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Meet Maciel Cantelmo of Gallery XO in Wilton Manors

Today we’d like to introduce you to Maciel Cantelmo.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Maciel. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
About 9 years ago, after many years of not drawing, I began to draw and immediately had people asking who was the artist when they came in to my home. After completely several works, my business partner and I approached a local photographer with my completed works and asked his opinion. He loved what he saw, since he specialized in male figure photography and was blown away by my photo realism drawings. We planned a show and on opening night, I sold my first original to an art collector from Switzerland. The show was a major hit and received lots of coverage from the local community papers and we started to discuss the possibility of opening our own gallery.

We knew my art was unique and would require a particular location for success and Wilton Drive in Wilton Manors seemed to be the perfect fit. With the diverse community, we felt my art would be accepted and appreciated. At the time we were also in search of a new home and it just happened that a home became available on Wilton Drive with a retail space on the first floor. At the time it was at the bottom of the financial collapse and everyone advised against us making the move, but we felt we had something unique that was missing in the art world. While male figurative art has been around for centuries and many galleries have a piece here or there, very few, if any specialize in only that genre. It was risky, but we felt confident and Wilton Manors was the perfect place to start the journey.

Once we secured the space and our new home, we began to look for other artists that specialize in this type of art and we were surprised to find that there are many incredible artists that are overlooked that are truly mind blowing.

Today we represent 14 incredible artists and are always looking for new and exciting artists to compliment those we already represent. We are approached almost daily by artists, but we have learned to try and limit the artists to something that is exciting or a new angle on the male figurative angle.

Many people have asked, “Why only male figurative art?”. We have realized that Gallery XO is now known the only gallery around that specializes in only this type of art. Our clients come to south Florida on vacation and our gallery is always on their list to visit.

Most leave with another piece of art to take home. So, people come expecting to see the male figure and we are always striving to find the best artists to give them that satisfaction.

As far as my art, I’m always looking to create new works and I love sitting in my gallery painting and talking with customers. I get to have a connection with their likes and it inspires me to keep painting and drawing. I also get to do commissions for many, which is especially exciting. What a great feeling to create a personal painting for someone and let them see it being painted right in front of them. It definitely creates a special bond that lasts forever.

Has it been a smooth road?
The biggest struggle was opening at the bottom of the financial collapse. People were losing their homes, their jobs, No one had $25 to spend on art, let alone $1000 for an original, but they loved my work and I knew we had something. On Art Walk nights, the gallery would easily have 500 people come through. We quickly realized that we had to find a way to allow people to collect art, even if it wasn’t an original.

The gallery started producing my open edition prints, which I signed. The low price points gave people and option to collect my work without breaking the budget. The one thing art enthusiasts want is to have a piece of art for themselves and this gave them that ability. It got us through the tough times, and it took a while. Long hours and 7 days a week. Living over the gallery helped. We were here 24/7, so keeping the gallery open long hours was easier.

So, as you know, we’re impressed with Gallery XO – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
We are a gallery that specializes in male figurative art. We don’t consider it erotic art, but tasteful and in some cases nude art. There is no other gallery in the world as far as we have been told that deals only in this art. We are proud of this and we plan on continuing to search for other artists to compliment this genre.

Along with the art, we also started a custom framing company to help frame my art as well as art that those in the community bring in to be framed. What’s interesting is that a lot of people love to collect male figurative art, but they don’t know where to take it to get it framed. Because we specialize in male figurative art, they feel safe bringing their art to have it framed. They know we are the experts in this area and there isn’t any judgment, since this is what we do.

Let’s touch on your thoughts about our city – what do you like the most and least?
The energy of the city is amazing as well as the acceptance to be different. Because my art is unique, I need to be in an accepting and edgy city. I find south Florida and especially Wilton Manors to be exactly the right fit. Art is an expression and should be free and unconstrained. When it is constrained, it becomes less interesting and boring. I love the south Florida embraces so many cultures and lifestyles.

I think the thing that could improve a little is for some to slow down a bit and enjoy this amazing place we all live. Embrace the art, the amazing weather, the great beaches. Say hello to your neighbor. It’s a big city, but we should still try and keep a sense of humanity and realize we are all in this together.

Pricing:

  • Artwork starting at $25
  • Framed Artwork starting at $48

Contact Info:

  • Address: 2376 Wilton Drive
    Wilton Manors, FL 33305
  • Website: www.galleryxo.com
  • Phone: 9542139797
  • Email: galleryxo@gmail.com
  • Facebook: galleryxo


Image Credit:
Dennis Dean

Getting in touch: VoyageMIA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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