From a distance, South Beach’s famed coastline is speckled with a parade of beautiful seaside partisans and memorable waters glistening for miles on end, but with an eye for detail, it’s hard to see anything beyond the scattered remnant’s of an uncaring beach-goer. Litter stretches along the sands of this once charming destination and we do nothing more than stand back and watch as it becomes as disheveled as the trash that’s cluttering its shores. Tessie De Felice, artist and clean coast advocate, has spent the past six years voicing her teachings of environmental cleanliness through her luring mixed media paintings that relay the powerful message of hope. An empty canvas is inspired by collections of non-degradable waste found on Miamis beaches. While shaping her pieces, De Felice overlays the scraps with a blend of pigments and resin, finding that the choice paint allows the collage to shine. The final product is nothing short of brilliant.
A diamond in the rough that conveys a profound message, begging the world to treat it’s mother earth with the same dignity and respect she has blessed us with. The chaotic atmosphere of her profound piece titled “The Remains of South Beach on Any Given Monday Number 8″ keeps the spectator on edge and then perplexed by the artists use of miscellaneous beach scraps; a broken sandal, a child’s sand shovel, a bike chain, a fisherman’s bait bag and corners of cardboard boxes pointed outward displaying what De Felice describes as a shameful accomplishment, making a point that while Egypt produced monumental pyramid’s for the Pharaohs, Miami’s pyramids are constructed with nothing more than improperly disposed recyclables. Her devotion to recycling has generated ideas beyond just using disposables for their picturesque qualities, but even for a paintings foundation, using old linen as apposed to canvas on selected pieces.
Although this has been a strong six year project for De Felice, her passion for art began years before in her hometown of Pescara, Italy. Having a growing interest in the arts, De Felice migrated to Naples where she studied Art History and History of Religion at the internationally acclaimed L’Istituto Universitario Orientale diNapoli. Not only relying on her expertise in Art History as a frame for the illustrious works, she incorporates her philosophical and religious studies as a forethought during her creative enthusiasm, using spiritual relics and numerology in a number of her collections.
De Felice’s longing for exploration and knowledge drove her to live in many prominent European cities. Some of which include Rome, Paris, and then London where she attended the noted Palladium Academy, but the creative mind found it’s spark in the ever glistening lights of South Beach. Moving to the city in 1999, De Felice felt more in-tune with the area than her own hometown of Pescara, discovering new-found stimulation in every city block. “That’s what gives me inspiration.” De Felice claims. “The light. The color. Every single night and every single morning I ask myself what I did so good in life to deserve this paradise.” Although she says it was a former love that brought her to the city, it’s easy to see it was it’s charm that kept her here and over the years she has watched it mature into the ever evolving, urbane metropolis it is today. “You are now in a city that is a cosmopolitan. We Have the opera. We have the ballet. We are starting to become more educated. We have the ocean and the beach in the heart one of the most famous cities in the world and just because you don’t pay, you go, you spend the time, you have to make it in to a carpet of garbage? That is the thanks you give?” De Felice exclaimed. The artist’s resentment is not exclusively, but predominately directed towards some of the more ill-mannered tourists that visit the seascape, which is depicted in some of her Fellini inspired pieces (one of which illustrates Neptune with a vengeance, charging towards the shore with his trident in hand during what looks like the height of tourist season). Overall, Tessie’s plan is to spawn an educated culture; a new generation of people who can respect the world they live in and with the artists popularity burgeoning nationally as well as internationally, hopes are only high for the gifted maverick. Not only has De Felice been showcased in a number of world renowned magazines, including a two page story in last years Italian Vanity Fair, but she has recently delivered a majority of her paintings to New York where they will be displayed in a showroom at the Trump Towers in the coming months.
The visionaries understanding of texture and color depth as well as her ability to conceptualize works of art with such fluid composure and serenity will nudge her a step closer to her aspirations every trip to the beach and every stroke of a brush. It is not only the beauty in the painting but in her ideas and self that will benefit her mission, guiding habitual humankind through it’s next generation. A generation where we can learn to live harmoniously with Mother Earth. De Felices bright outlook on days to come leaves hope that the vivid spectrum of this world will prevail because to her, “where there is the blue of the ocean, the green of nature, and gold which is the sun, we are not dead.”
For information on the artist, visit www.tessiedefelice.com