Meet Alette Simmons-Jiménez, a mixed-media visual artist

📸: Photo courtesy of Alette Simmons-Jiménez

Who are you? What do you do?

I’m a visual artist who works in painting, sculpture, video, photography, light, and sound.  My work has developed around my personal life experiences. I am a third-generational American, coming from a mixed ancestral lineage, beginning with ancient Anatolia, to Austria, Germany, and Poland.  As a child of a U.S. military family, I spent most of my youth living outside the U.S. I then later chose to leave myself and spent 17 years living and developing an art practice in the Dominican Republic. Finally, at least for now, I live here in Miami. My work reflects the distinctly Miamian characteristic of cultural hybridity.  I enjoy creating works in a maximalist style, navigating across categories, and stacking unlike topographies that have influenced me.

Wax poetic for a minute and tell us: what brings you most alive about this city? 

When the decision was made to return to the U.S., Miami was chosen for its great weather, a small but thriving art scene, its multiculturalism, and particularly the Latino population.  I had no idea of the art centric explosion to come, but it was such a lucky turn. Like The New Tropic’s recent feature on the most beautiful tree-lined streets around the city, I find these roadways can just transport me. I also love the water, from the River of Grass to the skyscrapers bordered by water on all sides. It’s everywhere and is ever-changing, a color for every mood. We are connected to it, dependent on it, and affected by it at every turn.

How does Miami help you do what you do or influence your work?

I’m a visual person, and I tend to describe things in colors. I see Miami as an abundance of blues and greens, which promotes peace and harmony, and is connected to life, rebirth, and renewal. That’s basically what shapes my work as an artist.

What’s your favorite Miami memory?

This is silly… but I’ll never forget it!  Before I lived here, sometimes we’d fly in from the D.R. for a family getaway. Approaching the city, I’d look out the plane window and tell my little 5 year-old son “Look, look, it’s Miami!”  One time he beat me to it and said, “Mommy, mira, mira, es tu Ami!” — he must have thought I owned all of the magical Ami!

If you could eat only one meal from a local restaurant for the rest of your life, what would it be?

I am in love with Okami in the Miami Design District — so fresh, so natural, and a sensuous mix of flavors.

Outside of the obvious stop above, share your other top destinations for where you’d go on your perfect Miami day.

Gather friends for coffee and a chocolate croissant at Buena Vista Deli, then pack a picnic lunch and drive out to Loop Road in Cypress National Preserve, take photos, videotape or — best of all — a late afternoon hike to watch the birds fly in at sunset, and top it off with a fun dinner at Sherwoods Bistro.

What’s your favorite local social media account to follow and why?

I have two right now. I’m a little partial to @art.seen.365 because they featured me in an Instagram live chat — ha! But really, Dainy Tapia has all the goods on up to the minute happenings in the Miami art world. And then I can’t not mention @cmxnr, as in Commissioner, headed by Dejha Carrington, which supports artists through their Collector Memberships. They award commissions to local artists — the collectors get original art four times a year. It’s win-win, and such a great community of creative caring people. Their events are stellar!

If you could give any one piece of advice to locals, what would it be?

Don’t get stuck with the same old, same old — keep searching for new experiences. Miami is growing at warp speed and there are some great things out there. Step out of your comfort zone and be wonderfully surprised.

What are you looking forward to this year?

Earlier this year, a large amount of my current work was on exhibit in a solo show at the Museum of Arts & Sciences in Daytona Beach. I took a much needed three month break on producing work to read, think, sketch, plan, and design what might come next. I’m really ready to turn these ideas into reality. I’ll soon be fully into a new suite of large-scale mixed-media tapestries, and a pair of new video projects.

I was also recently selected from 349 other Florida artists to exhibit in the upcoming Florida Biennial at the Art & Cultural Center in Hollywood, opening in October, and have been selected to present a solo show of lens-based work at the Miami International Airport, opening in a year or so at their Camera Works Gallery in the airport.

That’s a wrap on this week’s Locals to Know. Know someone who ought to be featured or would like to be featured yourself? Reach out by sending an email to [email protected] with the subject line “TNT Locals to Know 2022.” If chosen, you might just see yourself or a friend in a future newsletter.