Clothing shop a wearable gallery for art by Roberto García Márquez

Roberto García Márquez’s oil and acrylic paintings have been exhibited at Art Basel satellite fairs as well as at galleries in Wynwood and the Bird Road Art District.

But recently García Márquez added one more canvas on which he shares his artwork: Clothing.

Long-sleeve polyester shirts bearing images of manatees, mahi-mahi and marlins and short-sleeve nylon button-up shirts with lobsters and mackerels embroidered on them are some of the clothes available at García Márquez’s new store, Ocean Outfitters, at the 16800 block of Collins Avenue in Sunny Isles Beach.

Ocean Outfitters may seem like any other beach and boat apparel store. But there’s a catch. García Márquez drew all sea creatures depicted on the clothes making each shirt a unique work of art.

“The idea is to bring the arts to life through apparel,” said 47-year-old Elizabeth García, García Márquez’s wife and store co-owner. “In hard economic times, if people can’t afford artwork, they can still afford outwear.”

On a recent visit to the shop, García Márquez, who now lives in Miami Lakes, picked out a white shirt with a manatee on it and explained the process of creating the images on the apparel. In his studio, he drew the manatee with acrylic on canvas. Then, he took a high-resolution photograph of his painting and through a sublimation printer, which uses heat, the image is transferred from the photo onto the polyester.

The shirts depicting images of sea creatures are Garcia Marquez’s latest artistic endeavor. A self-taught artist without any formal art education aside from night classes he took at Miami Beach Senior High School, he draws in the Cubism style.

In Cubism, perhaps best recognized in the paintings of Pablo Picasso, objects and people portrayed in the artwork are analyzed, broken up and reassembled in an abstract form. Traditional characteristics of Cubism are geometric shapes, and multiple and contrasting viewpoints of the same object.

Some of García Márquez’s artwork hangs on the back walls of Ocean Outfitters, including his oil on canvas painting titled ‘Sortilegio’ or sortilege in English. In the 30 by 40 inch canvas, García Márquez has depicted a woman holding an apple. The painting is separated into 48 equal squares giving it a tiled look. In true Cubism style, body parts that are in the back of a body, are depicted in the front.

“That is how I saw it,” said García Márquez.

While the woman’s features are in lighter hues, the rest of the painting is darker.

“It goes from dark to light,” said García Márquez, 47. “It is because I left the shadows in Cuba and came to the light.”

The light, he said, he associates with freedom.

Born in Havana, Cuba, García Márquez said he was not allowed to study art during the 1970s and 1980s because communist officials knew he was against the regime and forced him to serve in the military.

“In that era, if art and culture was not communist oriented, it was shut down,” he said. “We couldn’t do anything over there. We couldn’t study. It was like we were in jail.”

But there was one thing García Márquez and his family did that in part led him to open Ocean Outfitters. Every day he, his brother and father would go fishing. Mahi-mahi, marlins and mackerel were part of the day’s catch.

So the ocean motifs were an obvious choice when it came time for him to design artwork for his clothing line and open the store.

“That’s what I took from my father: a love of the ocean and art,” he said.