If you were among the art-walkers adventurous enough to wander off the beaten path on Saturday July 14 (a block and a half West of 2nd Avenue on NW 24th Street), you would have found yourself in for quite a treat as the MAPS Backlot played host to the fifth installment of the OhReally?! Concert Series featuring the art of Miami New Times' Street Artist of the Year Ruben Ubiera and Miami's up and coming R&B singing sensation Stephen A Clark.
That Oh Really?!'s Jason Odio and David Sinopoli know a thing or two about throwing a party should come as no shock to anyone familiar with their resumes. Jason's position with South Beach's The Opium Group and David's tenure as Music Director of the Design District's Bardot certainly qualify them to attract a young, beautiful fun crowd, but what may surprise you is that they've found a way to use their knowledge of Miami's vibrant and established nightlife scene to expose a new generation to Miami's burgeoning art scene.
Miami singer Steven A Clark has made a name for himself performing at various events ranging from the Do-Over to opening for The Roots at the Arsht Center of the Performing Arts. His latest appearance as the special guest performer for the Oh Really Artwalk Concert Series was also the artist’s official listening party for “F.ornication, U.nder, C.onsent, of the K.ing,” his latest release, featuring songs such as “Don’t Have You” and “Lonely Roller.” The well received performance had the crowd gather in front of the stage where Steven belted out his songs in front of a video screen with Miami's skies and palm trees flying past.
Part of the experience was also the main art attraction of the event. Ruben Ubiera, recently crowned Miami's best street artist, is a young artist who is rising quickly. Ubiera, whose art is as much at home in galleries and collectors' homes as on the walls of Wynwood and public spaces around Pembroke Pines, was ready early in the evening to ensure his latest masterpiece would be finished in front of an enthusiastic and enthralled audience.
Ubiera painted a seven foot tall, three dimensional version of his signature image, the gorilla. Against the backdrop of a massive gray wall illuminated by two huge lamps Ubiera painted the wood gorilla in black, complemented by bright colors in reminiscent of graffiti, the post-grafism style for which he is known. The artist's homeland of the Dominican Republic and his chosen home of Florida both contribute heavily to the piece's imagery, as evidenced by the can of Goya beans painted into the Gorilla's left leg and a Florida Highway Patrol street sign, ironically encouraging its viewers to "REPORT GRAFFITTI," on its right leg.
The completed piece was sold via silent auction to a Miami based collector who has other Ubieras in his collection. As the last brush strokes breathed life into Ubiera's gorilla and the final notes of Steven A Clark’s voice drifted off into the cool night sky, the rain, as if on cue, began to fall, sending patrons scattering for shelter, drawing the evening to a close.
Photos by Robert Dempster