It’s that time of the year: Miami Art Basel, when the balmy city becomes home to more than 20 distinct pop-up art festivals during the highly anticipated, high energy first week of December. From sophisticated Art Basel for the cultural connoisseur, to graffiti-clad and urban art of Wynwood, Miami has something for everyone: public art and installations, unparalleled people watching opportunities, and spectacles unable to predict. From installations to parties, nightclubs and pop-ups, Miami Art brings it all.
With all of that, this year we have put together a diverse and exciting team of Cartwheel Art guest contributors, who will be providing coverage, based on their perspective, interests and expertise, through their words and/or photographs.
Meet the Miami team:
Adam Ayala. Adam is a photojournalist and the founder/curator of Project Smile South Central. Project Smile South Central’s mission is to create a bridge of trust & pride between local Business owners, Residents & Students thru visual art murals in the South Central area of Los Angeles. The project aims to help improve community relations between small business, residents and local students. It strives to empower locals to create a relationship with their local businesses and residents, opening up the channels of communication where they will begin to greatly uplift community’s thru art in their own neighborhoods using murals to communication and build unity.
Walls are donated by concerned business owners and residents. All art materials and time are donated b the artists. Donations of materials are always welcome. Artist that have participated in Project Smile South Central include Phobikgod, Septerhed, Zla_la, Leba, Murdock1, Thrashbird13 Muckrock, Annie Preece, and Moncho
Follow Adam on Instagram.
Michelle Berc: Michelle is the executive program director, curator, and event producer of Create : Fixate, and founder of Sonic Being. Michelle Berc’s unlimited creative endeavors include making art, shooting photography, curating art shows, producing electronic music, and creating the graphic design for her organizations. Michelle also works with private art collectors, interior designers, and real estate agents through her boutique art consulting agency “Art Angeles.” Beyond art show curation, she has termed herself as an ‘Art Stylist,’ specializing in finding the perfect artistic energy to accent the decor of any interior. Her most recent passion has been exploring the world of sound healing and has recently earned a certification in the field. Her background working in the music video and commercial industry has lead to an amazing journey through the arts in all its forms. By assisting innovative new artists, Michelle’s goal is to encourage the general public to look upon Create:Fixate as a venue to discover emerging talent and be inspired by these artists and their work.
Kasey Billitz: Kasey is the founder of Miami Art Seen and leads tours through Wynwood Art Walk. Kasey and Cindy Schwarzstein, founder of Cartwheel Art Tours have become partners for a tour being planned next year in Miami. (More to come on Kasey).
Jay Kantor: Jay is an emerging photographer/filmmaker born and raised in Southampton, Massachusetts and is now based in Los Angeles, California. After earning his Bachelor of Science degree in Film and Photography from Ithaca College, he emerged from the Art Center College of Design with a Master of Fine Arts degree in Graduate Film. Jay’s films have screened nationally at The Los Angeles New Wave International Film Festival, Evil City Film Festival, and Los Angeles Independent Artist Film Festival.
Jay is probably best known for his street art photography under the moniker Kung Fu Breakfast, covering murals and graffiti all across The United States. Jay has worked closely with artists such as Angelina Christina, David Flores, Kevin Ledo, Jules Muck, Fanakapan, and Dourone
His passion for art and collaboration, eye for image making, and rhythm for editing has put him on the forefront of today’s working artists. More from his website here.
Jessie Oh: Jessie was born in Chicago, escaped to Los Angeles and woke up in New York. And the journey is just beginning. She is a work in progress, an explorer, a culture curator, mood director, poet and performance artist. She thinks of intimacy as a tool and gift exchange between the watcher and watched, the audience and performer. She has collaborated to help produce, delight and titillate the senses behind high profile nightlife spectacles most recently for Antibellum in LA and Queen of the Night in NYC with creatives from all over the world. Her passion and discovery grows from the freedom and power to voice through art, movement and sound. Jessie loves to connect with colorful characters, dance to music that makes you feel alive, and hack into our consciousness.
Jason Ostro: Jason is an artist, curator and owner of The Gabba Gallery is the father of #AlleyProject in Los Angeles. Born on the East Coast and raised outside Detroit by an artist mother and psychologist father, with a major in communications and minor in theater from Michigan State University, Ostro set out for California. After a brief stint in San Francisco, he headed to Los Angeles where his journey through the arts took hold. First in the music industry working with Bud Carr, EMI, Edward Shearmur and others, all the while booking commercials as an actor, a throwback to his theater roots. Opportunities combining fashion presented themselves and Ostro found himself styling wardrobe in music videos for Death Row and Hoo Banging Records, eventually opening his own business.
Always an artist and avid art collector, with a love for the newly burgeoning contemporary street art culture, he cashed in on his stunning collection and set his sights on the long quiet dream of opening an art gallery. Doors opened at The Gabba Gallery in 2013 as Ostro threw himself into the Los Angeles art scene and the natural transformation of the galleries neighborhood began. Within two years, the area, just north west of downtown Los Angeles California has been transformed into The Gabba Arts District, via his signature style artwork and stellar reputation with artists and collectors alike, the basis of his brainchild, #AlleyProject.
Robert “Sticky” Shaw. Sticky is a Los Angeles based artist. Born in sunny Newport Beach, California, he struggled with learning disabilities growing up. In high school he turned to art as an escape from the traditional school structure he found challenging. He thrived on the creative freedom that art finally allowed him, and now it has become the most defining piece of his identity. His art, in conjunction with his other passions, music and snowboarding, has led him to collaborations with brands in the skate, surf and snow industry as well as in the music industry. Travel is a big part of his artistic inspiration, be it between music festivals or ski resorts. He’s always on some fantastic adventure to who-knows-where hanging out with the most interesting people, collecting new ideas along the way. He most recent adventure has brought him to Berlin, where he is making art and exploring the most eclectic city in the world.
Follow Sticky on instagram.
He documents the Los Angeles art scene through film and photography like no one in history, in such a short amount of time. Within a short three years he has produced nearly 600 films on the art world, and has achieved air superiority of all greater Los Angeles galleries. More here on EMS website.
Michael Torquato deNicola. Mike is a Los Angeles based artist who grew up making sense of the world through surfing and art. Born and raised in Orange County, California, he has never lived far from the ocean. Mike started surfing at age 12 and was on the US team by age 19. As the first pro surfer from the US team to graduate from college, he learned to negotiate between his atheletic pursuits, and the business of surd, working with some of the industries top brands from Quicksilver, Hot Tuna, O’Neil and BC Surfboards to collaborating with his sponsor Spyder to design a line of wetsuits.
Mike has always designer the work on his boards, but it was only when he started traveling and competing internationally that his work developed into the style it is today. Painting his own borads and developing his kinetic style of story telling through Indonesia, Samoa, The Galapagos, Iceland, Europe, Australia, Panama and Canads, Mike’s boards tell the story of his relationship with the ocean from around the globe.
If Mike’s surf style can be called fluid his large and colorful mixed media pieces resonate the same fluidity in a layered collage of rhythms, patterns and forms. His art can be seen on his painted surfboards, installation pieces, and film. Some of his ventures have come from working with Marie Claire, The Olson Company and creating and producing Red Bull’s ‘5X’ series, seen on Fox, NBC and Fuel TV which feature a new format of competitive surfing. Mike is currently producing his first feature length documentary ‘The Westsiders’. His work has been seen in Maxim, Surfer Magazine, Surf Europe, Waves, Marie Claire and Sports Illustrated. More here on Michael’s website.