Nearby Wynwood, Miami is one of the most dense modern art neighborhoods in the world. From their outstanding outdoor gallery— Wynwood Walls— to an exceptional array of street art adorning building faces throughout the area to countless galleries, there’s too much amazing art in Wynwood for a single individual to consume in a single day.

To help our readers break through the overwhelming wave of colors, shapes and constructions, we thought we’d begin highlighting our favorite works from Miami’s definitive arts neighborhood. This premier installment of the Winter Haven Hotel’s Gallery Artist Feature Series focuses in on the Espitia Gallery on NW 2nd Avenue in Wynwood.

Rafael Espitia has been a renowned painter since he was a young boy in Cartagena, Colombia during the late 60’s and 70’s. Spending 30 years honing his style of photorealist painting, Espitia studied fine art in Bogota, Madrid and New York City. Having exhibited work around the world and at renowned local art festival, Art Basel, the Colombian painter has long been a distinguished, and renowned creative.

Espitia’s work rings through his gallery in Wynwood with eye-widening, colorful surrealism. Fascinating depictions of cultural figures Ray Charles, and Elton John immediately draw the viewer in. At first glance, these hybrid photo collage paintings can seem like a wonderfully colorful mess without any central focus or character. Taking a moment to focus, a viewer can make out the cackling smile of Ray Charles, and a jovial, grinning Elton John. These pieces and some others at the Espitia Gallery can be viewed through 3D glasses, making them pop out at you for some futuristic affect.

Espitia’s work ranges in size and subject throughout his sizable Wynwood gallery, but the visionary craftsmanship and personable style stays true throughout. From cartoonish pop-art to black and white photos of celebrities with Joker smiles superimposed on their faces to bikini models painted in ethereal, cosmic atmospheres, the Espitia Gallery takes each guest on an extraordinary journey.