Saturday, December 10, 2016

Wynwood at Art Basel.

Plans to go to Art Basel on Saturday were Shanghaied when I went to a gallery in New Smyrna Beach. I couldn't sketch at this opening, so there isn't much to report. I kept my hands in my pockets except when sipping a Coke or eating pretzels. Occasionally shrimp circulated around the room on a tray. The show consisted of small paintings competitively priced for the holidays.

I made the three-and-a-half hour drive down to Miami on Sunday instead. After parking in the Wynwood District I only had to walk one block before I saw a graffiti artist at work. This NYC artist was named Cortez. I couldn't make out what the letters were in the tag, but now after the fact, I'm thinking it might be his name. I got lost sketching the tag, so don't expect to read it in my sketch. It became an abstraction of bright colors, valves and shapes. The artist's girlfriend videotaped me as I sketched, and I asked the artist to sign my sketch when I was done. Art tourists kept taking photos of the wall in progress. For some people, the only way to experience art is to photograph it.

I explored the Wynwood Walls and several galleries before heading over to the convention center, which is at the heart of Art Basel. Tickets to get in are like $45. I got there at the end of the day so paying for a few hours of browsing seemed like a waste. Instead I went to Ink, which consisted of galleries specializing in limited edition artists prints. Flying Horse Editions from UCF here in Orlando was on site. Each gallery had a quaint motel room surrounding a courtyard with a long central fountain. Since I am searching for a rental apartment, I desperately wanted to convert one of these small units into a studio.

I went to a public park near the convention center where sculptures we scattered in the grass. Long- legged camels walked above a shimmering mirage reflection. Jesus had open avocados on his head, shoulders and forearms. Perhaps he as actually the patron saint of avocados. A black hula hoop was plopped on top of a pile of road tar, and the crowning glory was a pile of six-foot-high brightly colored pebbles that looked like the cheery painted rocks you might find in a fish tank.

I stopped at Maxine's on Collins Avenue for a bite to eat. It isn't as good as the Maxine's in Orlando, but I went in h honor. Afterwards I followed the long line of red taillights that inched towards I-95 to drive north into the night.

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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