Downtown art bar aims to “Make Me Better.”

The NV Art Bar in downtown Orlando is hosting an upcoming exhibit called "Make Me Better."

The NV Art Bar in downtown Orlando is hosting an upcoming exhibit called “Make Me Better.”

ORLANDO — Question: How do you create a really cool living room — and then use it to help people make themselves better?
If that sounds like an ambitious goal, it’s not for the folks at the NV Art Bar in downtown Orlando, which has an art exhibit opening on Thursday that aims to do just that.
The NV Lounge at 27 E. Pine St. is a cozy lounge and bar designed for artistry and atmosphere. Established in 2005, it was originally opened as a photography studio, but over time it morphed into a beer and wine bar.
It now specializes in everything people need for a relaxing night out — boutique beers, wines and liquor, and NV also hosts Date Nights and art exhibits, including “Make Me Better,” which opens on Thursday, June 20.
“How does one make themselves better?” NV asks in its promotions for the exhibit. “This showing will explore how art helps to improve our desire to do better and be better.”
The exhibit puts a spotlight on the paintings of Erick D. Marquez, formerly a tattoo artist in Central Florida. His paintings can be viewed at NV Art Bar through July 15, while the opening reception from 6-9 p.m. will be part of Orlando’s ongoing Third Thursday Downtown Art Walk. On the third Thursday of every month, the Downtown Arts District invites people to flock downtown to celebrate art and enjoy an evening of sights, sounds, food, and shopping.
The public is welcome to attend the opening.
“Erick D. Marquez is an extraordinary artist in many media, from oils and acrylics on canvas to spray paint on the walls of New York City,” NV notes. A native of New York City, Marquez relocated to Orlando to open a tattoo shop, which he operated for a decade. He retired from the world of tattoos after deciding that he wanted to dedicate his life’s work to a higher calling — which he hopes to .
“Erick now has Divine Inspiration steering his life and his art work more than ever,” NV wrote. “Taking on the world with the Word of God in one hand and a paint brush in the other, Erick hopes to inspire Divine Revelation in all who meet him and see his art work.”
As NV notes, Marquez’s work continues to drawn on his years of experience as both a graffiti writer and tattoo artist, work that has been the focus of small and large exhibits, including a large one at Orlando’s CityArts Factory, and several exhibits at the Orlando Museum of Art. He also did a live art show for Mayor Buddy Dyer during the Art Business Institute reception at Gallery of Avalon Island.
“Make Me Better” will also feature the work of Steve Barrientes, a freelance painter and mixed media artist who is “also a seeker of betterment,” NV notes.
Barrientes, a native Texan who has lived in Florida since 1990, also does tattoo work and automotive airbrushing, as well as traditional painting in oils and acrylics.
For a while he served as a creative painting instructor for the Center for Animal Therapies in Longwood.
“Steve draws his inspiration from folklore, myths and archetypical stories from different countries and cultures,” NV notes. “This inspiration is then filtered through his own personal understanding of the world and is expressed fully in his work. This process is evident in Steve’s broad scope of topics and eclectic painting styles.”
There will also be live art demonstrations outside the Pine Street club.

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