The guys from Primary Flight recently traveled to Havana, Cuba with El Mac, where he painted this mural. The Cisneros Fontanals Art Foundation Europe and Union de Escritores y Artistas de Cuba also helped to arrange the project. El Mac’s piece is titled El corazón de un sueño palpita entre mis manos (The Heart of a Dream Beats Within My Hands).
Ryan Gattis: What’s most inspiring to you right now?
Scott Sueme: Abstract painting and progressive graffiti piecing for the most part. I’m also really excited about working with other artists that aren’t necessarily coming from a graffiti background too. For instance, I worked with Andrew Young recently. He and I did some painting in Miami for part of Primary Flight.
I’m told, although it’s certainly not the easiest thing to read, that this Retna mural (organized by Primary Flight) says “Brimstone MSK” and that Brimstone is a sort of alter-ego for Retna. Can you read it? Either way, there’s a great video showing the work in progress…
Even the Atlanta-based mural conference Living Walls managed to make it to Miami this year for Art Basel Miami. Partnering with Primary Flight, Living Walls organized spots for Jaz, Know Hope and Ever. Mike Pearce caught photos of the walls in progress and after they were finished, and here are some of his pictures:
In case you’d like to be in Miami right now for Art Basel Miami and the associated craziness of the season, but you’re stuck at home like me, here’s a small segment of what we’re missing (focusing on indoor events because a lot of the murals are still in progress):
Wynwood Walls is a noteworthy mural program in the Wynwood District of Miami. It has brought a number talented of artists to Miami to paint walls, and I’m under the impression that these artists are rewarded handsomely for their work. So far, so good. The project was started by Tony Goldman, a real estate developer. For this reason, Wynwood Walls has always been a bit controversial. To put it simply, Goldman is banking on commissioned murals by street artists and graffiti artists/writers to help quickly gentrify the neighborhood of Wynwood, where his company has significant property holdings. Okay, so that’s going to be controversial, but personally I think both sides of that issue have some good points. While Wynwood Walls has made me uncomfortable in the past with their high-culture and very dollar-sign focused take on murals, at the end of the day Wynwood has more walls painted by great artists because of Wynwood Walls and the neighborhood is on the upswing. But I’m digressing with history and politics before I even get to my main point: Wynwood Walls was not the first mural project in Wynwood, nor the largest, nor the most important. Before Wynwood Walls came along, the district was known in the street art and graffiti worlds for Primary Flight, quite likely the largest mural festival ever held with over 250 participants since 2007. While Primary Flight is not going to have quite as strong of a presence this year as it has in years past (both festivals are held over the first week of December), Primary Flight has undoubtedly been the superior festival to Wynwood Walls in size and the locations of walls in the past. This year, Wynwood Walls has ramped things up and Primary Flight has slowed things down, so it remains to be seen which will be the bigger festival, but the idea of Wynwood as a mural district certainly stems from Primary Flight’s work. Wynwood Walls took a version of Primary Flight’s idea, added their personal spin to it and started up a few years later in the same neighborhood as Primary Flight.
Given that history, I at first found it surprising that a recent docuseries about Wynwood is telling such a different story: Here Comes The Neighborhood. The series is described as “a Short-Form Docuseries exploring the power of Public Art and innovation to uplift and revitalize urban communities,” and supposedly tells the story of how Wynwood has been improved by murals. Unfortunately, the series is not at all what it claims. Tony Goldman, the man behind Wynwood Walls, is the executive producer of Here Comes The Neighborhood. When you know that, it becomes a lot more clear as to why the video series is, so far, a bit of a circle-jerk of Wynwood Walls participants talking about how great the project is, save for about 20 seconds mentioning Primary Flight and Gaia’s joke that the main Wynwood Walls complex might be “where art goes to die, to a certain extent.”
The Wynwood Walls website and the Here Comes The Neighbordhood website are even worse, with absolutely no mention of Primary Flight or the graffiti and street art in Wynwood that preceded either festival. Of course people and companies can say what they want about their projects so Wynwood Walls and this video series could just tell the story of Wynwood Walls and not mention Primary Flight, but I do take issue with them claiming to tell a history of art in the area and practically writing out the organization responsible for the majority of Wynwood’s murals. Based on a quick estimate, the Here Comes The Neighborhood trailer includes at least 6 of the murals affiliated with Primary Flight rather than Wynwood Walls, as were 8 artists affiliated with Primary Flight rather than Wynwood Walls, 9 artists shown who worked with Primary Flight before Wynwood Walls and 1 who worked with both Primary Flight and Wynwood Walls during her first trip to Miami. So clearly the makers of Here Comes The Neighborhood like and know about the murals for which Primary Flight is responsible, but have for some unknown reason neglected to give Primary Flight due credit for their contribution to Wynwood.
So with their twisting of history in mind, here’s the trailer for and the first two episodes of Here Comes The Neighborhood, which at least does show some great artwork if you can get past their gross distortions:
Living Walls, the Altanta-based street art festival and conference, has packed their bags and headed to Miami for Basel madness. Living Walls, in conjunction with Primary Flight, has organized walls by Jaz, Ever and Know Hope to be painted in the next few days.
Primary Projects, the gallery that came out of Primary Flight, has a group show opening next month called His Wife and Her Lover. The show centers on the themes of “destruction, secrecy, violence, social class, pride and desire.” Two artists of note for Vandalog readers will be Mark Jenkins and Cleon Peterson. Also included in the show are Valerie Hegarty, George Sanchez Calderon, Dead Dads Club Corporation, Manny Prieres, Emmett Moore, Franky Cruz, Andrew Nigon, Nick Klein, Johnny Robles, Jessy Nite and Edouard Nardon. His Wife and Her Lover opens on September 10th and runs through October 1st.
El Celso isn’t the only artist who is experimenting with Peru’s unique Chica style of posters, a style pioneered by the Urcuhuaranga family in Lima, Peru. In Miami, Primary Projects have a group show opening this Saturday in homage to Chica posters. For Para Mi Gente, more than 50 artists have contributed designs to a Chica-style collaboration. Shepard Fairey, El Celso, Tristan Eaton, Skullphone, Posterboy, El Tono and others have sent designs to the Primary Projects crew who will combine all these designs by hand painting them throughout the gallery. The artists have little control over how their designs will look on the walls, where they will appear, or next to what. This sounds like a pretty unique and risky show. It should look cool, and it will definitely mess with the standard notions of what gallery art should be and look like.
Here’s the flyer with all the critical info you may need: