One of the 1,000+ who came to the Bakehouse Friday night for Sketchy Party #2.
There are few local events that vigorously endorse Miami’s reputation as a “melting pot”. True, in a city as diverse as Miami, it would be hard to find ten people of the same background in one room, but, as locals know, the notion that the city’s variegated populace comes together every day — or ever — to sing Kumbaya and share family recipes is more than a little naive.
Still, it does happen. Sweatstock 2011, for example, drew droves of locals to Little Haiti to listen to an array of local bands. The turnout cut across various demographics, including ethnicity and age, as you can see in our photos of the all-day music fest. While the music and the food and the free beer all contributed to the event’s success, the experience of eating, drinking, and getting rowdy with friends and strangers from across Miami’s vast cityscape made it one of my favorite days of this year.
Our Sketchy Party Friday night was another such event. Held at Wynwood’s Bakehouse Art Complex, the party brought together more than 1,000 people from within the Miami mélange for the simplest of reasons: to draw each other. It was the second party we’ve thrown since we launched Sketchy Miami two months ago. In that short time, more than 120 local artists have created 350+ portraits (or “Sketchys”) based on the beautiful faces of fellow Miamians.
As with Sketchy Miami itself, Sketchy Party #2 was a testament to the prodigious creativity and generosity of Miami people. The Bakehouse welcomed us and 1,000 of our closest friends into its home, and many BAC artists sketched guests nonstop for the length of the five-hour party. There were also the non-BAC artists who lined the complex’s bustling corridors and met everyone who sat down across from them with a smile and a sketch pad — or, in one case, a wood-burning kit (see photo below).
Beyond numbers, though, the party showed Miami in all of its diversity, which, cliché or not, is the best part about living here. On this point, I will let the photos below do most of the talking, but let this suffice: One of the non-BAC artists was a 15-year-old girl who came with her parents. Another was a 90-year-old Brazilian man who wanted to get involved with Sketchy Miami but doesn’t know how to use a computer. The vast majority of the crowd fell between 20 and 40 years old, and probably poured into Vagabond or Grand Central after the BAC closed down at midnight.
In Miami, getting that kind of crowd together after dark is a rare thing, and, in my opinion, it’s a beautiful thing. Many people are asking when the next Sketchy Party is. We don’t know that yet, but rest assured there are plenty more to come. Until then, keep sketching.
One of the coolest things about the Bakehouse Art Complex, a former industrial bakery in Wynwood where we are throwing a Sketchy Party Friday night (RSVP on Facebook), is that each of its studios is a self-contained universe. Step into studio 37, for example, and you will encounter walls hung thick with fabric, embroidery-layered photographs, and, on your left, fiber artist Carrie Sieh sitting at her desk behind a decades-old loom. A few doors down, in studio 34, Deborah Mitchell, a mixed-media artist whose work practically smells of the Florida swamps, smiles in front of a wall of pieces layered with newspaper print, plant matter, and dry animal bones. (Both Sieh and Mitchell have original work in the raffle we will be holding Friday night. Learn more about it and pre-order tickets HERE.)
Then there’s studio 43, the workplace of artist Mike Rivamonte. Rivamonte is a sculptor, but there are no dunes of marble dust in his studio. Instead, the small space is crowded with robots constructed of antiques, everything from Zenith radios and trolley-car fare boxes to Word War II binoculars and drive-in speakers from as far back as the ’40s and as far away as Australia.
Painter Olivier Casse is one of several BAC artists contributing original work to the Sketchy Party raffle.
This Friday night, we are throwing our second Sketchy Party at the Bakehouse Art Complex (RSVP on Facebook). The deal is similar to the first go-round back in June: a small army of local artists will be on hand to do your portrait, or, in the parlance of our sister site, sketchymiami.com, your “Sketchy”. Sitting for a Sketchy is as FREE as ripped clothing used to be. Entry to the party is also F-R-E-E. If you want to buy your Sketchy, it’ll cost you $30, with the proceeds split evenly between the artists and Sketchy Miami.
As we mentioned last week, we are going to be raffling off original work and prints by several Bakehouse artists, along with a 132 piece metal box Prismacolor pencil set ($212.40 value) courtesy of Pearl South Miami and a collectible record from Sweat Records. Raffle tickets will be on sale at the party. There is one raffle ticket included in each Sketchy Package, which gets you a boatload of wonderful, including Joey’s pizza, beer, and a set of full-color Sketchy postcards. The packages will be on sale for $10 at the party, or you can purchase one in advance for $8 by clicking the PayPal button at the bottom of this post.
A Belgium-born artist who has been at the Bakehouse since November, Casse paints contemporary subjects in the style of the 19th Century Academy. “Girl with the Yellow ring” (below, left), Casse’s contribution to the Sketchy Party raffle, is an original oil painting on Belgian linen that he made for his thesis. In the work, one of a series featuring subjects wearing sunglasses, Casse seeks his own truth in the way his subject hides hers.
“Through the mask, we reveal ourselves,” Casse says. “The masks are the sunglasses. Because we have the sunglasses on, our guard is down.”
“Girl with The Yellow Ring” and, on the right, a Casse self-portrait
As we announced way back on Monday, we are hosting our second Sketchy Party on Friday, August 12, at the Bakehouse Art Complex in Wynwood (RSVP on Facebook). Entry is FREE as a Dum Dum at the doctor’s office. We will be selling Sketchy Packages for $10, which will get your belly fed with Joey’s pizza, your thirst quenched with Honest Tea and beer à la keg, and put you in the running to win artwork (prints and originals) by several Bakehouse artists in a raffle that night. Earlier this week, we stopped in at the Bakehouse to meet these generous artists and bother them with a camera.
A long-time resident at the Bakehouse, Jean-Paul Mallozzi is a man of mood swings. His series Moodswing features figures whose bodies are rendered in minute detail in graphite and charcoal. Their faces, by contrast, are swirls of acrylic paint scrawled over stains of water color. As its title suggests, the series explores the odd phenomenon of sudden, unprompted shifts in temper. Mallozzi is donating three signed and framed prints from Moodswing — “Sad”, “Glad”, and “Mad” (see photo below) — to the Sketchy Party raffle.
Mallozzi standing in front of “Sad”, “Glad”, and “Mad” from his Moodswing series.
Our first Sketchy Party drew more than 400 people (about 400 more people than we anticipated) to Lester’s, a small cafe on N.W. Second Avenue in Wynwood. The energy was frenetic and the air conditioner tried its damnedest to cool the heat coming off of the artists’ sketch pads and Sam Friend’s guitar strings. (Watch recap video.)
Our second Sketchy Party promises to draw a bigger crowd, and this time we’ve got 3.2 acres to play around with. Also in Wynwood, the Bakehouse Art Complex (BAC) is a compound of 70 artist studios that used to house an industrial bakery in the 1920s (thus, the towering flour silos out back that Bakehouse artists have splattered with paint). These days, it is home to a small army of emerging and mid-career South Florida artists, each with a work studio to pursue the muses wherever they lead.
We originally visited the Bakehouse at the suggestion of Carrie Sieh, a BAC artist who, at Lester’s, sewed flash portraits until her sewing machine overheated. With its industrial architecture, long vanishing corridors, and, of course, its studios — each one a universe unto itself, as unique as the artist whose sweat stains the unstained floor — the Bakehouse had us whispering giddy within three minutes.
So, we are thrilled to invite you to Sketchy Party #2 at the Bakehouse on Friday, August 12. As at the Lester’s party, artists aplenty will be on hand to sketch your portrait throughout the night. The cool thing this time around is that you will be stopping in at different artists’ studios and getting a chance to spend QT with some of Miami’s best.
Entry to the party is FREE FREE FREE. We will be selling the portraits for $30 (cash only), with half of the proceeds going to the artists and the other half to keep Sketchy Miami going strong. Thirty clams ain’t nothing, but it’s not much to get your personal art collection started — with a portrait of yourself, no less! (Keep in mind that you are under no obligation to buy your portrait. As with Sketchy Miami itself, this party is above all about connecting Miami artists with other locals.)
In addition to the portraits, we will be peddling a Sketchy Package for $10, which will get you a boatload of wonderful:
— Joey’s life-affirming pizza (vegetarian available)
— beer à la keg (!) and a bottle of Honest Tea to quench your thirst on a fine summer’s night
— a $2 discount and free glass of wine at O Cinema, which will be hosting a midnight screening after the party
— a collectible set of full-color Sketchy Miami postcards
The package will also include a raffle ticket. Prizes include original works and prints from several Bakehouse artists, free flash portraits, and other good stuff. That means for 10 bucks you might bring home a piece of art worth hundreds of dollars! We are only able to raffle off such amazing prizes because of the generosity of the Bakehouse artists who have embraced Sketchy Miami with so much enthusiasm. They rule.
You can advance purchase the Sketchy Package for a reduced price of $8 by clicking the PayPal button below.
CS: I’m a mixed media artist, knitter, and lover of puns. I have a degree in Library and Information Science as well as in art, so I’m prone to spontaneous organizing of objects and stern shushing of obnoxious children. I came to Miami from San Francisco a few years ago when my husband got a job as an English Literature professor at UM.
Sieh’s Sketchy Miami portrait of Lissette Guido
How would you define your style? Your process?
CS: I’m interested in details and contrasts, in materials, techniques, and concepts. I often incorporate some kind of needlework, but in non-traditional ways. I knit with plastic and wire, embroider photographs and computer discs, sew with cassette tape — that sort of thing. The themes and images I like to work with most have to do with intersections of technology, gender, and nature. Often my process begins with a book I’m reading or a new technique I learn about, and a project will evolve out of that.
Do you have a favorite portrait in the history of art? Why?
CS: Romaine Brooks’ 1923 self-portrait is one of my top favorites. I love that there are more noticeable brushstrokes in the background than in most of the figure, and the subtle intensity in her face.
Not yet titled – Embroidery on silver gelatin print (2011)
What is your favorite feature of the human face? Why?
CS: The mouth. It shows a lot about a person.
In haiku or limerick form, how did you become an artist?
CS: I really tried to write my own, but apparently there’s a good reason I’m an artist instead of a poet. Instead I’m giving you a limerick I like, written by Graham Lester:
Said X (a Cartesian coordinate)
To Y, “Damn this graph! We’re both boredinate.
Would another dimension Help break up the tension?
Or would we be just overawedinate?”