Travel and Lifestyle Blog

Watch The Design Tourist Airing on

Highlights From Red Dot Miami and Spectrum Miami

With dozens of art fairs and shows Miami Art Week competing for my attention, it’s impossible to attend and experience every art, fashion and entertainment event. Shows extend from Miami Beach, anchored around Art Basel Miami, the mothership of all art fairs, and spread throughout downtown Miami and Wynwood District. My strategy is to experience a cross-section of art fairs that represent everything from blue-chip art to urban art which brings me to Red Dot Miami and Spectrum Miami, held inside Mana Wynwood convention center, December 4—8, 2019. 

The Design Tourist, aka Karen LeBlanc, at Spectrum Miami and Red Dot Miami, filming and reporting on innovative works and trends in the art world during Miami Art Week.

I attended the Opening Night Preview Party sponsored in association with Jadot and Bulleit Bourbon where I sipped on a , inspired by the iconic Bulleit Bourbon label and whiskey.

3D printed cocktail at the Bulleit 3D Printed Frontier bar

Nearby, I admired the debut of the Bulleit Art in a Bottle Collection.

Bulleit Frontier Whiskey partnered with Red Dot Miami and Spectrum Miami to create an art project of 12 original works of Bulleit Art in a Bottle

Bulleit Frontier Whiskey partnered with Red Dot Miami and Spectrum Miami to create an art project of 12 original works of Bulleit Art in a Bottle in collaboration with south Florida artists   Jason Skeldon “SKEL” and Elidea. Both artists are known for their unique visions and use of multiple mediums to create something new.

Jason’s art depicts human-animal hybrids who are taking their vocation to new heights, such as mixologists, scientists, architects and tattoo artists. Each character is shown raising a glass of whiskey to toast achievements and their commitments to innovating in new and inspiring ways.

Jason and Elidea’s art pieces are visual representations of what the cultural frontier means to them. Elidea’s Bulleit Art in A Bottle pieces depict the Cuban influence in Miami’s culture.The Bulleit Art in A Bottle Collection is available now at Saatchi Art 


What I like about Red Dot Miami and Spectrum Miami is their commitment to showcasing Florida artists.

An Italian native and Miami resident, Elidea with The Design Tourist, aka Karen LeBlanc filming her series The Design Tourist, along with videographer and co-producer Chris Fletcher at Spectrum Miami.

Artist Elidea lives in Miami and creates collages of mixed media working with gold and bronze leafing in layers with different papers and textures to create landscapes. 

The bronze and gold leaf layered collages of artist Elidea, the 2018 Spectrum Art show winner and the 2019 Spectrum Miami collaborator with Bulleit Frontier Whiskey’s Bottle Art Exhibition.

Artist Doug Powell based in Winter Park, Florida, works with recycled computer keys to create 3D sculpture and art.

Artist Doug Powell created a sculpture Gube Rubik’s crafted of 8,200 computer keys from a keyboard at ArtBlend , Spectrum

Doug creates the illusion of three-dimensional form through the use and arrangement of recycled, or up cycled, computer keyboard keys.

Florida artist Doug Powell placed his piece “Route 66,” for $16,000 at Spectrum Miami

Florida artist Paul Columbus showcased his Phantom Faces and Collaborations with Jennifer Friedland, at the Spectrum’s ArtBlend. Gator Skull, “Florida Boys” was the show stopper at his booth. The piece is a real Florida Alligator skull harvested from the waters of the Ochlockonee River in Northwest Florida and a limited release collaboration between the artist Paul Columbus and his lifelong friend and outdoorsman Justin  Rock. Both are Florida natives with a deep appreciation for native flora and fauna that define Florida landscape. 

Gator Skull, “Florida Boys” by Paul Columbus and Justin Rock at Spectrum Miami. The alligator skull is painted and coated in epoxy resin.

Columbus also presented his Phantom Faces collection, paintings of surrealistic faces blended with cubism.

The overarching theme at both shows was about creating awareness and connecting with humanity. At Spectrum Miami, I ran into two strange-looking characters clad in rags roaming the show as social sculptures. They were wearing Ghillie Suits, camouflage garb traditionally worn by snipers outdoors to blend in with their surroundings.

The Ghillie Suits by an anonymous artist in Boston who creates these suits to call attention to the opioid addiction crisis. The Design Tourist aka Karen LeBlanc with two models wearing the Ghillie Suits at Spectrum Miami.

“The Ghillie suit disrupts the silhouette and changes the figure making it invisible,” says Colin Beatty of the craft guild Unaffiliate exhibiting the Ghillie Suit Project. The Boston-based artist who designed the 10 Ghillie Suits featured at the art fair wishes to remain anonymous but says his art is a response to the opioid epidemic.  He crafted each suit from the articles of clothing from people who died from opioid addiction. “The artist took their wardrobe, shredded it and made camouflage suits of the people who died of addition to symbolize how they were hidden in plain sight. The artist is calling out the stigma attached to the disease of addiction.  The Ghillie Suit is a work of art that serves as a catharsis and recovery.”

Artist Eduardo Cabrer with The Design Tourist, aka Karen LeBlanc filming her series The Design Tourist, along with videographer and co-producer Chris Fletcher at Red Dot Miami

The work of artist Eduardo Cabrer calls attention to the single-use plastics problem polluting our waterways and beaches. Cabrer suspends found trash and objects in colored resin creating thought-provoking works that raise questions about consumerism and our throw-away culture. 

Artist Eduardo Carber’s resin encased Plasticid collection on view at Red Dot Miami

It’s about creating an awareness of the excess of plastic that is out there. I find most of the objects that I use in my art on the beaches of Puerto Rico. I found the plastic bags in the streets of New York. It’s a contrast between the process of buying something and the process of disposing of something. It’s just creating that awareness of the eternity of plastic,” Eduardo says.

New Jersey-based artist Zevi G, shared a message of kindness with his interactive art installation featuring the character sculpture Gesture, part of an imaginary world called 456 Land.

The Design Tourist, aka Karen LeBlanc posing for a photo op with the bronze sculpture “Gesture” by artist Zevi G at Red Dot Miami Art Fair

The bronze, bow-tie clad sculpture held a rose and stood in front of a wall of roses. As I approached the booth for a photo op with Gesture, someone handed me a real long stem rose and encouraged me to “share kindness.” Part performance art,  guests were invited to fill out by postcard with the address of someone they wish to send kindness and Zevi G’s staff will mail the rose to the recipient on the postcard.

Crazy Sugar Montage by artist M VILLASIERRA (Mario Villarroel)

Crazy Sugar by artist Mario Villarroel is a critical reflection of society, in this case, its addiction to junk food.  The work is part of  Villarroel’s The Second Life collection that seeks to give a new beginning to everyday objects, that lost their value due to their usage. His paintings are collages that he decorates with disruptive memes.  

Spectrum Miami featured the works of more than 200 exhibiting galleries and artists from the Florida region, the U.S. and around the globe, informed by the 2019 curatorial theme [IGNITE]. Known for its urban and upscale works of art, the five-day show attracted more than 40,000 visitors and high-net-worth collectors who interact with the specially curated programming, while celebrating the fine art experience with music, entertainment and other special events.

Red Dot Miami, a curated gallery-only contemporary art fair, presented for its 14th year, saw the highly anticipated annual presentation of leading galleries and their artists, informed by [PASSION] as the curatorial theme for 2019. Red Dot Miami featured more than 60 galleries representing over 500 leading contemporary artists from primary and secondary markets throughout the world.

Learn more about the artists featured at Red Dot Miami and Spectrum Miami  in new episodes of The Design Tourist filmed at Miami Art Week.

For more on what’s new and next in travel and design, subscribe to The Design Tourist Channel and sign up for the blog email.


Karen LeBlanc

Karen LeBlanc

Karen LeBlanc is a freelance writer living in Orlando, Florida with many published bylines in magazines, newspapers, and multimedia sites. As a professional lifestyle writer, Karen specializes in art, architecture, design, home interiors and personality profiles. Karen is the writer, producer and host of the streaming series, The Design Tourist ( that brings viewers a global dose of design inspiration with episodes featuring the latest looks and trends from the world’s premiere design events and shows. She also publishes a quarterly magazine on design travel that you can read by clicking the link: Her journalism background includes seven years on-air experience as a TV news reporter and anchor covering a range of issues from education to politics. Her educational credentials include a Master of Arts in Mass Communications from Northeast Louisiana University and a Bachelor of Arts in Communications from Louisiana State University. Throughout her career, Karen has written and produced dozens of documentaries and videos for educational, commercial, corporate, and governmental clients and appeared in many TV and video productions as a professional host.

Share the post on social media


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Sign up for the latest travel news and insider tips

Latest blog posts

Karen LeBlanc

Karen LeBlanc is a travel host and writer with a popular travel show, The Design Tourist, and a companion lifestyle blog. As a widely published travel journalist and content creator, Karen is a member of the North American Travel Journalists Association. She also serves as the Design and Travel editor of the national lifestyle magazine, LaPalme. Karen believes that every destination has a story to tell through its local art, architecture, culture, and craft. This immersive creative exploration begins with authentic accommodations where the narrative of place unfolds through art, accessories, accouterments, furnishings, fixtures, and food. 

NATJA Gold Award

NATJA Bronze Award