BY ANDREAS BUTLER
Moises Suriel, a Dominican Republic-born artist, will be the featured artist for the next City of Daytona Beach Leisure Services “Art in Public Places” event.
The grand opening is Friday, July 28 at 6:30 p.m. until 8:30 p.m. at the Yvonne Scarlett-Golden Cultural and Educational Center (YSG), 1000 Vine Street.
“I am very excited about coming to Daytona Beach. Florida is home. This is an opportunity for me to come back. I used to live in Orlando. To have my work exhibited in Daytona is a dream come true,” Suriel told the Daytona Times. He is now based in Waterbury, Connecticut.
Suriel’s paintings will be displayed at the Daytona Beach center for three months.
The exhibit will feature 44 oil paintings with different themes, including political, cultural and celebrity.
“Moises is a fabulous and phenomenal artist. He is a Facebook sensation. That’s how we found out about him. His work is tremendous and compelling. He can paint and draw with both hands,” said Percy Williamson, Daytona Beach’s Leisure Services director.
“We will have jazz music and entertainment at the opening as well as hors d’oeuvres. We hope everyone comes out and enjoy it the grand opening and continue to enjoy the exhibit.’’
Amy Alysia will be the featured singer during the event.
Time with students
During his time in Daytona, Suriel also will meet with local children.
“I am also going to enjoy the show and spend some time with some kids in the community that I am supposed to meet. I hope to inspire them and influence them to enjoy and take part of the arts as well,” Suriel told the Times.
Encouraging the youth in art is important to an artist like Suriel.
He explained, “Art brings out the creativity in everyone. For me, without art I wouldn’t know what I would be doing. I was kicked out of school twice because I rather do art than write and learn ABCs.”
He added, “I was born an artist. The arts opened the world for me. Art is important. Everything around us is art. Art is right in front of you and you don’t always notice. Without arts in school, it takes away creativity and imagination from the youth.”
Stories through art
Suriel is an innovative artist who specializes in portraiture art and enjoys telling stories through his art work.
He said, “Yes, I love illustrating. I do my best to try to create a meaningful story. I let the viewer look at my paintings and try to see what I am trying to portray.”
Suriel also specializes in oils, acrylics, water color, pencil and charcoal mediums.
His current collection explores various cultures through the ages exposing the viewer to various topics such as American history and African cultural influences.
Suriel’s other professional work includes 12 years as a fashion designer in New York and several years at Disney World in Orlando. He has showcased his art at exhibits in galleries and museums and two Disney art festivals.
Both careers have helped him as an artist.
“Those experiences taught me to be more versatile. I worked in fashion, but I never took a fashion class. I was able to pick up different styles. Everything changes in fashion. Art just gave me that creativity in the fashion world,’’ he explained.
“At Disney, I learned the business side. I learned about dealing with clients, working with them and being professional. I try to be professional in everything I do, especially when dealing with clients.’’
Suriel said he became an artist at age 12. His upbringing also has an influence on him as an artist.
“I was very young in the Democratic Republic. It was a Third World country. I wasn’t in school much because I got kicked out. I stayed home all year and just did art. My grandma gave me paper and just told me to draw. I was drawing while kids were in school,” Suriel recalled.
When he was 7 years old, his mother brought him to the United States He lived and grew up in both New Jersey and New York.
Suriel shared, “My mom was already living and working in the U.S. She came and got me and brought me here since once she found out I wasn’t in school. I started first grade in the U.S. I spoke Spanish and people thought I was stupid.
“One day I was drawing in class and from that moment on I got respect. They saw I was a good artist and very smart. Teachers put my drawings on the board and my life changed. I opened up.
Art brought out my character. It made me more sociable and accepted. I got into some art programs and went from there.”
Suriel went on to earn a bachelor’s degree from the School of Visual Arts in New York City.