South Beach Billy


Original Size: 36in x 24in


South Beach Billy is one of my most popular paintings and it is a totally unique scene that only exists in my painting and imagination.  While the Colony Hotel, the boulevard and the starlight are actually located on ocean drive and 8th street in South Beach, the Shore Park (which houses Casa Larios, Gloria Estefan’s famous Cuban restaurant) is actually on Ccean and 10th Street and the Fairmont is elsewhere as well. 

I put these buildings together because I considered them to be the most stunning art deco buildings on South Beach and I wanted to feature them together. The colorful art deco lifeguard stands add to this effect.

Also keep in mind that it would be impossible to actually see the ocean, the sand, the buildings and the sunset all at once.  It’s only possible because I shortened the sand and grass area so that all that could be encompassed in one painting.

I chose to depict these buildings at sunset so that the darkening sky could highlight the purple and yellow sunset in front of the neon lights and bright colors of the art deco buildings.  The fluorescent lights and neon signs casting colorful hues on the buildings and trees. The neon rope lights on the palm trees also add to this effect.

As in many of my paintings, I try to depict a typical day in the life, kind of scene and I believe what I show to be typical South Beach and readily recognizable as such. I think anyone who knows South Beach would agree.

Many of the people in the background are friends and family but the person in the foreground near the inner tube raft is a friend who goes by Billy. He now owns Billy’s Tree Service and his own house in Miami.  Billy left Cuba one day after meeting a friend on the beach who asked if he wanted to join him in a journey at sea from Cuba on a raft. He left on the spot without saying goodbye to anyone.  After 9 days of floating in the Gulf Stream with only 1 gallon of water,  he was rescued, nearly dead and I can’t tell you the admiration that I have for people who have taken that dangerous journey and my sadness for the approximately 50% who did not make it.

Billy has one of the first copies of this painting that he proudly displays in his living room.  I tried to depict an amazed expression in his stance that says wow to the first sight of the United States.

Additional information

Weight N/A
Dimensions 36 × 2 × 24 in


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