Painter Tupicalo is a rising star

caines | 12/13/2012, 4:30 a.m.

Artist inspires with art, life story

It is safe to say at this point that Miami Art Basel has an undeniable allure, beckoning artists and art admirers from all over the country and even the world, into the heart of Miami. As graffiti comes closer to the forefront of creativity, it almost appears as if the entire city of Miami is transformed into an extensive and never-ending canvas. Everything about the featured artists becomes inspiring. One featured artist during MAB is quickly making a name for himself by creating inspiration and exuding inspiration as well.

A new beginning

Art n Souls gallery located at Art Expo during Art Basel is filled with the works of talented artists of color. Placed on the largest and most prominent wall in the gallery is the work of Tupicalo a pastelist, tattoo artist and prison art teacher. There are portraits of beautiful women and musical legends such as Quincy Jones. Immediately, it is easy to notice the versatility of the pieces adorning the gallery walls from the artist. All of these pieces were done while I was in prison, the artist confesses. Tupicalo was released from a Georgia prison a mere six months ago on July 24th, and despite the set backs that cost him 16 years of his life, he proudly showed his artwork at Miami Art Basel. The owner of Art n Soul, Al Huggins, said that he really wanted to make sure that he provided the necessary exposure for artists who are interested in getting their work out into the public. I just want to give all of my artists the proper exposure, Huggins said. It almost seems as if Art Basel is the beginning for the artist. We have a lot more lined up for him in the upcoming weeks, Huggins said of the pastelist. Tupicalo will be doing some work in Sunrise, Hollywood and Fort Lauderdale.

The highest of highs

One of the world's greatest quotes illustrates the spirit of Art Basel and Tupicalos sentiments about prisoners acquiring a trade in prison: Creativity is the highest form of intelligence. While Tupicalo says he appreciates the importance of education, he also says that developing a trade is what will translate into a job for rehabilitated prisoners or anyone for that matter. Something I really want to see prisoners do with their time is view education as a vocation and focus on a skill, Tupicalo said. It can be anything: photography, painting, journalism anything. More than anything Tupicalo wanted people to be inspired by his story and his art. I almost feel like I had to go to prison to learn how to paint, Tupicalo said. By Julia Samuelsjsamuels@miamitimesonline.com