The Secret Species invades Miami

The Secret Species
The Secret Species Photo: Sherri Krazl

Curious creatures inspire

ART195 Students with Marius and the Secret Species

ART 195: Intro to Art Education with Marius and the Secret Species

"I've always thought of great design as something I would wear on a shirt, or if on a poster - one that I would want to steal," said Visiting Artist Marius Valdes candidly as he explained his approach and the beginnings of his Secret Species Project. It began in grad school when he was advised to shift his thesis project away from what he did best [illustrations] to something different. He was encouraged to take photos, but of what? So he began with clay - creating a new species of characters that he would shape, bake, photograph, paint, design packaging around and animate. Now, 11 years later, his creatures have become seeds that he plants to inspire and peak curiosity.

So what brought Marius and his Secret Species to Miami? Art Education Faculty, Stephanie Danker who attended one of his earlier exhibitions and was inspired to use the Valdes Species project to help others through her passion for art education. "It is hard for students to go between two dimensional (2D) and three dimensional (3D) work - but, they can do it with this - they can see it, understand it and its fun working with a character."

During the artist's opening this week, Marius visited and led activities for both students and faculty. He visited most closely with Danker's Art Across the Curriculum class and the Intro to Art Education class, who had recently completed an animation project drawing inspiration from his work. In addition to Art Education students, this class has an interesting mix of business and early childhood education majors taking the class for a variety of reasons.

Junior early childhood education major, Emily Henson took the class to help her learn how to incorporate art into her regular curriculum - to help her future students learn in a different way.

Art Education Students with the Artist

Early Childhood majors (l to r) Zoe Klang, Emily Henson, and Art Education major Hannah McGovney with the artist.

Nick Iacobelli Senior Accounting Major with Art

Nick Iacobelli one of the Accounting Majors in Art 195.

Senior accounting major Nick Iacobelli enrolled at the recommendation of a friend as he needed something different in his class lineup during his senior year. He and his project group of three other Senior business majors enjoyed collaborating and drawing inspiration from the secret species for their group animation project. "I had a blast through the process, I had not sculpted since grade school and I had never done video work or animations. Getting to study and then meet and present our animation projects to Marius was cool!

So what is it about these creatures that inspires people?

Experience this invasion first hand and find out for yourself by visiting the exhibition in Hiestand Galleries open now through November 12.