Friday, August 4, 2017

"Graffiti Characters" Are Back with Lorenzo "Zoe" Acosta & Puna the Magic City Flamingo!

Over the years, every time I would visit Miami I wanted to somehow see a real flamingo and an alligator.  Magical creatures originating in the Magic City, but they weren't just walking around Wynwood, Bicayne Blvd., or the Beach.  You had to go much further west--unless....you look close around the art areas.  It was there that I found the funkiest, giant pink bird and coolest gator painted on the walls of Wynwood and random spots around the city.  This was just as good as it was the true city essence from a local artist. 
Lorenzo "Zoe" Acosta
Upon relocating here last fall I found these characters more often as I became familiar with the neighborhoods.  One day my amigo and editor of the late, great "Talk Off The Walls" street art magazine took me on a "hidden gem" tour and we ran into Lorenzo Acosta, painting in Allapattah (west of Wynwood.)  Yes!  The artist who created that flamingo.  He was painting with Andrea aka FreakyKissDesigns (who's spastic stars you also see throughout the city.)  We began chatting, made friends and soon after he gave me the flamingo hat off his head - it was like Christmas!  I was very appreciative to say the least.

As I developed the "Graffiti Characters" blog series (and after overcoming a few technical difficulties) I knew Zoe would be among the first to feature.  So here we go...
Zoe, I'm guessing you are a native of Miami, correct?  
Yes, I'm Florida born and Miami raised.  I’m just a chill guy, enjoying life in the magic city. I love my  city, good music, and great food.

When did you first begin perusing art?
When I was younger, I saw a homeless man painting. I can’t remember what he was painting, or what his name was, but I do remember how I felt watching him. That’s when I decided that I wanted to paint, and inspire in others, what he inspired in me.

You mentioned you have three Miami style characters, and now we know their names; the most popular seen around the city is the flamingo - Puna, the alligator - Chompers  and the girl - Alani.  How did your characters come to be?
I’m all about the 305, so they were born from the people I meet and the scenes I see every day on the streets, at work, everywhere!  Puna has a lot of myself, Chompers and Alani are his supporting cast.
The gang's all here!
What do you want people to know about your art characters?
That they are a reflection of South Florida life. They are a bit of me, you, and everyone who has lived in this city long enough. We have all met someone like them, or are like them ourselves.
You have them on all kinds of medium; stickers, caps, clothing, canvases to big walls – which is your favorite to paint on?
Every surface is my favorite. Every surface brings out different aspects of my characters. They are big time Miami which I love.

Have you painted them in other cities, countries bringing a taste of Miami to those places?
Not……YET!!! That’s the plan though.

Who were your favorite or most influential artists? Or, who is your favorite or most influential artist(s) of all time?
I really don’t have a favorite. I’m influenced by all the artists I meet, all the art I see. It is an organic experience.

What do you want people to understand or take away from your character(s)?
That no matter how hard, dire, or gray life gets, there will always be a space for color, laughter, and art.

Do you collaborate much with other artists? If so, whom has your character had the most fun with?
I do a lot of work with Andrea (@freakykissdesigns), Puna always has a blast with her #SpazticStars.
Above & below with  Andrea, FreakyKissDesigns
Anyone special or a brand you’d like to collaborate with?
Ohhh man, there are so many great people I’d love to create art with!!  For example; @MiamiNate, @il_surge, @coinslot, and @golden305 are at the top of my list.

Tell us anything you’d like about your future plans, goals for 2017 for you and your character:
To be everywhere! I’m hoping to launch my website/store soon. I have so many ideas!
What music do you listen to while creating, if any?
Music is always blasting, mostly hip-hop. Recently I have been getting into old-school blues.

Where do you find inspiration?
Literally EVERYWHERE! From walls, to the sky. From a plate of food, to my girl’s nails.
If you could have dinner with one or two people, dead or alive who would they be
and why?
I don’t know about dinner, but I would love to have a drink with the creators of Ran & Stimpy.
That's all folks.  Now when you see these characters on the streets, you'll know their origin.   Be sure to follow along with Zoe and see what the characters are up to next follow 
him here on Instagram: @_Art_By_Zoe and on Facebook at Lorenzo Acosta.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Hong Kong Artist Claudia Chanhoi Illustrates Feminism Humor

Light hearted, feminism art hits Miami as Tranter-Sinni Gallery recently presented the latest work from Hong Kong based artist Claudia Chanhoi entitled "Her Mountains, Her Ocean."  
Claudia’s work is based on her personal experience as a heterosexual woman in modern world dating, and her view on female sexuality along with humor and sarcasm. In 2016, she started posting her illustration work regularly on Instagram (@brainxeyes) as her self-expression. Behind her colorful cartoon-based images, there is always a simple message or a lighthearted joke. The caption is a very important element to the imagery because she believes a piece of good work is not only visually interesting, but it also needs to serve a purpose.
The gallery features Claudia’s hand–painted canvases, series such as “Scenary” and “Entering Relationships” and also exhibits work about modern dating, sexual desire, female sexual power, censorship, etc.

Claudia Chanhoi
For more information look here https://www.tranter-sinnigallery.com/exhibitions and follow them on Instagram at @trantersinnigallery and @brainxeye.  The exhibit runs through April 29, 2017 at 350 NW 29th Street (Wynwood), Miami, Florida. 

Monday, April 3, 2017

F*** It & Be Set Free with Contemporary Artist Kelly Breeze at Primary!

Upon making the move to Miami last year, I wondered and worried "what if there is not much of a contemporary art scene besides the art fairs? What will I do?"  Quickly my fears were put to rest as I discovered the city boasts some of the best, thriving contemporary galleries in the country, one being PRIMARY located in the Miami Design District.  
An exhibit I was looking forward to was Florida born, Kelly Breez's “Fuck It Will Set You Free” which in a nutshell blew my art-mind.  Breeze is definitely "one to watch" for you collectors! 
The show is remarkable, it reminded me of something brilliant I would see at The Hole Gallery (NYC.)  I immediately felt at home (but much warmer and cleaner), seeing this eclectic body of work "with a visual aesthetic loosely compared to the likes of Raymond Pettibon or Margaret Kilgallen, Breez combines a California state of mind with her South Florida tropical upbringing," as described by the gallery. 100% spot on!
Artist Kelly Breez
Tropical person indeed, beach chairs adorned the giant gallery with resin covered paintings everywhere with a beachy, tropical theme on the walls.  “Fuck It Will Set You Free” began as a mantra, adopted by a core group of friends who collectively relocated to San Francisco, California. In early 2008, the group acquired a new (old) van and began the journey to the west coast. Over time, the mantra stuck, it became the motto for Breez’s California years, in turn, becoming her way of life."  -Primary.
Breez explains, “Fuck It Will Set You Free is a collection of works that represent my belief in artistic / personal liberation in the face of convention. The future is unknown, which leaves room for adventure and mystery. Calculated moves shut out possibilities, Fuck It is about affirming your power to do stuff people might not understand. It’s playful, it’s stubborn.”   To me, this is what we all need now, amen.
My favorite because I loathe selfies and that ridiculous stick!
Included in the exhibit, Breez develops an ongoing painting series of “How-to” books. Titles such as
“How to Spot a Cop Car from Two Miles Away Even in the Dark” & “How to Vandalize that Booty” give a glimpse into the calculated wit that is Kelly Breez.  So many favorites.  

Have a look at the exhibit here and catch it in person before it closes on April 8, 2017.
Wait, there's more, look forward to her series of illustrations for OBEY Clothing (founded by Shepard Fairey) launching summer of 2017.  Breez is also the recipient of the ProMax BDA Gold Medal for Outstanding Creative Direction and Design: SundanceTV.
PRIMARY located at 15 NE 39th St., Miami, in the Design District.  For more info and to keep up with Breez and the gallery, look here: http://www.tropicalperson.com / @kellybreez and http://primaryprojectspace.com / @primaryprojects.

Friday, March 10, 2017

"An American Story" - Speedy Graphito's Mega Solo Exhibit in Miami

Castanier Gallery (formerly Fabien Castanier Gallery), has opened at a new location in the Wynwood arts district beginning with a solo exhibition and book signing for Speedy Graphito entitled "An American Story."  The exhibition features new paintings from the artist who has spent the last few months in residence in his Miami studio and also was their highlight at Art Wynwood 2017. 
Speedy Graphito

From the gallery:  "Speedy Graphito’s artistic universe has always been built on an honest dialogue concerning the role of the image within modern society.  Since the inception of his career in the 1980s, his work has dealt with concepts of commercialism, iconography, and pop culture. His new series of work, what he refers to as “mon histoire de l’art” (or “my art history”), confronts our consumerist society and the omnipresence of images and globalization of culture."
His work for An American Story references motifs and themes from some of the most recognizable painters in art history, from Van Gogh and Matisse, to Andy Warhol and Tom Wesselman. Juxtaposed alongside his own style, the mixture of modern and contemporary masters stands to question the role of art and its legacy through a shifted perspective.

Speedy Graphito, has been one of the most influential figures who emerged from the Parisian art scene in the 1980s. His reputation has steadily grown during his 30 year career, affecting a myriad of artists by laying the foundation of his genre, urban and pop art through the lens of contemporary media culture. The constant evolution of his work is a testament to the versatility that he brings through his medium.
Have a look at how he interrupts and reconstructs the art of the decades that we all love at the gallery's opening brunch. You have until April 30, 2017 to catch this at 82 NE 26th St., Suite 111, Wynwood, Miami.
The giant gallery wall outside painted by the artist.
The gallery also has a location in Los Angeles and Bogota and held down pop up locations in Miami for Art Basel throughout the years.  Now, they are here to stay!  For more information and to purchase wither of the artists books contact/visit: http://castaniergallery.com/news/ and  @castaniergallery and the artist at http://speedygraphito.free.fr/ 
and @speedygraphito.