Culture & Art

Muralist Mashup

It’s an artform inextricably linked with democratic values, the plazas of South American cultural construct and a whole-hearted embrace of color and light. So it’s only natural it would find a home in this, the most magical of cities. Meet a curated bunch of ace artists unafraid to tackle the challenges, joys and intrigues of the modern Miami mural — no matter what their medium of choice.
Text by Ryan Jarrell. Photos courtesy of Respecitve Artists | April 19, 2018 | Culture & Art

Daniel “Krave” Fila

“My philosophy has become anti-establishment because of the injustice I see in my industry — I’d much rather be hungry in the jungle, than fed in the zoo!”

An unabashed product of our own complicated cultural landscape, Daniel “Krave” Fila — Painter, Urban Sculptor, Muralist & Animator — has one throughline inflecting every iota of creative content he incepts: Improving and invigorating Miami’s appreciation for the arts. A Magic City native raised in West Perrine, where other artists felt an overwhelming urge to migrate to more notable metropolises, Krave intuitively knew a truth few would believe at that tender time in our pre-Art Basel history: That the city he loved and lived in would one day be a serious contender in the wider creative world.
Although versed in a notable number of media, Krave finds that, in his heart of hearts, the rawkus nature and frenetic pace of graffiti will always be at the root of his styling, and whether it’s illustrating iconic stretches of our own Wynwood Walls or commissioning for such industrial titans as the Ritz-Carlton Palm Beach, MTV or Greyhound, Krave attempts to bring the same break-neck pace and rakish spirit to each and every one of his creations.
Skeptical of the hoity-toity art crowd that he believes drains ground-breaking creations of their primal spirit, Krave is proud to stand apart. “I’m a product of Miami, and being able to live as an artist here has been great,” he says. “I’m supported by people, businesses and collectors, not at all by the art establishment.”;

Magda Love

“Art is supposed to be an invitation to feel, to embrace being human, to experience emotion, to take you to another world, to imagine another world, to connect you with yourself, your surroundings and others.”

What’s in a name? For some, it’s a simple placeholder, a method by which to differentiate the individual from the multitude. For others, it’s a beacon of heritage and living history, an assumption of inherited place amongst hurried times. For Magdalena Marcenaro, a.k.a. Magda Love, Miami-based muralist of international renown, her moniker takes a more central place in expressing her being. Love is named primarily for her vocation and purpose: To infuse as much as possible around her with the compassionate care she believes her artworks elicit.
A native of Argentina raised by a school teacher mother and sculptor father, Love was brought up in a traditional, if forward-thinking, atmosphere, and it’s for precisely this amalgamation of old-world values and breathtaking innovation that brought her to Miami. “I’ve lived in South Florida for a year and a half now,” says the artist. “I’m really attracted to the quality of life and the family-oriented lifestyle down here.”
A talented painter and muralist whose works have been seen everywhere from quaint Miami wallsides to New York’s magisterial Fort Tilden National Park, Love finds that the relatively nascent state of Miami’s art scene provides ample room for growth and discovery. “This city provides such a refreshing opportunity for artists to pave new roads,” she says. “I can’t wait to figure out what’s next!”; MagdaLove.NYC.

Marcus Blake

“The richness in the local culture, the need to bring neglected areas of the city back to life and the desire to inspire others is what drives my work.”

In the unabashedly “Me First” epoch we seem situated in, discussions of art are ceaselessly limited to the subject of the individual. What, out of the artist’s myriad unique experiences and contexts, was he or she saying? Rather than solely the lone wail of an individual, one need only glance at Renaissance frescoes, the cave paintings of Lascaux, or the graffiti-bedecked train cars of 1980’s New York to recognize that art has the capacity to be an entirely communal venture, a democratic expression of the life and livelihood of its surrounds. Such is surely the category of the murals, paintings and other works of Jamaican-born, Miami-raised Multimediaist Marcus Blake, whose chaotic, kinetic abstractions manage to evoke Miami in its most elemental, even most primeval mode.
An incessant creator whose production spans every conceivable genre and classification — whether it’s poetry, fashion, event coordinating or the prodigious panoplic murals for which he has won such acclaim — every one of Blake’s works brims with the high- intensity verve of our city. “What’s satisfying about creating a mural is the thought of passersby, whether it’s people walking, riding their bike, driving in their car or hopping on a bus getting a splash of vibrant color into their brain,” he says. “I believe art has the ability to change moods, and what better way to help do this than by making it a part of the everyday?!”; @ MDotBlake.

Nice ‘N Easy

“We always want to feel good showing up at the studio, we want you to feel good when you’re looking at the wall — we’ve found that creating feel-good vibes always works best.”

It’s a tired archetype of the artistic mode: The tortured artist, the romantic raconteur crushed daily by the weight and wield of his or her own lofty genius. It’s an image that Miami-based collaborative duo Nice ‘N Easy have seen time and time again in their tenure as local arts stalwarts, and one that can’t help but leave them thoroughly unimpressed. One bite of a freshly pressed tostada, one glance at the riversides of our bustling financial district, a walk among our many scenic beaches — we live in paradise. Composed of romantically linked artists and South Florida natives Allison Matherly & Jeffrey Noble, Nice ‘N Easy’s mission is simple: To gladden our city’s creative hotspots with good-time vibes. “We’re all about the path of least resistance,” says Noble, a Melbourne native who first met Matherly while working at the Institute of Contemporary Art. “As artists, we try not to hold the opinion that we’re supposed to struggle or be in some sort of fight.” With this meticulously mellow mode in mind, Nice ‘N Easy has carved for itself an even-tempered aesthetic replete with the palm trees, poolsides and sunsets that have made our city a coveted destination for generations. “We recognize that some stuff is cheesy, but we can embrace it,” says Matherly, a lifelong Miami resident. “We embrace the façade that is Miami, and love it while pushing it a little bit more. And if people think that’s all that it is, that’s fine too. It’s all about having a good time!”;

Yuhmi Collective

“Painting outdoors, though temporary in nature, our work explores, lives and submerges with communities; while working indoors provides moments where people can connect more with us and other artists.”

It’s one of the most enduring hallmarks of our ancient religious traditions. In celebration, in dread, in ecstasy and pleading, the spiritual leaders of a more antiquated age were forever taming the wilds the only way they knew how — by enshrining segments of their environ, carving sacred visages into areas as yet unbroken by human habitation. It’s a tradition that’s endured in a hundred myriad forms; in our more organized religious tradition’s ornate shrines, in the advertising that dots our streets and alleyways, in our parks and public works projects. But perhaps nowhere is this base urge to humanize our wild surrounds performed as poignantly as the massive edifice-spanning anime-influenced portraiture of Yuhmi Collective, the professional nom de plume of multimediaists Michelle & Victor Vazquez.
A husband & wife duo that has been captivating the South Florida public for 2 decades with their bold explorations of the intersections of fantasy and reality, paradise and paradox, more than a sacralization, the works of the Yuhmi Collective seem outstretched, pleading, an invitation to step beyond the seeming futility of our workaday world. “The mural scene is intended to reach a broad audience,” they say. “Art bridges communities together, allowing opportunities for people to connect in different ways…and for the characters we create to live amongst us!”;