This ceramic artist moved from the Caribbean to the first floor of a Miami Museum

A self-taught 27-year-old artist raised in the Dominican Republic and from Manhattan, Liza Marie Guillén wants to make a difference with her art. 

Guillén’s ceramics journey started in January 2020, when she began seeking to capture the beauty of the ocean’s depths in sculptures. She used trial and error to perfect her craft. It helped Guillén develop a unique style for her ocean-themed designs. 

Working with clay introduced Guillén to new creative possibilities. She already had an understanding of textures and painting. In decoding her love for clay, Guillén found inspiration in ancient tales of mythology and folklore as well as in movies like Pirates of the Caribbean. 

Drawing inspiration from outside sources helped Guillén create a deeper understanding of her art. Each piece is uniquely different, and Guillén says her art is a reflection of her spirit. 

Self-taught artist in ceramics, Guillén faced multiple challenges – not only within herself but from fellow artists. Entering any field as a newcomer is challenging, especially when there are people who have been there longer and may not be receptive to new perspectives.

“I’ve faced resistance and skepticism, especially from individuals who may feel threatened or insecure when they see someone new making progress,” Guillén said. 

Through her struggles, Guillén has been able to refine her skills. Rather than considering fellow artists to be competition, Guillén said she sees them as sources of inspiration.

“By demonstrating my dedication to the art form, I aim to earn the respect and acceptance of my peers,” she said.


Works by Guillén. Photo taken by Sandy Reyes.

Guillén said having her art showcased at the Frost was humbling because it validated the many hours of hard work on her pieces, while also providing a new audience to appreciate her unique view of the world. 

It happened when a current member at her studio, MIY Ceramics, contacted Frost Science Museum Chief Operating Officer George Trevor Powers. That artist, Hariklia (Hara) Giannoulakis, is friends with Powers.

“When I saw her work, I showed Powers, because the museum has a local artist section which would be great to showcase her art,” Giannoulakis said. Guillén’s work reflects her connection to the beauty of the ocean and the natural world.

Because Guillén is self-taught, sometimes she is not given the same opportunities as formally trained artists with many degrees. 

When creating art for the Frost Science Museum, Guillén starts work in the comfort of her home, using inspiration from a walk by a nearby pond. Then she finishes at the MIY Ceramics studio, working side-by-side with other artists. 

“It provides me with opportunities to grow and experiment with different techniques,” she said,  “due to the diverse art styles of artists there.” 

“The studio environment informs and elevates my personal artistry, while my unique perspective enriches the collective creative experience at MIY Ceramics,” Guillén said.

Kaylin Linder is a senior broadcasting journalism student at Florida International University. She is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in digital journalism. She has been in love with Journalism since the eighth grade and started to hone in on her love for writing in her freshman year of high school. She enjoys reading and watching anything that deals with true crime because she loves how reporters never forget who the victims were and what they meant to their loved ones. After graduating, Kaylin looks forward to reporting about injustices going on in the United States.