Locala Magazine, August 2023, Ocala, FL

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Vol. 03, No. 03 • AUGUST 2023 YINA OREJUELA Simple & Complex: Colombian-American Conquers Her Fears & Macarons CHRISTY CRUZ & TIFFANY LOPEZ Taste & See: Best Friends Pursue Their Baking Passion PATRICK STANLEY Planting Trees: Culinary Arts Teacher Inspires the Next Generation 07 20 10

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© Lisa Anderson Media, LLC and Locala™. All rights reserved. Online: ISSN 2771-1056, Print: ISSN 2771-1048, August 2023, Volume 03, Issue Number 03. Locala™ is a monthly publication, which is published by Lisa Anderson Media, LLC, 2320 NE 2nd Street, Unit 5, Ocala, FL 34470. Nothing may be reprinted in whole or in part without written permission from the publisher. For reprint or reuse permission, email info@localamag.com. Cover price for sale distribution is $4.58. Proudly printed at First Impressions Printing, 1827 SW 27th Avenue, Ocala, FL 34471

LISA ANDERSON

DEAR OCALA,

Welcome to our August issue of “For the Love of Food,” where we celebrate the culinary wonders of our beloved Ocala community. This month, we have delved deep into the lives of individuals who share a common passion for food, bringing you their inspiring stories that will leave you with a heightened appreciation for the artistry and dedication behind every meal.

Join us as we embark on a flavorful journey of local baked goods from Christy Cruz and Tiffany Lopez, owners of Baked & Co, a new bakery that specializes in baked goods such as specialty scones, muffins, and miniature pie-like treats called dumplings (page 20), and Yina (pronounced Jeanna) Orejuela, owner of Color Sugar, whose delicate macarons will leave you wanting more (page 7).

We venture into the bustling world of food trucks, where we encounter Carlos Gonzalez—an Ocala native, who started cooking with his dad at age 9 ( page 14 ). His high school culinary teacher “spoke life into [him] about the culinary aspect and where it could take [him].”

Speaking of teachers, a passion for food landed Patrick Stanley a culinary career at a local high school (page 10). You’ll enjoy hearing about his love for teaching and experimenting with recipes, his acting career, and his musical journey.

Finally, we head to the arts community with a Q&A with photographer Randy Batista (page 27), and one of the Magnolia Art Xchange’s (MAX) new resident artists, Gabi Zuniga (page 25).

As you read through the pages of this issue, we hope you’ll be

inspired by the stories of these remarkable individuals, who have dedicated their lives to the art of food. May their journeys ignite your own culinary passions and remind you of the power that food holds to bring communities together.

Please visit our Locala podcast channel on YouTube for a special message from me. Find it at @localapodcast

Bon appétit!

LETTER FROM THE PUBLISHER
Photo by Lisa Anderson
localamag.com 3
ON THE COVER 07 20 10 TABLE OF CONTENTS LETTER FROM THE EDITOR 03 Dear Ocala About This Month’s Issue CHEWS LETTER 14 Lucky’s Son: Food Trailer Owner Makes His Dad Proud ARTIST CORNER 25 Gabi Zuniga: Artist Q&A 27 Journeys Traveled: Q&A with Photographer Randy Batista FOR THE LOVE OF FOOD 07 Simple & Complex: Colombian-American Conquers Her Fears & Macarons 10 Planting Trees: Culinary Arts Teacher Inspires the Next Generation FEATURE 20 Taste & See: Best Friends Pursue Their Baking Passion localamag.com 4
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FOR THE LOVE OF FOOD

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Photo by Joshua Jacobs

Simple & Complex COLOMBIAN-AMERICAN CONQUERS

HER FEARS & MACARONS

YINA OREJUELA

FOR THE LOVE OF FOOD
localamag.com 8
Story by LISA ANDERSON Photos by JOSHUA JACOBS

Macarons are where simplicity meets complexity. With just a handful of humble ingredients—egg whites, almond flour, and powdered sugar— these French delicacies come to life with a smooth, crisp shell that can be filled with a symphony of flavors. This is what attracts Yina Orejuela to a business dedicated to making only these tasty treats: With one base recipe, she can create stunning colors and an array of appetizing fillings.

CARVING OUT A NICHE

Yina, a Colombian immigrant, is the owner of Color Sugar. It is the perfect blend of her love for baking and her admiration for the delightful French dessert. “They’re a lot like us [women] or females—very moody, depending on the day [and] depending on the temperature of your kitchen. But you can be very versatile in colors and flavors. Nowadays, [bakers are] getting even more creative with decorations and even the shapes of the macarons. It excites me.”

This fondness for challenges can be traced back to Yina’s unconventional path into the baking world. She didn’t go to culinary school or grow up baking with family. Instead, she started her journey at the urging of her sister, who had also found joy in baking as a stay-at-home mom.

and textures. It is in navigating through the challenges and embracing the imperfections that we discover the true beauty and resilience of both a macaron and the human spirit. Just as Yina perseveres and seeks opportunities amidst the unpredictable nature of life, so too, can we find inspiration in the way a macaron embodies the perfect blend of fragility and strength.

Her illness taught her to cherish life and reassess her priorities. When her oldest of two boys turned 18, Yina cried—it was in that moment she realized she could have missed this day and all the other days with her family.

LEARN MORE

Instagram: @color.sugar

A CATALYST FOR CHANGE

Yina’s life took a dramatic turn when she fell seriously ill, about eight years ago, and found herself unable to work. Having worked since she was 15 years old, Yina couldn’t image sitting around the house with nothing to do. “My sister actually was a new mother, and she found a passion for baking to do something with her boy at home. So, she says, ‘Why don’t you try baking?’ [I had] never done it before.”

Yina’s sister, who lives in New York, taught her through video chat. It was meant to be, as Yina found joy in making things like little cakes, cookies, and oh yes, macarons. Those macarons are the perfect blend of creativity and low stress, making her business a joyful one.

OVERCOMING FEAR

The journey to becoming a successful entrepreneur wasn’t always smooth. Yina was initially wary of stepping away from the familiar employee role and becoming her own boss. But with the support of her family, especially her husband, she began to see things from a different perspective. “If you have a dream that you want to chase and have the support, and even if you don’t, if you want to give it a try… My husband always tells me, ‘What’s the worst thing that can happen? You just go find yourself another job.’”

Yina’s story is full of the ups, downs, and challenges many people face, but it is inspiring to see her looking for opportunities rather than waiting for one to knock on her door. In many ways, her journey mirrors the essence of a macaron. Just like life itself, a macaron presents itself as a delicate and exquisite creation, enticing us with its vibrant colors and delicious flavors. Yet, beneath its flawless exterior lies a complex process, where the precise balance of ingredients and the delicate artistry of technique must harmonize. Similarly, life presents us with moments of sweetness and moments of bitterness, just as a macaron delivers contrasting tastes

EXTENDED CONTENT

Watch the full interview on YouTube @localapodcast or your favorite podcast app. Just search for Locala Podcast. It airs August 11, 2023.

FOR THE LOVE OF FOOD
They’re a lot like us [women] or females—very moody, depending on the day [and] depending on the temperature of your kitchen.
localamag.com 9
— Yina Orejuela

Planting Trees

CULINARY ARTS TEACHER INSPIRES

THE NEXT GENERATION

PATRICK STANLEY

Story by LISA ANDERSON Photo by JOSHUA JACOBS
FOR THE LOVE OF FOOD localamag.com 10

Born in Woodbury, New Jersey but raised in Florida, Patrick Stanley’s life consists of colorful threads of experiences that have ultimately intertwined to form a career dedicated to culinary education. His love of food, combined with an extensive background in performing arts, has helped him inspire the next generation of chefs and restaurant managers.

RIGHT PLACE, RIGHT TIME

Patrick never went to culinary school. As he points out, it’s not for everyone. “The majority of chefs that I know—really successful chefs—they’ve never attended culinary school. The reason why they got into it is because of their absolute obsession with it.”

His life is a testament to the diversity and richness of human potential. When he talks about the symbolism behind a chef’s hat, Patrick displays his enthusiasm for the culinary world. “Eggs [are] one of the most delicate things that you can cook. If you’ve ever seen a chef’s hat, that’s called a toque blanche. They have exactly 100 folds in their hat. The tradition is that the person wearing that hat, which is the executive chef, wears one that’s 18 inches tall… Each fold represents the different ways that they can cook an egg.”

This deep fascination with symbolic details is a window into Patrick’s multifaceted persona, and perhaps one of the reasons he was asked to teach a culinary program at Forest High School. Patrick was already a history teacher in the Marion County Public School (MCPS) system when another faculty member saw him working at a restaurant during the summer break. The chance encounter has given him a seven-year career—and counting—as a culinary instructor.

to fostering a culture of lifelong learning. His belief is that when one acquires knowledge, one bears the responsibility of passing it on, thereby contributing to the greater good. His legacy will undoubtedly transcend the bounds of his personal achievements, as he continuously strives to inspire and educate others. “I’m an educator. A big part of my life is I try to let the students know that I’m a human being. I think that’s very, very important.”

Patrick’s story is more than just a journey through the world of culinary arts; it’s an ode to the power of lifelong learning, the importance of sharing knowledge, and the intersection of diverse passions. His life’s journey embodies a melody composed of varied notes—each representing different stages of his life and interests. The result?

A harmonious symphony of a life lived to the fullest and dedicated to inspiring others.

A CULTURAL JOURNEY

As a musician and actor, Patrick has an intrinsic understanding of the role the arts play in his life. He counts cooking as one of his artistic outlets. Perhaps, it was the influence of his father’s flower shop or that his father was also a talented piano player that fanned the artistic flame in Patrick.

He started his music career as a band nerd, playing the trombone at Forest High School. During his senior year, Patrick was asked to join the choir. This had a domino effect that landed him at his first audition at the Ocala Civic Theatre (OCT) for a role in South Pacific

Since then, Patrick has acted and sung in several performances at OCT, Insomniac Theatre Company, Angel Cabaret Theatre (Tampa), and the Hippodrome Theatre (Gainesville). He has even had the opportunity to play trombone at OCT.

LEGACY OF LEARNING

For Patrick, education doesn’t stop within the confines of a traditional classroom. He embraces the role of an educator in all aspects of his life, believing that the real strength lies in the ability to share knowledge and inspire others. “What makes a good chef is doing stuff over and over and over again. You get to the point to where you can educate other people; I think chefs are educators. And that’s when you become a chef, when you have the ability to take what you know and then teach it to somebody else.”

Patrick strongly believes in the adage, “Society grows great when old men plant trees in whose shade they will not sit.” This speaks volumes about his commitment

LEARN MORE marionschools.net/fhs

EXTENDED CONTENT

Watch the full interview on YouTube @localapodcast or your favorite podcast app. Just search for Locala Podcast. It airs August 18, 2023.

And that’s when you become a chef, when you have the ability to take what you know and then teach it to somebody else.
FOR THE LOVE OF FOOD localamag.com 11
— Patrick Stanley

AUTHORS

CONNIE ROSE

DANA OLMSTEAD

ESMIRNA CARABALLO

FANNIE OCASIO

JACQUELIN KORPELA

JEANNE HENNINGSEN

JODI ANDERSON

KATERINA MACKENZIE

KHADÍJIH MITCHELL-POLK

LAURA FLORES

LAUREN DEBICK

MANAL FAKHOURY

SHEREESE FLOYD

SYDNEY RAFFERTY

WENDY MESTAS

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Chews Letter

localamag.com 14
Photos by Joshua Jacobs

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Lucky’s Son

FOOD TRAILER OWNER

MAKES HIS DAD PROUD

CARLOS GONZALEZ

CHEWS LETTER
Story by CYNTHIA M c FARLAND Photos by JOSHUA JACOBS
localamag.com 16

Every day, when Carlos Gonzalez goes to work, his father—who inspired his passion for cooking—is in the back of his mind. Born and raised in Ocala, Carlos is the youngest—and only boy—of Luciano and Angie’s four children.

Carlos was barely 9 when he started cooking with his dad. He has fond memories of those times in the kitchen. While he loved learning from his dad, the most appealing thing was simply spending that quality time together.

Carlos’ father, whom everyone called “Lucky,” spent years as a manager at Shoney’s and passed that management mindset on to his son.

mom, so that’s always been in my mind.”

Working throughout Marion County, Lucky’s Kitchen sets up in different locations and operates Tuesday through Saturday.

Best sellers include the Lucky Philly, BBQ Burger and Holy Chicken. Carlos also makes, labels, and sells his specialty BBQ and ranch sauces.

CULINARY BEGINNINGS

A 2007 graduate of Lake Weir High School, Carlos was enrolled in culinary programs there. “Chef John Bell was my culinary teacher and spoke life into me about the culinary aspect and where it could take me. He taught me lots of things,” recalls Carlos.

At 15, Carlos got his first job working at a mom-and-pop pizza shop. He continued working at different pizza shops until graduating from high school.

“There was an opportunity for me to make some money in the construction business, so I moved to Baltimore, and I did that for a year,” says Carlos.

Back home in Ocala, he again turned to the food industry for his next job and found it at LongHorn Steakhouse. He was 20 at the time.

After starting as a salad maker and fry cook, he was promoted up the line to the “hot side” as a grill cook. He became a trainer, regularly traveling to different LongHorns to train employees.

“From there, I decided to make a career out of it. I ended up getting promoted to manager and did this for four years,” says Carlos, who opened a LongHorn location in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and managed it for a year.

He returned to Florida and was managing the LongHorn Steakhouse in Gainesville, when the pandemic struck at the very end of 2019.

PANDEMIC UPHEAVAL

“Once COVID hit, things got crazy; it was overwhelming,” says Carlos. “I was talking to my sister Jamie, and she knew someone who was selling a food truck. I always wanted to do that, so I thought, I’m going to jump on this.”

At that point, he’d worked for the steakhouse chain for 11 years.

“I left LongHorn at the beginning of 2020. I took some of what I’d accumulated from my 401k, and the good thing was, because of COVID, I wasn’t penalized for doing this,” says Carlos.

He was in the process of purchasing the food truck and planning his next career chapter when his father had a heart attack. Sadly, Lucky Gonzalez passed away on June 11, 2020.

Because the food truck business already had a name and menu, Carlos added his dad’s name and stuck with the menu, adding his own flair to the burgers, Philly steaks, and chicken sandwiches.

“In the beginning, I called it Lucky’s Food Wizards and did this for a year,” says Carlos. “Then, I decided it would be more efficient to have a food trailer, instead. My mom ended up helping me purchase the food trailer, and in 2022, I officially made it Lucky’s Kitchen LLC.”

And yes, the wings and halo on the Lucky’s Kitchen logo are in honor of his dad.

Carlos’ mother, Angie, works with him in business, and they enjoy a closer relationship than many mothers and sons. “If it wasn’t for my mom, I wouldn’t be where I’m at,” says Carlos, now 35. “My dad told me to be sure I took care of my

When Carlos isn’t behind the grill at Lucky’s Kitchen, he can often be found on his motorcycle or on the water, enjoying his boat and jet ski.

“I have some toys, but in my spare time I like to spend time with the family,” he says, adding that if he’s not at the lake, he’s often hanging with his cousins.

According to Carlos, that flexibility is the best thing about being self-employed.

Opportunities to expand the business have Carlos seriously contemplating buying another food truck. Having both a food truck and food trailer would enable him to set up in two places at once, so this is a future goal for Lucky’s Kitchen.

“Being that I named the business after my dad, it just gives me drive to keep pushing and make him proud,” adds Carlos.

The best part of his day is when he gets positive feedback from customers about the food he’s worked hard to prepare.

“I like to see people smile after I cook for them,” he says.

LEARN MORE

Facebook: @LuckysKitchen35 2

CHEWS LETTER
I like to see people smile after I cook for them.
localamag.com 17
— Carlos Gonzalez

Forgivene is the Hardest Thing

an anthology

“Forgiving him was beyond comprehension, but I could have full closure if I forgave myself; for staying and not speaking up for nearly 20 years.” —

A COLLECTION OF SHORT STORIES, POEMS AND ESSAYS ON HOW 21 WOMEN LET GO AND MOVED ON…OR DIDN’T

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localamag.com 20

Taste & See

BEST FRIENDS PURSUE THEIR BAKING PASSION

Two best friends, Christy Cruz and Ti any Lopez, are taking the baking world by storm with Baked & Co. Celebrating one year of delicious scones, mu ns, and unique dumplings, they share the sweet (and savory) tales of their entrepreneurial journey, all while cherishing their faith, friendship, and shared dreams.

localamag.com 21

There are few foundations stronger than a friendship based on faith and shared dreams.

Christy Cruz and Tiffany Lopez are the owners of Baked & Co., a popular new bakery that specializes in baked goods, such as specialty scones, muffins, and miniature pie-like treats called dumplings. August will mark the oneyear anniversary of embarking on this journey together, and the two friends have much to share about what they learned along the way.

A SHARED DREAM

Despite possessing different personalities, Christy and Tiffany share very similar backgrounds. Both women are from the Midwest and had families that were very involved in local ministry, a considerable factor to the unique synergy the friends have built up over the years.

Christy has been a professional baker for over 10 years. Most of her work prior to opening Baked & Co. involved custom cake decorating, which she professes to be more than happy to have left behind.

“I wanted to have more control over what I made,” Christy explains. She especially wanted to focus more on baked goods, which are her true passion, and jokingly shares her plans on becoming the most accomplished scone baker in the area.

Even though cake decorating is not really Christy’s thing anymore, Baked & Co. still takes cake orders and even offers single cake slices, as well as trendy “cakes in a jar,” which are miniature confections layered inside of a little Mason jar.

Christy always dreamed of opening her own bakery, one day, but said she was initially unsure how to go about doing it herself. That’s where Tiffany came into the picture.

“Before, I could only do so much,” Christy says. “I could only go so far with just me.”

Tiffany has always been employed in the medical field but has been more drawn to the business administration and operations management side of the field.

“That’s really my strong suit and my skillset,” Tiffany says. “I like numbers. I like figuring out problems.”

In addition to enjoying the art of business processes, Tiffany has always enjoyed baking. She had long fantasized about opening her own café.

Though Christy and Tiffany have been friends

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for nearly 16 years, it wasn’t until a fateful day in 2022 that both realized the secret dreams they fostered were one in the same.

JUST DO IT

Christy and Tiffany were having a hangout session at Christy’s house when Tiffany first broached the idea of opening a bakery together. “I said, ‘Let’s just do it,’” Tiffany recalls. Baked & Co. was at its first market, called Teak Lane Makers Market, just four weeks later.

Christy does most of the actual baking for the bakery, whereas Tiffany handles the business side of things. Tiffany says she can follow a recipe but has no great talent for it the way Christy does.

“She is definitely a phenomenal baker,” Tiffany says of Christy. “I do believe God gifts us with things, and that’s definitely her gift.”

Christy says her creativity and skill shine the most with the cookie subscription box the bakery offers. She often experiments with new flavors such as coquito, a traditional Christmas drink that originated in Puerto Rico.

When it comes to inspiration, Christy is most influenced by her family. Christy’s favorite item on the menu is dumplings, an idea that originated from her grandmother and mother.

Christy praises Tiffany for being a deft communicator in addition to being a skilled business operations manager. Tiffany is especially good at marketing on social media, according to Christy. “God definitely uses her and gifts her through writing,”

Christy says.

The bakery has grown at a much more rapid pace than either Christy or Tiffany had originally anticipated. Christy even quit her part-time job to accommodate all the orders, while still preparing for the Ocala Downtown Market they now frequent on the first and third Saturday of every month.

Given Baked & Co.’s increasing popularity, Christy and Tiffany’s families often pitch in to lighten the load. According to both friends, their respective husbands are very supportive of the bakery. Both men, collectively referred to as “the husbands,” spend many a market day handing out samples and directing people to the Baked & Co. booth.

“They dream bigger than we dream,” Christy laughs. “But now, we’re catching up.”

Christy says she would like the bakery to eventually expand beyond just Ocala, but right now, she and Tiffany are focused on opening a brick-and-mortar store first. They hope it will happen sometime in the coming year.

IT’S ABOUT FRIENDSHIP

Faith is a big part of the vision Christy and Tiffany have for Baked & Co., as is family and the friendship the two women share.

“One of our taglines is ‘taste and see,’” Christy says. She wants to remind people about where food comes from and to appreciate the food they’re given.

Tiffany said the goal of Baked & Co. is to enable anyone who thinks of the bakery to associate it with the warmth of home, whatever that word means to them, and feel welcome.

“The table is always a place of vulnerability for people, because we all have a need to be fed,” Tiffany explains. “Our mission is to capture that moment of vulnerability with kindness and warmth.”

Christy and Tiffany feel lucky to have found each other. Tiffany also affirms that they’ve managed to avoid the conflict that is usually associated with going into business with a close friend.

“It’s kind of learning our professional communication styles and remembering to always give the benefit of the doubt,” Tiffany says. “I’m never going to purposefully try and hurt her, and she’s never going to purposefully say something to upset me.”

Tiffany acknowledges that there are times when tension could manifest

into something worse, as they are both busy full-time wives and mothers. Christy says they often circumvent misunderstandings or complicated emotions by simply calling to check in with each other.

“When we started this, we did say, ‘Our friendship is always going to come first,’” Tiffany says. “If Baked & Co. packed up and closed the doors, our friendship is always going to come first.”

Christy says she and Tiffany are entering all new territory, so they’re trying to move forward cautiously and be intentional when balancing business and friendship.

Baked & Co. is Tiffany’s evening job, and she considers it a nice reprieve. “It doesn’t feel like work to me,” she says.

After a lifetime of baking by personal request or underneath someone else, Christy has come to believe that ownership makes the difference in making the work enjoyable.

Baked & Co. can be found at Ocala Downtown Market every first and third Saturday at 403 Southeast Osceola Ave. Fresh deliveries are made every week to the Workspace Collective at Fort King, which are available to the public for purchase. Pre-orders can be made at t inyurl.com/2da47j7y , and regular updates are provided on the official Baked & Co. Instagram.

EXTENDED CONTENT

See the full interview on YouTube @localapodca st or listen on your favorite podcast app on August 25, 2023.

localamag.com 23

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Artist Corner

localamag.com 25
Photo by Joshua Jacobs

Gabi Zuniga ARTIST Q&A

You started out wanting to be an illustrator then added graphic design to your skill set. How did that lead to where you are now?

Illustration is such a niche field, and around Central Florida, there are so many needs for graphic artists, so I pivoted to help make a living. I started designing for an agency, then freelanced for about three years before officially starting Studio Gab. Now I’m an entrepreneur and business owner, taking control of my own brand.

What does it mean to be a resident artist at the MAX?

For me, it means planting myself in the Ocala art scene, getting my face out there, and networking. I also have the opportunity to organize artist talks, so any Black artists interested in doing this should contact me.

How has your Haitian and Chilean heritage impacted your work?

I really didn’t see that presentation growing up.

Do you have a preferred style?

My personal design style tends to be funky retroinspired, like atomic age and industrial. One of my goals this year is to attract more clients who want those designs.

How much of your work is digital and how much is traditional?

In high school and the first year of college, it was all traditional, but now it’s about 90 percent digital. What I display in a gallery or make for myself could be ink drawing, acrylics, gouache, or digital. I’ve been doing fine art on and off; a lot of it celebrates Black women at rest.

What advice would you give someone interested in pursuing a career in the arts?

This Afro-Latina artist took her passion for art and turned it into a career. A Central Florida resident since age 2, Gabi Zuniga graduated from Lecanto High School in 2013 and earned her BFA in Illustration at Ringling College of Art and Design in 2017. She launched her own business, Studio Gab, in January 2023, and she’s a resident artist at the Magnolia Art Xchange (MAX).

My grandparents are first-generation Haitian immigrants. Seeing how hard my whole family worked to provide for us, I’ve learned to work hard. I’ve also learned to bring more dark skin and curly hair into my presentations, because

Don’t let rejection or obstacles stop you, because everyone who’s successful will deal with that. Let the obstacles teach you. Don’t be afraid to pivot if something isn’t working; don’t be afraid to try something new.

LEARN MORE thestudiogab.com

hello@thestudiogab.com maxocala.org

ARTIST CORNER
localamag.com 26

Journeys Traveled

Q&A WITH PHOTOGRAPHER RANDY BATISTA

He says, “I had the great fortune to have been born into a loving family who had been in Cuba for so many generations that it was part of the family name.”

When did you first became interested in photography?

It was in 1970, during my sophomore year at the University of Florida. A friend had purchased a 35mm camera, and a group of us went to Orange Lake to take pictures. He handed me the camera and a roll of black-and-white film, and I began to document. When I saw my processed images, something sparked in me, and I immediately realized I wanted to pursue photography as a career. I was not able to change majors, but I managed to persuade Jerry Uelsmann to allow me into his Photography 101 class.

What were the best takeaways and/or advice from studying under influential photographers who worked at the University of Florida?

in time. Learning the basic image processing skills and techniques were, of course, invaluable, but equally important was the faculty support toward creativity.

When you capture people going about daily activities, do you capture them with long lenses or are you close enough to them to speak with them, as well?

The situation dictates what lens you will use to get the desired effect. Interactivity with the subject depends on whether the photograph is documentary or portraiture in nature. Respect of others’ personal space is always a priority.

As the exhibition is all black-and-white photography, did you develop and print all these works yourself?

The images of Cuba and Ybor City in this exhibit are all silver prints, so I developed and processed the images myself.

What’s in a name? With a full seven names, the Gainesville-based photographer

Randy Obdulio Armando Batista

Gonzales Cuba Caccitore recognized the “what’s in a name” concept as a journey of lineages.

During the first class with Jerry Uelsmann, he said, “Photography is defined as 1/1000 of a second of eternity.” Even now, I am aware that I am documenting a moment

Randy Batista’s solo exhibition is on view in the Appleton’s Balcony Gallery for Florida Artists through January 28, 2024, and with his lens, he highlights time spent and journeys traveled.

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ARTIST CORNER
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1996,
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Photos submitted by Appleton Museum of Art, Image
Randy Batista, “Oriol 94,”
Gelatin silver print, Courtesy of artist.
Randy Batista, "Envuelto (Underwraps)," Havana, 1999, Silver gelatin print. Courtesy of the artist.
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