” Wynwood Art District

2012- Third Annual F.A.M.E. Event, Doral Country Club

2013- October 26 Hispanic Cultural Festival in Coral Gables

Follow Miguel:





Local Artist Profiles: Laelanie Larach



Artist Laelanie Larach 


Get to know Laelanie Larach An artist who is entranced by the melodies of silence.

By: Tatiana Enriquez

Ansel Adams once said, “When words become unclear, I shall focus with photographs. When images become inadequate, I shall be content with silence.”  Local artist Laelanie Larach shares in this philosophy. She dances within the spaces, colors and melodies of silence. Letting it guide her to uncover beauty and to create her multifaceted and polyrhythmic works of art.

More about Laelanie:

Laelanie Larach Nieves was born in San Pedro Sula, Honduras. A self-taught artist, she created her first masterpiece at age 15 titled “Mysterious Forrest”. As she matured as an artist, she began changing her style of painting and achieved an innovative style where she was able to combine her two passions; photography and painting. She blended the two in single, trio-dimensional artworks. Her work tells a story that begins at the center of her pieces. This story is then framed, or surrounded by another segment of the canvas with a touch of fantasy and surrealism. The center piece is almost always completely oil paint, giving it a surreal glossy enamel base dripping effect which is reflective of the lines and tones of the central piece and concept. In other works, she only uses oil on canvas in both the center piece and surrounding piece. When one looks closely at each artwork, we can see that she doesn’t follow any specific pattern.

Recently, she has  participated in two fundraising events; “Covers for the Cold”, a Fundraiser benefiting Camillus House ( in Miami and the expo-sale “Arte y la Paz ” for Fundacion Sampedrana Del Nino in her native Honduras. She says “I always try to support social works and foundations who wish to work with me, to expose my works. I support people with very basic art talent or who are starting, advising and giving tips for their artistic development. My experience in the industry overcame obstacles, and I contribute with my artistic knowledge, helping to promote new talent in this field.”

So what advice does she give new, emerging local artists in Miami? She says, “The first word that goes through my mind on this question is PERSEVERANCE. Never lose faith in your dreams and always believe in what you do. In Art, there are no barriers stopping you from achieving your essence as an artist. Just go for it!  Don’t think twice when you have an opportunity.”

So what’s next for Laelanie? She says, “I’m focused on Art Basel season. My next goal is to share my new collection, in which I’m putting all my effort so I hope everyone will enjoy it!”  Be sure to check out her artworks at ART CENTER WYNWOOD (149 NW 36 ST Wynwood Florida 33127) during Art Basel 2013 (Dec. 5-8 2013) till the end of December.





Lily Pad

“Lily Pad”,  Copyright Laelanie Larach Art



Silent Whisper

“Silent Whisper”, Copyright Laelanie Larach Art



Power of Faith

“Power of Faith”, Copyright Laelanie Larach



Exhibitions in the United States:

Downtown Art Days ( 2012)

Brickell Art Walk (2012)

Stepping Out for the Arts Luncheon (2012)

Pardos Exhibition (2012)

Elite Fine Art Gallery-Art Basel Season( 2012)

Epic Hotel Area 31 ( 2012)

Covers for the Cold Fundraiser benefiting Camillus House(2012)

Exhibition “Journey into the Soul” Art Fusion Galleries (2013)

Exhibition at Marina Blue (2013)

For Artists by Artists at Haven (2013)

Raw / Marvel at LMNT Gallery (2013)

Art Takes Times Square (2012)

 Exhibitions in Honduras:

Exhibition Innovacion at Hilton Hotel

Exhibition Expoventa Arte y Paz

Exhibition Mujeres Artistas (2010)

Photography Exhibition at CCS (2010)


Follow Laelanie:


Local Artist Profiles: Monique Lassooij

Monique bio pic

Artist Monique Lassooij

By Tatiana Enriquez

Get to know local artist Monique Lassooij: an artist with a sharp sense of humor and unwavering passion for her community!

Jimi Hendrix once said “When the power of love overcomes the love of power the world will know peace”. Local Artist Monique Lassooij injects us with her passion for art and reminds us of the importance of giving back to our community. We are truly lucky she decided to hop on over to our side of the pond!

More about Monique Lassooij:

Monique Lassooij was born and raised in The Netherlands and moved to Miami, Florida as an adult. In The Netherlands Ms. Lassooij started out as an abstract painter but over the years she developed a passion for figurative painting. After having studied with Dutch artists such as Pien Hazenberg and Henk Hubenet, she attended the Royal Academy for Fine Arts in The Hague and went on to receive several commissions for public places such as the Town Hall of the city of Scheveningen in The Netherlands. Her paintings hang in numerous private collections in the US and abroad as well. Ms. Lassooij says she finds her inspiration in colors and how those colors affect the subject whether she is painting on canvas, wood or a wall. Her subjects are often not placed within a context-giving background, allowing a single or combination of colors and geometric shapes to illuminate the chosen topic.

She is also very active in community programs within the Magic City. She says, “I like to participate in projects that are relatively small and direct like I do now with “Art that Feeds” from Touching Miami with Love. This is a project where artists create their art on a plate, which then gets to be auctioned off or sold and the proceeds go to feed children in the city of  Overtown. Each plate will provide a meal for at least 35 children. (for more information check out or She also painted doors for the “Revolving Doors Project” which focuses on homeless children and youth and especially the LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer) population. She says she is especially interested in this cause because these individuals have an even harder time than most on the streets since many “facilities will not open their doors for them.  Don’t forget that homeless children/youth are at a super high risk to fall in the hands of sex traffickers and other criminals.”  She also participated with them in a project where she helped “a great young man” create his door.

Last year, Monique  was invited by fellow artist Mano and his wife Cuqui to participate with Easter Seals South Florida, where she donated one of her paintings from the series “DOGS”.  Her “Blue Chihuahua” went to a very happy new owner and helped raise money for the cause.  She recalls, “…then I received a wonderful picture from the new owner of his chihuahua in front of the painting. That was really a cherry on top of it all! I think that is what I like about donating or creating pieces for a good cause… when you see a happy new owner of your piece, it feels great… and the thought that whenever a plate I made is sold at least 35 children in Overtown have a good meal, which helps them to perform better in school. Or when volunteers are able to save a dog / cat from euthanasia and get a new home because of a painting I donated… yep, that is truly a biggie for me!”

She is passionate about her city and the art within it and feels that in order to help it continue to grow  “[we should] not compare Miami with San Francisco or New York.  The Culture, the people, the history, the demographics are so different that it does not make sense at all to me. Lets be proud of our own Miami Art Identity and build from there. [Also], Miami Art goes a lot further than the flamingos and palm trees that some people outside of Miami think it is all about here. The galleries, museums and the local government should be more aware and cultivate local talent. Ask yourself: How weird is it if a Miami museum would not have local artists in their collection?”

How does Monique view our local art scene? She says “I love it! It is very diverse and colorful. It is a relatively new and a rapid developing art scene. I like how artists here are supportive of other artists. There is also a lot of collaboration going on and people here are not afraid of going outside their comfort zone. Look at the Good Wall on Calle Ocho: dozens of artists creating this wonderful display of local art and not everyone on that wall is a muralist.  On the other hand… no scene without their ‘haters and scammers’. ‘Haters’ for me is not a bad sign but an indication that I am doing something right. You can meet people who do a lot of talking but basically are after free art or the artists’ money. It might not be typical for the Miami art scene but it is something that I really noticed here. My personal experience however, is that the majority of people in the Miami art scene are good people and looking out for each other. I am proud to be part of it.”

Her advice to new artists on the scene is “work, work, work: realize that being an artist is hard work. It is not only creating but also marketing, sales, public relations… oh, you are a business. Go around and see what other artists in the community are doing. Meet artists, gallery owners, the shakers and the movers of the art scene in Miami. Learn from them, don’t be afraid to ask questions, have business cards and hand them out (yes, you paid for them, but not to sit on them). Be your own worst critic, keep dead lines, and be on time at venues where you are showing. It sounds obvious but not so much here.”

So, what next for Monique?! She says “I am currently working on the series ‘Proprietary Innocence’ (aka my disturbed children) and hopefully later this year it will be going in one or two shows (in and outside of Miami) but not yet 100% confirmed. I am also working on a large panel for the Sincerity Project that will be shown in June 2014 in Studio 18 in Pembroke Pines curated by Jill Slaughter.And of course, I will be starting the painting classes soon together with Eleazar Delgado at the McCormick Place in Downtown Miami”

Little Jimi_Monique Lassooij 2013

“Little Jimi” Copyright Monique lassooij Art

Really_ Monique Lassooij 2012

Copyright Monique Lassooij Art

The Day after _ Monique Lassooij 2012

Copyright Monique Lassooij Art


  • April 6 thru 27, 2013: All Drawing and Sketchbook Show – Blu Moon Studio of Art, Coconut Grove, FL
  • February 18, 2013 thru February 15 2014: ITTY BITTY KITTY SHOW,
  • December 15, 2012 thru February 15, 2013: RED – MANO Fine Art Project Space, Miami, FL
  • December 8-9, 2012: Art Basel Pop-up – The Creatures of the Night, Gallery Delight – The Station, Miami, FL
  • October 18, 2012: Meet Venus and Mo (presentation and opening of 2 murals) – LoF Center, Coral Gables, FL
  • September 19 thru 30, 2012: Yo MOMMA in the House – 12345 West Dixie Studio and Gallery, Miami, FL
  • August 11 – September 07, 2012: Wynwood Art Walk – B M de Varona Studio. Miami FL
  • July 14 – September 1, 2012: Earth Angels Outreach – The GAB Studio, Miami, FL
  • December 1 thru 5, 2011: Seventeen – The Gallery at Cortada Studio, Miami, FL
  • December 3, 2011: Art Zoo – Finnegan’s River, Miami, FL
  • October 24 thru November 18, 2011: Darkness – Rossetti Fine Art Gallery, Pompano Beach FL
  • October 15 thru November 12, 2011: Out of Context – Galerie Jenner, Fort Lauderdale, FL
  • September 17 thru November 8, 2011: Mona…Mona…Mona…An Ode to the Mona Lisa – MANO Fine Art Project Space, Miami, FL
  • July 1 thru 31, 2011: Art of T-Shirt – Sol Gallery CANDO Arts CO-OP, Miami Beach, FL
  • April 2 & 3, 2011: Spring for the Arts – Galleria, Ft Lauderdale, FL
  • February 23, 2011: River of Art – Bar 721, South Beach, FL
  • February 11 thru April 11, 2011: Cheesecake Pinup Show – Galerie Jenner, Ft Lauderdale, FL
  • December 11, 2010: Pop-up at the Art Center South Florida, South Beach, FL
  • November 26, 2010: White Party Weekend – The Bookstore in the Grove, Coconut Grove, FL
  • July 3 thru August 10, 2010: Words & Symbols – Windish-Hunt Fine Art Gallery, Coconut Grove, FL
  • April 14, 2010: 5 Minutes of Fame – Museum of Contemporary Art, North Miami, FL
  • February 6 thru February 28, 2010: Circus Circus – Windisch-Hunt Fine Art Gallery, Coconut Grove, FL
  • August 8, 2009: Fresh from the Fridge – Solo exposition Focaccia Rustica, Coconut Grove, FL
  • June 6, 2009: Summer Salon – Windisch-Hunt Fine Art Gallery, Coconut Grove, FL

 Follow Monique Lassooij at:


Local Artist Profiles: Paul Urdahl

Abstract Show

Artist Paul Urdahl

Get to know local artist Paul Urdahl: An artist with endless possibilities!

By: Tatiana Enriquez

“The Great Perhaps” were the last words of the poet Francois Rabelais, and author John Green brought these words back into our vocabulary in his novel Looking for Alaska. It’s a great phrase because it reminds us that there is adventure yet to be had, and that there is beauty and excitement in not knowing exactly what’s going to happen all of the time. In discovering the work of local artist Paul Urdahl, I was reminded of these words and learned that it’s a philosophy he shares as well. When creating his abstract, vivid and  colorful pieces, he prefers the unpredictability of pouring vs. the more controlled brush method because he feels it’s important to “embrace the unexpected things in life and go with the flow”. The result is the  limitless possibilities and freedom expressed in his pieces.

More about Paul Urdahl:

Paul Stephen Urdahl resides in Surfside, Fl.  He studied Interior Design and has worked for over two decades as a Lighting Designer.  Painting has always been a passion of his and is another outlet for him to release his creative energy. His style has evolved from structured to geometric to more free-flowing and organic. His paintings are based on the four classic elements; Fire, Air, Water, and Earth. He uses bold and  dynamic colors such as reds and oranges,  muted smoky tones, soothing and calming colors, and warm comforting tones.

Paul says that his inspiration comes from “…many different things. I love the amazing colors, shapes, and textures found in nature and that is my main inspiration.” He observes that “…the Miami art scene seems to be growing at a very rapid pace.” He believes this is in “…part due to the international recognition we receive from Art Basel. [We also have] the Second Saturday Art Walk in Wynwood. It brings out an eclectic mix of people enjoying art, music, and food from the popular food trucks…First Friday Art Walk in Downtown Miami is also very exciting. The new art museum downtown is also going to draw a lot of international art lovers to Miami.” Paul feels that we can help the Miami art scene continue to grow by “promoting Miami’s art scene via media and social media”. When asked what words of advice he would give new artists, Paul says “Be patient and get your art out there to be seen. A very easy way to show your art is via social media such as Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter. It’s a great no-cost way to be seen by thousands of people. Also, contact restaurants, salons, offices and offer to hang your work on consignment. They get art with no investment and you get to show your art to the world. [Last, but not least] participate in local art shows.”

So what’s next for Paul Urdahl, what can we expect to see?  Paul enthuses, “I’m planning on creating some functional art which combines LED lighting and sculpture.  Like my Elements Etc. page on Facebook to see all my latest creations and find out about my upcoming shows!”



Vintage magazines



“Unity” Copyright Paul Urdahl


“Collide” Copyright Paul Urdahl


 Exhibitions and Awards

Fuses Studio-Pancakes and Booze Art Show

Miami Gab Studio- Wynwood Art District Miami

AWA Gallery-Abstract Show Fort Lauderdale

Gallery 101 Fort Lauderdale

First Place-Gallery 101 Abstract Show Fort Lauderdale

Third Place 12” x 12” Show Gallery 101 Fort Lauderdale

Contact and Follow at:

Virtual gallery at . Summer Sale savings can be found in the Elements Etc. eSho

***Prices range from $25.00 for the Mini Element Gift Sets to $3,500.00 for a large scale stretched canvas piece. All pieces are framed or have finished edges, so they are ready to hang.

Local Artist Profiles: Kareem David Piper

kareem profile

Artist Kareem David Piper

Get to know Kareem David Piper: Student of universal truths, purveyor of cosmic beauty!

By Tatiana Enriquez

Nirvana is a state of enduring happiness that is free of conditions. Most, if not all of us, will probably never reach it.  Gaze upon one of Kareem David Piper’s pieces, and you will find yourself, at the very least, believing you are already there. Kareem’s artwork is radiant, compelling, and bursting with introspection and spirituality. It questions everything and holds nothing back. His images reflect his experiences, culture, and desire to explore universal truths. They take us on a journey to what was, what is, and what lies beyond our limited consciousness. Simply put,  his work speaks to the soul and enlightens our minds.

More About Kareem:

Kareem David Piper was born in Trinidad and migrated to Florida at the age of 7. He was quickly scouted and earned a full scholarship to New World School of the Arts. Coming from the rich and vibrant culture that is Trinidad culture,  he took to the arts from a very early age.  However, due to family issues, he returned to Trinidad and did not come back to Miami for another decade. Once back, he joined the Marine Corps and served for 10 years. Kareem’s mixed descent is reflected in his work which does not conform to any one specific genre or style. In his own words, “his work aspires to narrate his own journey of rediscovery of ancient truths and wisdom; especially the power of love.”

 Kareem shows love for his community and gives back by participating in philanthropic efforts. He has donated his artwork and has participated in several fundraising/philanthropic events, including Covers for the Cold, a fundraiser held in December 2013 benefiting Camillus House, and 2 Girls for a Cause, a fundraiser benefiting the Diabetes Research Institute and Walk with Walgreens, held at the Hangar Gallery in Wynwood this past Friday, April 5th.

 So, where does his inspiration come from? Kareem says “[it] comes from the universe and the collective consciousness that binds us all together.” He feels that the Miami Art Scene “…is very young and full of energy and opportunity. I believe that there is lots of love and it is a great launching pad for any emerging artist.” In order for our art community to grow, his view is that “as an artist, and art enthusiast, I think in order to help it grow we simply need to utilize any and all resources at hand to expose the amazing talent that exist in our city, which is already being done. Miami and Miami-based artists are doing amazing things within the art community here and abroad but there should be more outlets to let those things be known, perhaps even outside the confines of our city.” He offers this advice to new artists on the scene, “firstly, I would tell them to believe in themselves, visualize what direction they want to take their art, then act. Participate, get involved, meet people, remain humble and above all else just do your art, don’t forget what it means to you, then give it to the world so that they can have their way with it.”

What’s next for Kareem’s art? He says, “I am currently working on and planning a couple of shows within the Miami area and overseas, no dates yet. As far as what is next, just growth, art is living in me and it grows as I do.”

kareem buddha

Copyright Kareem David Piper Art

kareem landscape

Copyright Kareem David Piper Art


Culture Clash, 1310 Gallery Fort Lauderdale Fl,  July 2012.

Hangar Gallery group Shows, Wynwood Fl,   2012-2013.

Basil Pop Up “Creatures of the Night” The Station, Miami ,Fl.November 2012.

City of Pembroke Pines Bi-Annual Juried Show, Studio 18, Pembroke Pines Fl.

Solo Exhibition, “Ascension”  Blu  Moon Gallery/ Studio Coconut Grove, Fl. January 2013

Follow Kareem at:


Local Artist Profiles: Ivan Roque


Artist Ivan Roque

Get to know local artist Ivan Roque: an artist who is as passionate about his community as he is about his art!

By Tatiana Enriquez

Ivan Roque’s artwork compels us to step up close to it. It is not the kind of artwork you can absorb at a glance. His pieces draw you in and entice your eyes to go on a visual journey. They are a menagerie of images and words that often surround one central image, which demands attention, yet has an unassuming subtlety of its own. His pieces convey messages of love, community, and the battle between good and evil,  among many other themes. Simply put, there is nothing simple about them.

In addition to creating these thought-provoking and complex pieces, Ivan also gives back to  his community and supports the local Miami art scene. Every year, he donates one of his pieces to the Locks of Love Foundation ( He also recently participated in an event for Camillus House ( called “Covers for the Cold”,  where he also donated artwork to help raise funds to help end homelessness.

When asked what his thoughts are on the Miami art scene, his response was “…it’s great…there are a lot of creatives out here really trying to push the boundaries and not only watching the scene grow, but [watching] the city itself flourish.” He also expressed that “…we need to get more collectors out here in order for the artwork to move…and [to shine a spotlight on] Miami artists to other parts of the world.” Through these efforts, Ivan feels the Miami art scene will undoubtedly grow.

So, what advice would he give new and emerging artists? Ivan says, “network, research, sacrifice, show as much as you can and work like there’s no tomorrow. Oh and did I mention network?”

Ivan shows love for his city, not only through his work, but through his relentless support of the local scene and involvement in community outreach organizations.

So , what’s next? Ivan says,  “Shhhh its a suprise”!

More about Ivan Roque:

Born December of 1991, Ivan J. Roque is an urban artist from Miami, Florida. He was raised in the inner city of the infamous Carol City and has always had a passion for art, hip hop, and culture alike. His influences range from both old masters such as Salvador Dali and Jean Michel Basquiat to the geniuses of today such as Justin Bua, Shepard Fairey and GG. Roque has been able to accomplish many achievements for his young age, such as working with the rap group sensation RVIDXR KLVN and alongside established artists such as Stephen Gamson, Gabriel Gimenez and Ruben Ubiera. Also not to mention that he was chosen to be a part of acclaimed Pop Up Pianos Miami during Art Basel and a commission piece by the Town of Surfside. He is currently studying to obtain his Bachelor’s of Fine Art in Visual Arts at the Miami International University of Art & Design. His work is extremely fresh and something to really be looking onto this coming year as we begin to see what can come of those who are forever lost.


Mixed Media
Ready made and found objects



Copyright Ivan Roque Art


Copyright Ivan Roque Art


2010- Gallerie Jenner’s Cheesecake Exhibition
2011- Hope For Haiti Group Show
2011- Nova Rotoract Group Show
2012- Locks For A Cause (Donation)
2012- Karen Ledbetter Galleries “The 3rd Art Realm
2012- MIU Conglomerate Juried Exhibition
2012- Art Fusion Gallery “Reflections & Passions”
2012- City of Surfside Turtles Public Art
2012- Wynwood Cigar Factory and Gallery
2012- Ave 74 “300” Group Show
2012- Ave 74 “Miami’s Most Liked Artist” Showcase
2012- Paragon Gallery “International Ballet Festival”
2012- Yo Miami’s “Average Joe” Group Show
2012- Paragon Gallery “Road to Basel” Group Show
2012- Bear and Bird Gallery “Monster Mash Show”
2012- Art Basel’s Pop Up Piano Miami
2012- Del Toro Shoes Collaboration/Group Show for Art Basel
2012- Art Fusion “Fusion IV Seducing the Globe” Exhition
2012- Camillus House “Covers for the Cold” Charity Event
2012- Yo Miamis Art Basel “Miconic” Exhibition
2013- The Station “Dada Pop Up” Gallery
2013- NAC Gallery “Fine Art Auction”
2013- LMNT
2013- Yo Miami’s “Average Joe” Group Show

Follow Ivan at:


Local Artist Profiles: Xibie Corea

xibie art2

Get to know Xibie Corea: a brilliant artist, with a brilliant heart!

By Tatiana Enriquez

Xibie has been an integral part of the Miami art scene for several years. Not only through exhibiting her beautiful artwork in several shows and exhibitions, but also through creating and participating in several events and festivals that celebrate and spotlight local and emerging artists. She has also donated her time and art to support local fundraisers benefittingprofile organizations such as Camillus House. Xibie radiates with positive energy that is fueled by her passion for ART and her community!

More about Xibie:

Miami local artist, born in São Paulo, Brazil. Moved to the United States in 1993. Got involved with the arts and received her Bachelors in Fine Arts from New World School of the Arts/University of Florida in 2006. Xibie has been working in her field as an art director for many years. In 2003 she joined “Art by Girls”  and that venture happened ‘till 2007, where she curated and managed exhibitions as well as showed some of her own work. Now Xibie is working independently within commercial arts, painting, photography and is much involved with the “blogging” world. Xibie’s main influences are Warhol, Basquiat, Miró and Mackenzie Thorpe (as well as illustrators such as Natalie Dee, Exploding Dog, etc). Oh, and most definitely street art/graffiti and stickers! Being categorized as “pop” as well as “neo-expressionism” artist, Xibie is eager to keep on developing her work while becoming more involved with the community.



  1. -Acrylics
  2. -Photography
  3. -Graphic Design
  4. -Mixed Media

xibie art

Copyright Xibie Corea Art

xibie art 3

Copyright Xibie Corea Art




2012 – Doral Art Fest – October

2012 – yo MOMMA in the HOUSE. the SHOW. by Myra Wexler

2012 – Representation (09/2012) at Alberto Linero Gallery, Wynwood

2012 – BAW Brickell Artwalk – August/September

2012 – Artist of the month Sept. Jolt Radio Station

2012 – Donation/Art Auction – No Boundaries Prosthetic Foundation

2012 – Digital Art Beatz (Grey Area – Wynwood)

2012 – Battle of the Characters – Xibie Productions (CS Gallery)

2012 – Finalist – Jordan Winery Contest 4on4 Miami – Bakehouse

2012 – Representation (starting MARCH) at THE HANGAR, Wynwood

2011 – WeMerge Magazine Featured Artist (Winter ‘11 – Vol 4. Issue 4)

2011 – Artist Collective Extravaganza – Local Radiation (The Stage)

2010 – Art Basel Group Exhibition (PrecisionArt)

2010 – _glitch. – Xibie Productions (Chirinos Sanchez Gallery)

2009 – {exposed} – Xibie Productions (Color my Gallery)

2009 – Images of Voice – Art by Girls (Color my Gallery)

2007 – The Little Show – Art by Girls (Color my Gallery)

2007 – The Devil Made Me Do It – Gallery 138

2006 – By Nature – Art by Girls (International Institute of Fine Arts, Dance)

2006 – BFA Show – New World School of the Arts

2004 – Jazz Band CD Cover + Label  – Design Contest Winner (NWSA)

2004 – Miami-Dade Tie – Design Contest Winner (NWSA)

2004 – Rising Stars (NWSA)

2003 – X-mas Show – Art by Girls (Color my Gallery)

2003 – Ruff Draft – Art by Girls (Color my Gallery)

Follow Xibie at:

Artist Profiles: Get To Know Your Local Artists!

So now that we’re all getting over Basel Fever, I think it’s time we get-to-know our local artists. I would like to introduce  Artist Profiles: Get To Know Your Local Artists!  In this weekly post, I will introduce you to local artists you may or may not have heard of, expose their story, share their work, tell you what makes them tick, what pisses them off, and where you can view and purchase their work and merchandise! This is your chance to get up-close and personal with some of Miami’s best talent!

Swim Week Day 2: Great Fashion at Funkshion, awesome event at W Hotel, breathtaking view at SLS hotel, Kim Kardashian at Delano By Betty Alvarez

Day 2 of this festive week is like no other. Great looking people and models stroll Collins Avenue heading towards or leaving parties and after-parties. The atmosphere is jolting with excitement.

First I wanted to go to W Hotel but my temptations first went to the Funshion Fashion tent where I caught the first glimpse of Ada and Toxic Sadie, Elle & Ella, and Guria. Great models sporting great designer swim suits. The area was packed but I was fortunate enough to have a space for me. The colors and fabrics were all brilliantly made. It made a great night to start.

Then I went to the Salon Allure Opening Night party at the W Hotel poolside. While I was looking for a spot to take my photos, I ran into a PR friend of mine and she placed me in front row. It was very easy to take the photos. What I heard there were about 75 designers that were part of this exclusive fashion show and it was hot. At each interval, the Brazilian drummer excited the crowd for the next line-up. Cocktails were courtesy of Grey Goose. Another great party that his hotel had.

On my way to the Delano, I went to SLS Hotel as they hosted the afterparty for the Make-A-Wish Fashion Show with Niki Poulos. It was my first time at the hotel and it was fabulous. The hotel is gorgeous and I the pool area is spectacular. The big rubber ducky was a no miss to guests as they enter the area. Smartwater sponsored the event.

Lastly, I made my stop at the Delano where Midori presented Kim Kardashian party hosted by Ocean Drive Magazine. The backdrop for Midori where decorated in small bottle of Midori which gave it a good look and Midori infused cocktails were the special of the day. However, I did see Kim Kardashian but then I saw a big lighted camera on the far corner of the pool area. As I headed over there, she was there. She gave a speech thanking everyone who came and was surprised by an artist who painted a portrait of hers in top speed. The place was kicking and so were the people.

Great 2nd night out!!

Model Profile: Ingrid Suarez

Model Profile: Ingrid Suarez: I carry my own seal of approval. Plenty of aptitude and the attitude to go with it.

Where did “The Suarez” come from??? Her momma, where else?! Actually the last name Suarez was her mother’s maiden name. Which after her untimely death. Ingrid decided to assume it as her own as a way of having her mom’s memory live on. In true Ingrid fashion she has taken this last name to another level.

She has made it possible for those who have yet to meet her, know who she is with just the mention of her name. She wants “The Suarez” to be more than just a name. She wants it to resonate for years to come. “The Suarez” is becoming a Brand and its own entity. Her taste is a diverse as they come. Which is why one day you see her as a Vampire and the next a Pinup Doll. She can be strong and sexy. And subtle and sweet.

There are no limits to her looks or persona, but one thing she is…Unique and Original! Which is why so many people are asking to work with and ask for “The Suarez by name. They want only what she can bring to the table. The Suarez is full of ideas and will always give you her insight. But she is also willing to hear the other person’s. She is an expert in marketing and networking. Her favorite motto is…”One hand washes the other”. And that is exactly what she does with those who do right by her.

She is as professional and loyal as they come! And always expects the same from those she decides to work with and bring into her circle. The Suarez has become synonymous with the very loved and charismatic Cuban Puppet Pepe Billete. She has been in numerous of his videos and there are plans for many more ventures in the Escoria Films camp. She has also joined forces to build and be featured in the skits for “EFFIN-TEE Productions” with Mister Takeover and Francisco Duran(Comedian).

The Suarez has recently added actress and agent to her resume. She is currently in the works of opening her own casting agency. So that she can bring fresh and undiscovered talents upfront and into the spotlight. The Suarez plans on letting her list of experiences and talents grow, there is no plans of her stopping or slowing down. She is a force to be reckoned with, her reach is extensive and very prominent! And her voice is always heard above everything and anything. When The Suarez speaks…people pay attention!

The Suarez has been in the music scene for the last 12 years. From the Breakbeat Days in Orlando, to the House Music scene in Miami. Because of this, she has become great friends with some world famous DJs and even some of the Local Talent. The Suarez’s taste in music is all over the place, she considers herself to be musically promiscuous. But if she were to consider herself as a child of any one genre? It would definitely be for her love of Rock Music.

The Suarez has friends from all walks of life. She will let anyone into her world so long as they keep it as real as she is. She speaks her mind, is blunt, honest, abrasive, and has no problem with letting you know she doesn’t like you. The Suarez is bringing her sexy and no bullshit attitude to the industry. Bitch or not, Love her or Hate her. She is one of the best people you will ever have the privilege meeting. Hopefully one day you will.

So you see…I’m not JUST a Model. There is much more to The Suarez than meets the eye.


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