Saturday, February 22, 2020

Congress Hotel

I believe this is the last sketch I have from the Art Deco Weekend in Miami Beach Florida. Pam and I joined a sketch tour and the Congress Hotel was the first stop. Across the street from the hotel was a wall of tents with merchandise and since the street was blocked to cars, people were walking up and down the street. It was crowded.

The Congress Hotel, (1036 Ocean Drive Miami Beach FL) was built in 1935 designed by Architect Henry Hohauser. The bold round shapes of the Congress Hotel’s lettering evoke a machine-age aesthetic. The hotel’s architecture, like many in the neighborhood, combines Art Deco’s vertical emphasis, in its ascending central fin, with streamlined horizontal features, such as the projecting “eyebrows” and corner ribbon windows.

Though some artists did park themselves on a curb across the street, it seemed the best view was found by sitting  right on the street. While working on the sketch, one of the vendors from the tent behind us walked up not to admire the sketches we were working on, but to ask us to move, since people were looking over our shoulders apparently rather than looking at his tent. He reminded is that he spent $1000 to set up his tent at the Art Deco Festival. We were no where near his tent and certainly not blocking foot traffic, but I shuffled up a foot or two basically sitting on the yellow center lines on the street. This forced is up close and personal with the building facade. We had one hour to work. Frederico Giraldo, a Miami Urban Sketcher sat with us and created a bold rendition of the building. Before we were done, the tent merchant returned but this time praised what we had put on he page.

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

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