Sunday, June 12, 2011

Living in a Hipster’s Paradise (Miami Art Walk and a brief interview with Rocky Grimes)

Since returning to the US, my new mission has been to appreciate all the art and culture available to me, here in South Florida. So, yesterday, a couple of girlfriends and I decided to check out the art scene in the Wynwood Art District, down in Miami.

The Wynwood Art Walk consists of several blocks of galleries, exhibiting various artists’ collections, all the while ladling out mixed drinks and electro beats. Yeah, it’s basically a hipster’s paradise. If the free drinks and music inside the galleries aren’t enough, there are dozens of food and liquor trucks outside, serving treats that should certainly be illegal. Against my better judgment, I had 3 deep fried cupcakes and 1 buttered hamburger. I’m not sure why anyone would slather butter on a hamburger or charge 8 dollars for it, but may I tell you, it was worth every cent and calorie. So were the cupcakes. They sell them in 3’s with a choice of vanilla, chocolate, and red velvet, and for investigative purposes, I was forced to sample all three. How I suffer for my blog!

The art exhibits were a mixed bag depending on what you like: photography, pop-art, and classic oil on canvas. Some galleries were exhibiting “art” I like to call, “pretentious, self indulgent, Banksy-wannabe, hipster, crap”. You know what I mean; we all saw “Exit through the Gift Shop”. Mr. Brainwash --remember him? Picture walking through galleries of that recycled, uninspired, pop-art, nonsense –And it wasn’t glorious nonsense either! Sorry, Warhol enthusiasts.
BUT, if that’s your thing, I found that one of these exhibits was a cut above the rest. Rocky Grimes’ exhibit, I absolutely loved. I’m not an art critic, but I’d like to think I know art from crap when I see it. His art was definitely pop-art without the pop. His prints are colorful combinations of different photo cutouts, combined with splashes of neon, and assembled together to convey meaning.

So, of course, I whipped out my notebook and went to tell Mr. Grimes exactly what I thought, and he was so kind as to let me quiz him for a sec. It went a little like this:


Me: Hi, I love your work, gush, gush, gush. Do you mind if I interview you for my blog?

Grimes: Sure.

Me: Great! Where are you from?

Grimes: I’m from south Florida, WAY south: The Everglades.

Me: Nice. You prints are really original. Where do you get your inspiration?

Grimes: From everywhere, just everyday life.

Me: Okay, I definitely can see specific emotions (pointing to some of his prints)

Grimes: Nods in agreement.

Hey, I said it was brief!

On to the other galleries and it was clear that the biggest artist on the block was Miguel Paredes. Not only was his gallery the size of a department store, he literally needed a bouncer to keep a balanced flow of people coming in and out. The wait in the line was under 5 minutes and well worth it. Free drinks, great DJ, and vibrant art that I can only describe as; American street kids out of Sunday school let lose to the streets of Japan with graffiti cans.

Miguel Paredes

My friends and I agreed that the best gallery of the night was our last. We followed the art through the many rooms to the open back door, revealing a dark backyard that was empty, save for one lone DJ and Disco ball. We all looked each other, wondering if this was art. Believe me, we’ve seen some things, including a pile of dirt and a propped up shovel against a wall, in these galleries to make us doubt our own common sense at that point. Of course, none of that stopped us from turning it into our own club and getting down to some techno.

Rocky Grimes
 All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed the break from the usual Saturday routine of beaches and VIP lounges. Who knew South Florida had such a vibrant art scene? Ok, maybe everybody but me. But NOW I know and I can definitely say… this is where the young, good-looking, intelligent, people are. I know you South Florida college grads and young professionals have been wondering and I’m just saying…

The Wynwood Art Walk happens every 2nd Saturday of every month. You can thank me later.

Rafael Espitia
"Tsunami"- Frayackus
"It's a Rat's World"-G.G.

1 comment:

Lish said...

I noticed some extra traffic on this post. I'm looking forward to this week's Art Walk. More food, more art, and more hipsters!