Spanish artist makes splash in South Florida
Some might consider Javier Echenike to be royalty. He comes from a distinguished family in Spain where his father was one of the founding fathers of television and radio industry and his mother, an inspiring artist.
His grandfather, Angel de Enchenique Pardo, served as Secretary General for the Pardo Museum in Madrid. From Spain via Argentina, Echenike has arrived in South Florida with a passion to create and a brand to back it up.
The 44-year-old Echenike, a masculine man who is clearly on the rise in society, introduced his designs at the International Polo Tournament in Wellington, Fla. and Miami Beach Gay Pride. His logo, Echenike says, is registered in all fifty U.S. states.
Doug Ames, of Fort Lauderdale, is one of Echenike’s biggest fans. Ames, a real estate agent, recently collaborated with Echenike on an Aston Martin tour of homes and says the designer’s skills are quite worldly.
“He has a unique style because of his international background,” Ames said.
That background includes a life in Argentina, an intriguing international romance and his fondness for the spiritual realm. During an interview with SFGN at his model home in Wilton Manors, Echenike talked about how events in his life an inspired him to create.
“There is beauty in everything,” Echenike said.
He is wearing a deep blue collared short-sleeve shirt with a large orange oval insignia on the chest. This is his brand symbol.
“Since I was a child I have been drawing eyes and oval forms,” he says in a thick Spanish accent.
Echenike says the eyes have a feline factor to them. At his custom made home, cats roam freely around the pool. Inside, a living room table features magazines of Echenike-directed photo shoots and designs.
Understanding clients, Echenike says, is an important part of his work. To create there must first be comfort.
“He’s very fresh and current,” Ames remarked. “There’s also this gregarious aura about him.”
Echenike credits this aura to a four-week course on the topic of forgiveness. He expressed gratitude for the “Bridges of Wellness” program he attends regularly in Wilton Manors, where he participates in yoga exercises and learns Reiki sharing.
“I started practicing yoga nine years ago when I lived in Buenos Aires and since then I have not stopped, it is essential to keep physically and mentally balanced,” he said. “It is a philiosophy of life, a healing therapy.”
Echenike said Reiki, a stress reduction technique derived from the Japanese culture, has given him new direction in life.
“It helps me focus on my life and unlock the chakras, the energy centers of our body,” he said. “I feel much more vital and focused.”
Echenike is very focused on establishing his brand in South Florida while being true to himself and his roots. His mother is a painter and piano teacher in Madrid, the capital city of Spain. His father, deceased.
“It was a conservative family,” Echenike said. “Not easy at all.”
Easy meaning that Echenike knew he was gay, but could never tell his father. His mother knows and while her first reaction to the news was one of disapproval, she has grown, Echenike said, to love him more.
“You are the one create me,” he asked his mother. “How do you not like me?”