Lifestyle Art Contest: Get to Know the Artists

Anne Mcilrath
Anne McIlrath began her interest in art while growing up in the Philippines, where she found inspiration from those tropical islands. She has continued that tropical theme and has found other inspirational themes over the last 15 years living in Central Florida. Her husband, Jim, her son and her daughter are her biggest supporters.

Aimee Durfee
As a self-taught artist, Amy Durfee has found her voice in oils, painting skies that reflect the imagination and warmth found in the intensity of color. Her inspiration is nature and places that exist in fantasy. They are brought to life by the paints on her canvas.

Alesha Knight
For this self-taught Chicago native, her artistic foundations were sparked as a child and were enhanced at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Her works draw from her emotions and view from her purple sky. Her images and use of color offer reflections of her spirit.

Courtney Anastasia Clark
Courtney Clark was born in Winter Park, where she currently resides. She graduated from Winter Park High School in 2015 and is now a sophomore at Florida Gulf Coast University, a Phi Mu sorority sister, and she holds a 3.75 GPA. She is working at the YMCA in the Child Development program where she also enjoys exercising.

Debra Vineyard
Debra Vineyard is a self-taught artist. She began working with men’s neckties five years ago after two of her friends passed away. The vibrancy of the ties’ colors attracted her to this medium. Her pieces have been shown at City Hall and the SOBO Art Gallery in Winter Garden.

Del Cain
Del Cain is a 73-a retired medical librarian from Boston. Six years ago, He became interested in Jackson Pollock and started experimenting with throwing and dripping paint techniques using oil paint. In December 2014, he won a first-place prize at the Orlando Museum of Art’s ‘First Thursday’ art event.

Delaney Lowe
Delaney Lowe is a 16-year-old high school student from Ocoee. She was inspired to paint at a young age by her grandmother, who is also a gifted artist. She finds that art is a way to express herself without words and hopes to inspire other young artists to do the same.

Gilda Espinera
Gilda Espinera is 85 years old, blind in one eye and legally blind in the other, and she presented her most recent labor of love in this year’s art show. It has taken her more than seven years to complete it. She is a true joy to her family and everyone she meets.

Jean-Claude Rasch
Jean-Claude Rasch is a Colombian artist residing in Orlando, where he is pursuing his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree at the University of Central Florida. He is a versatile artist who focuses on mix-media sculptures, printmaking and paintings. Art history and storytelling have an important role in his artistic method.

Jose Pardo
After receiving his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Jersey City State College in 1988, Jose Pardo worked for several small advertising agencies in New Jersey as an artist before moving to Orlando in 1992. He still lives and paints in Orlando with his wonderfully supportive wife, two amazing children and three mischievous cats.

Kristina Lumpkins
Kristina Lumpkin is a 31-year-old Orlando local who has been married to her husband Thomas for 10 years. They have two beautiful children together, and they are her inspiration for everything. She works as a pre-school teacher, and photography is her passion. She hopes to one day make it into a profession.

Leslie MacMillian
This self-taught artist was born and raised in Seminole County. She was introduced to her favored medium in the late 1990s and has been creating with it since. Although she enjoys making art in many mediums, the concentration of her work is painted on silk textiles, in the French Serti technique, and then likely wax batik-ed. Thematically, she frequently creates whimsical images with narrative themes, sometimes with elements of the surreal.

Michelle M. Irizarry
Michelle Irizarry’s fascination with color started in her childhood. She is from Puerto Rico, an island full of color, history and inspiration. Even with hiatuses, her fascination with art continues to this day. She finds art therapeutic and healing, and she enjoys all styles of art as a form of self-expression and freedom.

Ricardo Avila
A member of the Brights Movement, Ricky Avila’s pieces can convey from absolute calm, as with his landscape series, to total repulsion and despair, as with his “Alien Faces and Mandalas” photo series. In his own words, “If you can feel more than see my art, then I’ve accomplished my goal.”

Shari Yudenfreund-Sujka
Shari Yudenfreund-Sujka has been taking photographs since 1964 when she was given her first New York World’s Fair camera. She has been bird watching since 1977 when she took a field biology course in college. She has been on all seven continents and always travels with her camera, searching for new life list birds to photograph.

Shosh Cohen
Shosh Cohen creates original and custom stone sculptures suitable for the home as well as for professional decor. Her sculptural pieces are carved from marble, steatite and alabaster, and no two are alike. Her most current body of work is the fascinating collection of stone sculpture women’s high heel shoes.

Vanessa Cruz
Vanessa Cruz was born in New Orleans and raised in Kissimmee. All of her artwork is done by hand and much of her artwork can be seen on her Instagram account vulpisvulpis888. All of her creations come from the world within her mind.


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Written by Lyndsay Fogarty

Lyndsay Fogarty has had many roles at Central Florida Lifestyle, working her way from intern to contributing writer to managing editor. She is a graduate of the University of Central Florida’s Nicholson School of Communication where she earned her degree in journalism. Along the way, she has learned that teamwork and dedication to your craft will get you far, and a positive outlook on the present will get you even farther.

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