Where are you from?
Originally from Virginia. My mom was in the navy, but my grandfather moved to Hialeah in 1910. So I feel like a South Floridian. I was raised in Palm Beach, but moved around a lot. I officially moved to Miami in ‘96 to Biscayne Blvd and 24th St., when it was still hood. I worked at a bagel joint called Bagels & Bagels that has since been bulldozed. My first real job was at New Times in ‘98 working in the design department when it went from paste-up to electronic, that was fun. Then to Britto as a studio assistant for 2 years until Bernice Steinbaum offered me a job as one of her gallery assistants. That was when I first started learning about contemporary art. The rest is history.
What is your preferred medium and why?
I enjoy thinking about which medium suits which idea. Sometimes you need paint and sometimes music and so on and so on. It depends on the cause. I really enjoy painting but that medium is exhausted, because artists really take advantage of its sensibility by producing enormous amounts of work. Art needs some breathing room, and when it becomes a commodity art suffocates. I prefer a medium that has space to grow and breath. These days I prefer Performance Art. It can really tell a story and seems to play with people’s attention span.
Your “Semitruck” mural was voted Best public Art 2012 - can you tell us more about the mural?
Thanks again New Times! I didn’t even know that was a category! “Changing the way we Breathe “ was created for Wynwood Walls in reaction to the first mural at Dorsch gallery, “Nature is imagination itself”, of a 130ft sideways redwood tree. In the mural for Wynwood Walls, the tree has been cut down and is being driven to a lumberyard. The truck is speeding up the hill releasing smoke and pollution as it bulldozes across the wall, and all the trees are dead. In the corner the smokestack can be seen in the distance, while logs float up hopelessly awaiting their demise. The colors are vibrant yet dark. I tried to create a sense of pain because of a loss and sorrow. We really need to become more aware of what we are doing to this Earth, it’s all we have. I never sought out to make political murals but within its rich history, murals were meant to speak to the masses and I feel that they still should.
How do you feel about the recognition?
Lol. What recognition? I am just waiting for the next production to present itself. I live for these projects.
You do street art and gallery work. How do you manage to be successful in both arenas?
Success is the destination I just keep trying to keep myself busy. Hard work pays off, this is a small enough town that people know who is doing what. I‘ve been very fortunate to get these opportunities, but it’s not over just because you get a chance. I still have to provide the product and that’s what sets artists apart.
What do you want to achieve in your career as an artist?
Some stability to paint and create. I really think traveling is the best inspiration. Painting in other countries has a humbling effect. I am confidant that my work has a voice and with that opportunities will keep presenting themselves. I struggle to keep my voice clear and potent. All that I can do now is teach my son what is important and live as an example on how to follow your dreams and never give up.
What is special about the Miami art scene?
It's all I know! I moved to Overtown and rented a warehouse on 20th in 2001. That may not have been the smartest idea, but it was cheap, $600 for 3,000sq ft. After that I was in the Bass Museum show, curated by friend Robert Chambers. The show was called “Globe Miami Island”, and really had diverse generations of artists. Miami has been friendly to me, I’ve grown with it. Now with the block buster Art Basel, I think artists have lost their power. It seems that Private collector institutions are the ones in charge. With all the money in Miami, local artists are still the last to cash in.
What do you love most about Miami?
I love the Miami Bass, the Cubans, the Haitians, the beach, the tourists, Wet Willies, alligators, the Heat, Dolphins, Marlins, Canes, strip clubs, Everglades, the big fish in a small pond, the corruption, the hate, and especially the hot ass sun. Let’s keep it shining.
Do you have any other news you would like to share with us?
Looking forward to my new website! Keep up the good work Wyatt!
Photos by Robert Dempster