Flying back into a Denver blizzard snapped me back to reality after Baselling it up in Miami for 5 days. Thus begins the recuperation from my second year of early morning painting sessions, sleepless party nights, and the overall visual and cerebral overload of attempting to take in so much amazing artwork while simultaneously showing down in Miami during Art Basel and painting for Primary Flight.
For those who haven't heard, or been to Art Basel, go. It's now the largest culmination of art in the nation and the quintessential US location to see "the best" work from all over the globe while meeting the folks behind it. Additionally, Primary Flight is being talked of as the States' equivalent to the Cans Festival. Last year, 26 artists were on the original line-up and 30 this year. This quickly grew to around 80 as street and graffiti artists from all over the world flew in and were offered up places to paint on the spot. BOOKS III did an excellent, albeit mystifying job of organizing this many writers and street artists in 3 days. Only one smashed window, two stolen ladders, and one fight, not bad at all. Combined with most pieces staying intact from last year, Miami's art, warehouse and industrial districts are swiftly being transformed into street art meccas.
We got a 2 bedroom suite on the water in South Beach thanks to Logan Hicks and Scion. Sounds pretty extravagant until you fill it with 5 doods and some additions. A healthy step up from our 1 & 1/2 star live-in motel in Miami last year. This place is littered with rich folks who humbly enjoy parading around their wealth whenever possible.
Our first night was spent laying low and just catching up over some beers till the early am. Our crew was made up by Logan Hicks: Stencil master, Jeremiah Garcia: Photographer, Primary Flight documentor and stencil artist, Matt: the Ice Cream Man, Surge: Painter, graf artist, tattoo artist, martial artist, and myself. I have known Logan for 5 years or so, Surge as well, although we rarely get to hang out. I had met Jeremiah from last year's Basel and stayed in touch since and met the legendary Ice Cream Man for the first time this trip.
I thought we'd at least get coffee...nope. We woke up at 8 to head straight to meet with BOOKS, get the paint, think of a concept and claim our spots. Here's my grumpy start. Luckily my spot, for the better part of the day, was in the shade–another huge contrast to last year's heat. Haha...suckers. I learned that beards just don't make that much sense in hot beach weather. They also fit in about as well as a preacher in a titty bar.
Our "PT Loser" rental as coined by Erin, one of our future posse inductees. Beggars can't be choosers right? Time to drop off the ladder, get some coffee and food and check out what some of the others are up to.
Surge wrapped up his first piece that morning in a few hours
Billy Mode and Chris Stain. Two dedicated and talented doods who've been at the game for a long time and some cool cats to hang out with. I met Billy last year and was able to make it to their show at AdHoc with Josh MacPhee and The Polaroid Kidd. Again, talented folks.
Ron English and one of his two pieces that would both get ganked in less that 6 hours. Another amazing painter and legend that was great to kick back with from time to time over the trip. We were all joking with him about some English thievery, just didn't think it'd be that fast.
Here's another piece by Strumbel that was nabbed that night, check out Whothefuckstolemyclock.com.
I hung out at the Marlin Hotel in South Beach for a while, which was where my work was showing, didn't take any photos and then headed out to meet up with the crew at Ricky Powell's party. You know a Powell party is going to have some scantily-clad ladies, glad my expectations were fulfilled. I also got to meet up with what would make up the easier-to-look-at side of our crew, Io from Overspray, Erin, and Miya Ando. After we headed to the Beautiful Decay party which was good for people, bad for trying to get a drink. On our way to another spot we ran into Freddi and Evan Cerasoli who lead us over to the "Pharell after party" at some place with a glass piano. I'm starting to remember this land of parties and afterparties. The photos help.
Blek Le Rat, Pablo, Peter (Roadsworth), beard, Miya, and Io.
Will Barras and Erin. Will is one hell of a geezer who made for some good liquor swillin' competition. He recently did a dope piece for POP!TECH with my good homies Jim and Tina Darling up in Maine.
Freddi and Evan really hooked everything up with VIP entrance, lounge, buckets of beer and bottles of booze. Thanks guys! The rest of the night fades away in memory, but I'm pretty sure it was epic and I was happy to share it with such good company
Next day we woke up early again and wrapped up our pieces. Done! Now its time to attempt to see as much as possible.
Ice Cream Man kept everyone's spirits up the entire trip. Who doesn't want free ice cream? No one. Cops, impatient cabbies, homeless folks, all smile with free ice cream. This man has the best job in the world. Giving away free ice cream and getting others to pay for it. Nike hooked it up this year. I had fun helping Matt sling some cream from time to time.
Boxi, beard, Ron English, Jeremiah, Logan, Surge
On the elevator to Scion's penthouse show and party. I think I'm off to the left somewhere.
Amir of Beautiful Decay and Logan
Erin & Io
Artwork at Scion, wish I had better close-ups. Some amazing work!
Outside with Kofie, Io, Will's lady(sorry).
Will & his lady who just flew in from London with no sleep for 2 days. Trooper. Miami was her first introduction to the states, poor thing.
Next up was Shepard Fairey's party at the Red Room(?). It was red. The second all red bar/club of this trip. Really good beats and free prints and mohitos. Would have liked to stay for ZTrip's set too, but we had to get over to Wynwood.
About 15 full minutes at the Gen Art party. It just happened to be at Charcoal Studios, where my show was last year. This time, as its own art fair, it had about 10 times more work. Here's Surge and a giant anime girlbot.
Alcohol is starting to work
This is in the back of the Nike party with Panda Bear and No Age playing the front room. Good, but ridiculously loud. They were also charging $13 for drinks and wouldn't give out water. Only $6 bottles, which just happens to be illegal. No worries, the RVCA stuff out back offered free everything and comfy cabanas.
Would you trust this guy to drive you around all over Miami? Me neither. Didn't have a choice. Again, beggars can't be choosers. We definitely put a descent size dent in the lifespan of our PT Loser.
When not rolling in the loser, we roll in the cream truck. Thanks Matt! Again, the night fades out from here, but I'm sure it was equally epic.
The next nooning we dropped by my show again to pick up and drop off some stuff. Here's a couple of my pieces with a horn lamp at the Marlin.
Seth Carmichael, Pablo Aravena, Io and Roadsworth somehow formulating complete sentences after last night. Check out Pablo's NEXT film as well as Roadsworth's film that is currently touring some festivals.
The nearly finished El Mac and Retna piece. Awesome, in the true sense of the word. This is what a huge undertaking paying off looks like. Congrats fellas!
Surge and another one of his pieces for his daughter Ana. This is someone's home in this bizarre crack alley down from the Mac and Retna piece. Ron English painted the other trailer there. The owners were stoked to have them painted. I'd like to think it was the owner that took Ron's piece, it could probably buy him a new trailer.
Revok & Retna at the Miami wall of fame
Free or for sale? No competition.
Close to the wall of fame was this well hidden abandoned complex. Logan spotted it and wanted to shoot some images for his HDR photography of abandoned urban spaces. Good call. At first it was exciting, especailly when we saw the whole interior painted and some other writers at work. Then the reality of the situation crept in. There were makeshift homes set up and pipes and bloody needles strewn about everywhere. I kind of went into a split excited/depressed wandering malaise while wondering around while Logan go some photos and Surge and Kofie got some painting in. Being really hung over didn't help. Really interesting place though, a good re-realization of Miami's underbelly.
I don't know who did these, but someone threw up three dope Francis Bacon omages who just happened to be my inspiration for the teeth and straining contortion of my piece.
She Kills He
Sunset orange buildings over Will Barras's wall
Billy Mode and Chris Stain at work again
BOOKS III and Logan
Ross Ford, beard, Alex Yanes, FIFTYTHREE, and NFRomero of AltSpace
We went out for a night swim in the Atlantic. There was no one on the entire beach except for a photographer and four swimsuit models doing a shoot. Lucky us. Afterwards we lamped out at the pool swilling some back and chatting up some other Scion residents. Jeremiah's life vest here is one from a plane. Getting these off is not as easy as inflating.
Ice Cream Man, J. Shea, and I had a relaxing day checking out the Aqua fair, the finished Wynwood walls and some Cuban food.
I was completely awestruck by this wall by Boxi and in hindsight, I think its my favorite piece of the whole adventure. I loved the contrast to the hot neon colors of Miami. Its impossible to photograph the multiple layers and values of grays involved in both the characters and their dreamy post-apocolyptic background. Although he completely covered me and my camera in gray overspray, I was more than happy to paint with Boxi.
Blek Le Rat
Logan sorting his stencil. Peep the detail in this shit!
If you ever get dropped off at the airport in an Ice Cream Truck, then hang out in the back for a while, expect some security concerns. Thanks for the ride and spontaneous wooden roller coaster ride along the way!
And now onto some of the coverage. Modart posted up quite a bit on their site, here's two of the videos:
The Miami New times created this 'lil vid:
For more coverage and info of Primary Flight, check out the PF site here.
Also check out coverage on Juxtapoz, The Mongrel, Ice Cream Man, Overspray Mag, Workhorse (I pre-apologies for the bearded man in the haught shorts), Known, The World's Best Ever, Fecal Face via Logan Hicks and Fecal Face via Jeff Soto, And last that I'm posting, but definitely not the last post, here's a giant Flickr page with over 500 photos contributed by multiple photographers. Yay, I'm done. Back to painting...