Sarasota-based Artist-Sculptor, Jorge Blanco and his team installed his latest sculpture titled, “Bravo” Sunday morning, August 29, 2018. The sculpture occupies the center of the round-a-bout at Ringling Blvd and Orange Ave. in downtown Sarasota. The piece stands 18 feet high X 10 feet wide and is constructed of aerospace aluminum and stainless steel. It is finished with a powder coated paint to withstand the elements. Herald-Tribune Photo / Rod Millington. #new #publicart #jorgeblanco #sculpture #sarasota

BRAVO! 2016, Sculpture by Jorge Blanco

By Marty Fugate Posted May 4, 2018 at 1:21 PM

A solo exhibition of his work is on display through May 19 at Alfstad& Contemporary

Jorge Blanco is a prolific, multi-talented, multidisciplinary artist. The Venezuelan native has made a name for himself as a sculptor, graphic designer, illustrator and cartoonist. Even if you don’t know his name, you probably recognize his art. Blanco’s colorful, joyful public sculpture is woven into our city’s fabric — from the eternally sprinting “Runners” on U.S. 41 near the Municipal Auditorium to the topsy-turvy “Cartwheel” at Gulf Gate Elementary School. “BRAVO!” is his latest public sculpture — an 18-foot-tall, abstract celebration of Sarasota’s love affair with art. That piece is set for dedication this summer at the roundabout on Ringling Blvd. and Orange Ave.

Locally, Blanco’s been featured in several group shows. Alfstad& Contemporary’s “Jorge Blanco: SOLO BLANCO” is the first area exhibition entirely devoted to his work. But “work” seems like the wrong word to describe it. His pieces are far too playful.

In this exhibit, Blanco’s witty creations range from the larger-than-life to the slightly exaggerated. His breezy “Zephyrus” soars like an angel on a leisurely flight path through the heavens. It nearly touches the gallery’s high ceiling. But his “Tomato II” and “Mango” are only slightly larger than the actual fruits. Big or small, Blanco’s art has a beautiful simplicity. That simplicity turns out to be complicated in practice.

The artist was happy to share a few insights on how he achieves it.

Medium and Method

Blanco always starts from technical drawings before creating his sculpture. “I do my drawings by hand — old-school on drafting paper — then I have them transferred to computer.” From there, Blanco’s plans become precise metal segments. The artist bolts these elements together. “No welds, I don’t do welds,” he says. “It’s too sloppy.” Powder-coated aluminum has become Blanco’s favorite sculptural material. Each segment is spray-painted and baked to a highly reflective, glossy sheen. After it all comes together, the sculptural results rival the candy-colored perfection of California’s custom car culture. Stand close, and you can even see your own reflection. “That’s exactly what I want,” he smiles.

Man and Mood

“I went through a period where my art was very sad,” he says. “My material was dark; my subject matter was dark; everything was dark!” Blanco eventually decided to lighten up. “I have respect for artists who explore unhappy things,” he says. “But that was not for me. I decided to bring more light into the world. If my art can make you smile, I know I have done my job.”

The Castaway

Blanco’s 3-D art shares space with large-scale reproductions of “The Castaway,” his original comic strip. It was a runaway success in Venezuela, and recently enjoyed a four-year run at The Observer in our area. The star of his wordless feature is a moon-faced Castaway, eternally exiled on a desert island. (One witty strip shows him selecting from a vending machine offering bottles with different notes.) The moon-faced figure of Blanco’s cartoons bears a striking resemblance to the abstract faces of his sculpture. Is there a connection? Or is the Castaway really Jorge Blanco? The artist says no. “The Castaway is a universal figure,” he says. “He’s me; he’s you; he’s everybody. When you look at him, I want you to put yourself in his place. His problems are our problems! We are all, really, castaways, each in our own way.”

‘Jorge Blanco: SOLO BLANCO’

Runs through May 19 at Alfstad& Contemporary, 1419 5th St., Sarasota. For more information: 941-366-6400;

Updated: May 6, 2018


As a sculptor, Jorge Blanco has been creating for 40 years. Working in powder-coated aluminum, large-scale and small, with his trademark whimsy and vibrant palette, he’s shown across the world, and collections of his work can be found on four continents. Galleries have mounted solo shows dedicated to Blanco from Venezuela to Italy, and even just down the road in Miami. “But never here,” he says, of his adopted hometown of Sarasota, where he’s lived for near 20 years. There have been plenty of group shows, and Blanco’s sculptures can be found around town, but never showing on their own. Now, with the opening of Solo Blanco at Alfstad& Contemporary last week, Blanco has the gallery to himself and couldn’t be happier.

Showing more than 15 pieces within Alfstad&, ranging from the handheld Mini Fire Fish to the 14-foot-tall Zephyrus nearly scraping the ceiling, Solo Blanco provides viewers with a broad initiation to Blanco’s world. Abstract or figurative, character-focused or object-oriented, functional or purely decorative, a jaunt around the gallery floor affords contact with several different aspects of the artist’s work. From sliced carrots to deconstructed fish to a bright yellow bench (from Blanco’s backyard), each hints at more in the wings, unseen for now but perhaps waiting in Blanco’s workshop. And for those curious as to process, a short video looping in the back room of the gallery offers a bit of insight.

“This is wonderful,” says Blanco, surveying the show. “And, for me, this is a great gallery.” From the architecture to the modern gallery aesthetic and lighting—not to mention sheer space available—it all seems to click. And for the artist whose Runners have graced Tamiami Trail for years now, their melon heads peeking out from the median underbrush as cars whoosh by, Solo Blanco represents a little belated recognition. “Sometimes I feel people know nothing about my work,” says Blanco. “So this is a new opportunity to me.”

In addition to Blanco’s sculptural work, the show features 12 original watercolors from the artist’s days as a celebrated cartoonist and creator of El Naufraga, or The Castaway. Premiering in the Venezuelean newspaper, El Diario de Caracas, in 1980, The Castaway became a national sensation, and when Blanco moved to Sarasota near 20 years later, he brought the character with him, publishing for a time in City Tempo, a precursor to SRQ magazine. On May 15, the gallery will release a limited edition series of prints for each image, with Blanco available to sign any purchased.

Solo Blanco runs at Alfstad& Contemporary through May 19. And with a record-breaking opening last week that saw more than 500 people flocking to the gallery for the artist’s first solo show, the question looms large—what took so long? “I’m curious too,” jokes Blanco.

Pictured: "Mina" by Jorge Blanco. Photo courtesy of Alfstad& Contemporary

Artist | United States |

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© Jorge Blanco 2021 |© Jorge Blanco Sculpture, Inc

All artwork is property of the artist ©Jorge Blanco

Images of the works may not be used without consent from the Artist. "The Castaway" / "El Náufrago" ©Jorge Blanco 2020-2021
Design: Elena Hernandez-Ron |  Jorge Blanco Sculpture Studio • Sarasota, Florida