Monday, December 13, 2010

Pulse of Miami

On our final day experiencing Art Basel in Miami, Terry and I went to Pulse. This contemporary art exhibit was in a huge warehouse which is normally used for photo shoots and large parties. At the entrance I went through the routine of getting my press pass which landed me a VIP card. The previous evening Terry had been handed a ticked by some guy on the street who had already been to the show. The building is surrounded by a stone wall and the gated entrance lead us to a nice grass lawn with some sculptures and hammocks tied between the palm trees. It was a perfect lazy morning so I decided to start off by kicking back and relaxing on the lawn. There is nothing better than sketching to settle into a place. I was fascinated by this small red European car which was perfectly symmetrical, having steering wheels and headlamps in both the front and back of the vehicle. Re-imagining automobiles seemed to be a running theme this year.

Many people entering the PULSE galleries stopped stared and took pictures. Signs on the car's seats however asked that no one sit inside the vehicle. In front of the car was a sculpture by Orly Genger titled "Beefcakes 2010." It was made from miles of white rope woven together like it was crocheted. It's spiraling form looked to me like Hokasai's "The Great Wave at Kanagawa." Similar rope sculptures were scattered around the lawn. Children couldn't resist sitting and playing on them. Soon parents relaxed and sat on the sculptures as well while they discussed their last European vacation.

Two of Terry's friends showed up and we all sat down to have lunch. Over lunch I was told about some Graffiti artists who were working over on 23rd Street. As soon as I finished eating, my mind wandered and I got antsy wanting to get another sketch done. When the conversation turned to fashion, Terry suggested I take off on foot to sketch. I didn't need to be told twice. I hiked past a cement factory and several automotive cut shops. The buildings got dingier until I hit the first patch of bright graffiti color. Suddenly every building was covered with pop images, Henai Anime, and bold tags.

When I came across a group of artists busy tagging a wall, I settled in to sketch. The artist working in the foreground is named "Clever." I could smell the aerosol fumes the whole time I worked. The distant artist used a face mask and Clever wore a purple surgical glove on his spray can hand. People occasionally would stop and take pictures of the artists at work. Paint cans and other supplies were neatly arranged on a large trailer bed. The trailer bed just happened to be parked there offering a nice platform to inspect the work in progress.

When I was done with the sketch, I shared my work with the graffiti artists and then wandered the neighborhood some more. Galleries popped up left and right. The buildings exploded with color and were filled with art. Music blared from boom boxes and then I came across a large store front that was being covered with graffiti. Grazyana Kleinman, an Orlando photographer was there taking photos. I stopped to talk for a while. Grazyana has shot a whole series of photos of graffiti artists at work. She was ecstatic, in her element soaking in the vibrant street scene around her. Terry drove up thanks to several text messages and Art Basel was over. I certainly experienced more this Year than last, but three days just isn't enough time.

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

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