Flavio Galvan is a talented, Argentinian born artist who now resides in Miami, Florida.  There’s something about his work www.flaviogalvan.com that makes me smile.  I think it’s because of my love of Miami and the laid back, open spirit of the city. However, Flavio’s work is about much more than Miami.  It comes from his own experiences and memories.  Read on and find out more about this unique artist.

MICHAEL: Hello Flavio! Your work is very contemporary and NOW. It also makes me think about Miami which I love. Are you inspired by Miami?

FLAVIO: I am definitely inspired by Miami.  It’s a city full of contrasts … the Anglo, the Hispanic, the African, the beauty of its flora and fauna … and its skyscrapers as well. But above all, the characters I see walking its streets, the way they dress and the freedom they seem to exude.

MICHAEL: Yes. Aren't you from Argentina? What is it about Latin American artists? I think Latin American artists are fantastic. The work is always so warm and human. What do you think?

FLAVIO: Yes, I am from a small town in Cordoba, Argentina. What do Latin American artists have? Fire and passion! We love and dislike intensely. We believe in friendships that last and family unity.  We come from countries with beautiful lands and strange animals. We have many images accumulated in our brains, images that come out in our paintings. I personally paint based on personal experiences and things that surprise me in this country.

MICHAEL: Miami is a great art city especially in December during Art Basel. But what is Miami like for artists during the rest of the year?

FLAVIO: I look for inspiration in things other than the art I see being painted by others. Although I do frequent galleries in Wynwood (an arts district of Miami), my art is in my head and my heart. It’s where the images accumulated through my entire life reside. Miami is not a bad place to be in when Art Basel is over.  I would, however, love to be included in Art Basel some time soon.

MICHAEL: Miami and Miami Beach are very creative places. What's the art scene like? Do you know many other artists there? Is it competitive or collaborative?

FLAVIO: I do not know a lot of artists. I have been a loner most of my life. The art scene in South Florida, as it is elsewhere, is very competitive and I have rarely received any help from other artists. I do, however, know one artist with whom I have collaborated for over 15 years and he is from my native Cordoba.

MICHAEL: Why did you leave Argentina? I would love to visit there. Is your experience as an artist different in Florida than it would be in Argentina?

FLAVIO: Argentina is only a part of this exciting world we live in. I had to leave because I needed new experiences and I always dreamed of coming to the U.S. where I have found inspiration, admiration for its people, the rule of law and relatively safety of my person. The price I pay is to be away from family and friends, but economically, the U.S. presents many more opportunities than Argentina.

MICHAEL: I really like your paintings that are giant headshots of modern guys. They're very Miami. How did you come up with those? I think female headshots would be excellent as well.

FLAVIO: These guys are found anywhere in the USA, not only in Miami. I see them everywhere. I have at least three or four more paintings planned where girls are featured. My paintings are often 6 feet by 6 feet because I like painting mural proportions such as Michelangelo and other great masters did in their day.

MICHAEL: I love mural sized paintings. I wish more artists would paint BIG, but I guess canvas costs a lot of money. Do you have a large studio? Where do you keep your work?

FLAVIO: Unfortunately, materials for painting are indeed expensive and sometimes I stretch canvas myself to save money. I do have a studio which has high ceilings, but I would love to have a giant studio (like an industrial loft) so I can make sculptures. I have a small gallery in my studio and art dealers, gallery owners and even buyers visit my studio/gallery. Since I was a kid, I have drawn and constructed things with my hands. My art interest is not limited to painting only.

MICHAEL: What kind of sculpture do you do?

FLAVIO: I like making mobiles with recycled materials that people discard. I like metals and soldering things. I have not made many - I am waiting to have a bigger space to work in.

MICHAEL: Are you a full-time artist? What is it like for you being an artist today? Do you think society takes artists seriously?

FLAVIO: I am a full-time artist. I do not have a job other than being a painter. It is not easy to be a full-time painter because of economic uncertainty. Society regards artists well, but art is not always considered a necessity of life as it should be.

MICHAEL: How do you think art is a necessity of life? Is it a necessity like food and water or oxygen?

FLAVIO: Art is not a basic need for the body like water or food. It is a basic and very important food for the soul. Life without art is a waste of time. Long after a man's death, his art survives for centuries.

MICHAEL: What are you thinking when you're painting? Does your mind wander off? What does the painting process feel like?

FLAVIO: I do not think with words. I play loud music and plug in to my life experiences. I become full of emotions and I paint. I do not think very much. Painting for me is a catharsis. Sometimes I cry and sometimes the brush and my hand are detached from me and take a life of their own.

MICHAEL: Interesting. Do you have a process or some things that you do to nurture and preserve your talent? Like working out for muscles, is there a way to work out for painting?

FLAVIO: The only exercise I engage in is painting itself.

MIC HAEL: It has been great talking with you Flavio.  I wish you the very best.

To find out more about Flavio Galvan, check out his website at www.flaviogalvan.com.