Michelle Guarino Finds Focus
in Artist as an Entrepreneur
by Samantha Rojas

Michele Guarino is interested in sharing the full spectrum of life – the sorrow and the beauty, and all that comes in between. She has photographed grandiose $100,000 weddings at the Breakers in Palm Beach, and documented Ground Zero, three days after 9/11. She has indulged in the splendor of the Caribbean Sea and the reality of United States military veterans’ hardships, as well as, the AIDS pandemic. “We are all united,” she says.

Like many artists, she has around the globe and traveled around her soul, in search of the right combination of creative fulfillment that pays the bills, in the field of her life long passion. It was a tall order, and a difficult one to to accomplish, until she arrived at the Artist as an Entrepreneur Institute (AEI), says Guarino.

“Prior to the AEI, I was making a living doing portraits, social events; then I began to develop a body of work in fine art, and I did not have the direction to take it into the market place; . AEI helped me to focus,” says Guarino. “Everything started coming together - - networking, contacts, and exhibiting my art.”

Guarino today recently exhibited her work in the Lee Wagener Art Gallery in Terminal 2 at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport. Her work has been in the spotlight there for more than eight weeks and she says the exposure was phenomenal. She is very proud of the fact that she was selected out of a group of talented and creative artists.

Entitled Kinetic Energy, the artworks at the Lee Wagener Gallery were inspired by her belief that water is among our most valued resources and a gift of life. “It is the foundation of all human existence, important enough to sustain life yet deadly enough to extinguish it! Delicate enough to bend light rays into a magnificent rainbow, yet powerful enough to carve deep massive canyons in solid rock.” With the transmission of water in its multiple forms, Guarino feels that water tends to govern all of the energy and movement we experience. “It stores enough fuel (Hydrogen) to supply the earth's energy needs for thousands of years yet is gentle enough to wash a new born baby,” she says. The artworks Singular Element, Private Island and Closely Connected represented her interpretations of this subject.

Throughout her three decade-long career, her personal work has included street photography and social documentary, business portraiture and social events, and now, in this new turn— , abstract fine art. In 2004, after her mother’s death, she attended the University of Miami to take a semester in fine art. The two events, “really changed my heart and my vision, I now see God’s beauty in the process of healing from grief,” she says.

“At AEI, the program gives you the education and tools to become a successful artist. You meet local talented artists, become aware of the strong art community we have right here in South Florida, the rest lies in the action and vision of the artist.”

Guarino started getting immediate exposure. She participated in a group exhibit, - Doing business as; received first place at Art Bravo, and “Best in Show” for an abstract exhibition. Then she received the honor of being chosen as one of 60, Florida artists (from a group of 382 more than 380)be included in an exhibit at the Boca Museum of Art. Her work was featured in the Broward County Museum and Gallery Guide; and the Sun-Sentinel has featured her on several occasions.

She has begun compiling all of her images from into a collective body of work – 30 years in photography, and will publish a book on her documentation of street life and social issues called “America: In a Blink of an Eye”.

In every artist’s journey a choice arrives; : to see the darkness, or look into light. They are equally as important, and they both may take their toll on one’s psyche. Artists know they are either bringing the humanity or the divinity into creative language, or some fine mixture of both. Today, Michele Guarino chooses to share the light, as well as, the social concerns of our time.

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