Live from The Basement
By: Hana Abdulla IG: @Weirdnesss Last Thursday I was invited to an eclectic showcase presented by the Young Artist Initiative (YAI) held at The Basement (IG:@BasementMiami) at the Edition Hotel (IG: @EditionHotels) on South Beach. The event had over 10 artists ranging from painters to photographers and deejays. The YAI is a collective of young artists from a variety of mediums that come together once a month to create an event that brings a variety of talents together to stimulate your senses. Every event will be held in different location featuring new talents the exhibit their passions. I heard of the Edition Hotel and how dope the spot was but being in Miami I always take the hype with a grain of salt. When I showed up to the venue I was told to walk to the main entrance of the hotel in order to obviously come to their basement. The hotel reminded me of some Gatsby-styled timeless elegance and my curiosity was peaking as we proceeded down stairs to The Basement. When I made it to the lobby I was feeling a little out of place, I was wearing my 305 Mag tee, jeans, heels and the biggest earrings possible. Once downstairs some beautifully exotic looking women in black greeted us. They handed us markers to sign the welcome poster. I thought that was such an awesome idea. The YAI was having artistic platforms collide. What a great way to unify us all by having everyone sign the same poster as though we all came as equals? Also, a huge plus for the event was that it was free. When I walked in I realized how powerful this event was going to be. All colors and ages were welcomed and represented well. At the entrance of the venue was the 24-year-old golden goddess Beca Castel (). I had never seen an artist talk, paint, and photograph so gracefully at once. Beca is from Miami and has become well known for being enamored with gold. Her signature Golden Ducks have been seen in previous Art Basel events. For this one she couldn’t have been any truer to herself than by rocking an ultra sleek and sexy gold body suit. “I purposely wore a gold body suit to match my art work so people would identify me with my art,” said Beca. While having a conversation with her, I couldn’t help but notice her sincerity and her presence to me. She had a very kind energy and was willing to speak with whomever came by. As I browsed her work I kept thinking of the softness in which she spoke but was taken back by the fierceness of her art.
I couldn’t understand how she managed to give her undivided attention to anyone who approached her. “People were shocked at how receptive I was to their questions. Artists have a reputation for being standoffish and I love to talk to the observers as much as possible. I like to know what my work does for them. I have also learned that events like this are about listening. We aren’t here to just talk but to actual listen!” said Beca.
I met with co-founder and director of public relations for the Young Artist Initiative, George William Anthony Read (@kbirrr). He was kind enough to give me tour of the venue and I definitely was not ready. One of the things that made it interesting was that to my surprise there was a mini bowling alley not far from the bar. There were couches and tables where anyone could pop-bottles, dance and bowl in one spot. While talking about the event Mr. Read said “It is amazing and humbling to see so many people care and support Miami’s growing creative community” soon after I was introduced to George Dufournier (Founder of the YAI) which joined in the conversation and said “We have made it our mission to empower Miami’s collective of young artists and contribute a unique substance to the landscape of culture and art.”
As the tour continued Mr. Read took me into another section of the venue that was home to another great idea, an ice-skating rink. As we entered the rink I noticed a large box-type contraption with balloons coming out of it on the ice. The colorful lights were blinking without pattern and a young man sat observing us. It was Gabriel “GG” Gimenez, (@GGartwork)he was the artist responsible for the box on the ice that had the characters from UP! GG has participated in showcases and galleries in LA, NY, Berlin and Dubai. For this event he wanted to see how the audience would interact with something in their way per se. “The entire night was fun, the ice skating rink is a place where a lot of fun happens but there was one particular moment where everyone joined a ‘train chain’ and started skating together around the piece which was cool.” Said GG
While scoping out other artists and I came across Renda Writer (@RendaWriter). I was familiar with his work from previous events in Wynwood but I never got to interact with him. His work is filled with affirmations, motivation and life butt-kicks in the right direction. He does his work in his own handwriting and there is a lot of repetition almost as if to instill the message being given off with the first sentence. His pieces can be seen as modern day mantras for those of us ready to get passed our mental and emotional roadblocks. Writer was standing up against a large white piece of material with the “positive energy,” written over and over. I watched some girls ask him to move out of the way of their “selfie” and I was severely amused by their treatment towards the artist. Once I introduced myself I made a comment about the girls and he laughed it off and I realized how fresh his vibe was. He seemed to just be in tune with the fact that the girls got the positive energy, which meant his purpose was filled.
I asked him if there was a particular moment that had a large impact on him and he said. “I think the moment that had the most impact on me was the moment right before I started. Standing there, looking at this big white piece of vinyl hanging on the wall… seeing possibility… seeing potential… seeing ideas. That moment had the impact that created the whole night for me. That was the moment I decided to write “Positive Energy.” That was what I wanted to give the hundreds of people walking by.”
I explored The Basement some more and discovered the nightclub section, mini arcade and pool table. Normally, I would think this was all excessive but not for Miami. With a venue so packed with entertainment, I feel like the showcase was just as satisfying. There was literally something for everyone at this event. I hope to see more from this group of visionaries because I feel like they can build some much needed bridges when it comes to Miami’s art scene, I guess only time will tell. Until then, let’s keep supporting our local artists who produce in all forms.
305 Magazine will keep you updated on all future Young Artist Initiative events. All local artist are encouraged to participate and can contact firstname.lastname@example.org or via Instagram @YoungArtistInitiative to get started.