Art Basel 2015 Sketch Book: 8 Artists to Watch

Miami.com's Art Basel 2015 Sketch Book - Illustration by Ana Larrauri

As a cadre of the world’s best artists and art aficionados converge in Miami, it’s easy to gloss over the local talent pool. To combat this marginalization, we honed in on the consequential careers of eight local artists, who embody the city’s distinct language of creativity. We asked them to create a unique sketch for our first Miami.com Art Basel Sketch Book.


Agustina Woodgate

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In her own words:
My practice explores temporality, spatial politics and the radical imagination.

Why she’s hot: Agustina Woodgate is an award-winning artist whose public work spans the globe.

From East Berlin to Denver, her projects generally emerge outside exhibition halls (Hopscotch, Radioee.net). When showing inside, she converts surplus materials and outmoded objects into new roles (New Landscapes, Ballroom, Kulturepark).

Where to find her now:
Woodgate is included in Spinello Projects’ 10th anniversary exhibition titled, “Full Moon,” at the gallery’s new location (7221 NW 2nd Ave., Miami). 

Future happenings:
Solo exhibition at Barro Galeria in Buenos Aires, March 2016. Radioee.net, an online bilingual nomadic event radio broadcast will go live from Istanbul, Tel Aviv and Ecuador, Summer 2016.

Asif Farooq

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In his own words: My body of work is, and will be, a group of associated ideas constructed over the next ten years. This includes a working particle accelerator and launching a satellite into Low Earth Orbit (LEO).

Why he’s hot: Farooq is taking a childhood pastime to the next level with the creation of a functional paper airplane. In this case, it’s a full-scale replica— 102 percent-to-scale, to be exact— of the Soviet-made MiG-21 fighter jet. As the son of a civil engineer, Farooq juggled his artistic inclinations with a knack for technical skills in the territories of welding, electronics and the theoretical frameworks behind working machinery.

Where to find him now: Farooq’s studio is included in the official Art Basel Artist Studio Visits (open to ABMB VIP cardholders).

Future happenings:
The reveal of his 4,000-pound paper plane is slated for 2016.

Bianca Pratorius

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In her own words: I’m a multimedia artist who explores ideas through sculpture with felt as well as collage and printmaking.

Why she’s hot: Pratorius’ use of hand-cut felt is spontaneous and mysterious. She doesn’t set the forms before installation, and this technique allows for the material’s “inherent sensuality” to express itself in the sculpture. Her pieces argue against permanence, as they can never be repeated once removed from the wall or space.

Where to find her now:
Pratorius’ work is on display with Miami’s Independent Thinkers at Scope Art Fair, Miami Beach; with Cancio Contemporary at Aqua Art Fair, Miami Beach; and in “100+ Degrees in the Shade: A Survey of South Florida Art” at Laundromat Art Space, 5900 NE 2nd Ave., Miami.

Future happenings:
Solo show at &Gallery in Miami, Feb. 2016.

Brandon “Wizz Dumb” Deener

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In his own words: I create in the genre of photo and hyperrealism, a style dedicated to giving the viewer a closer look.


Why he’s hot:
This rising star artist also happens to be a successful music producer, whose work is closely linked to Timbaland and Missy Elliott. He started teaching himself to paint a few years ago with a focus on making random and saccharine objects seem grander through sharp lines and vibrant colors. While deeply influenced by Jeff Koons, Wizz Dumb’s style of pop art is sweeter and less irreverent — for now. 

Where to find him now: Search Instagram for @wizz_dumb_art.

Future happenings: Wizz Dumb’s work will be on view at The Taplin Gallery at Miami Country Day School in Miami Shores, Feb. – April 2016.

Daniel Fila

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In his own words: I’d rather be hungry in the jungle than fed up in the zoo. My work is dimensional, layered, painterly and shows a cohesive yet multifaceted range.

Why he’s hot: Fila parlayed his top-notch education from Design and Architecture Senior High (DASH) in the Design District and Columbus College of Art and Design into a dynamic career as an artist. He’s considered an OG of the Miami street art scene, under the moniker “Krave” (Erin, Sunbather, The Fresh Monkey), yet his animations, urban sculptures and figurative to abstract paintings on wood are also quite popular amongst collectors and corporations.

Where to find him now: Fila will paint live Saturday, Dec. 5 during an intimate event with Locos por Juana at El Fresco, his project space/gallery in Little Havana (535 SW 12th Ave., Miami). 8 p.m. Tickets are $24. RSVP to www.estamosjuntos.splashthat.com.

Future happenings: Fila will start his national mural campaign in the coming months in North Carolina and Oregon.


Jillian Mayer

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In her own words: My work explores how technology and the Internet affects our identities, lives and experiences.

Why she’s hot: Mayer’s oeuvre is highly in tune with the digital age.

Through videos, online experiences, photography, telephone numbers, performance, sculpture and installation, her work investigates the tension between physical and digital statements of identity. This summer, Mayer’s work graced the cover of Ocean Drive magazine; the featured piece was auctioned off to support Locust Projects, the Design District exhibition space that launched her career.

Where to find her now:
Mayer’s work is on view in “Spirit Your Mind,” a group exhibition presented by Chalet Society and Locust Projects at Free Spirits Sports Cafe, 100 21st St., Miami Beach.

Future happenings: Solo shows in 2016 at LAX ART in Los Angeles and David Castillo Gallery in Miami. A TV pilot created with Lucas Leyva, co-founder of the Borscht Film Festival, is in the works for Time-Warner.

Jim Drain

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In his own words: “I like my sugar with coffee and cream.” – Beastie Boys

Why he’s hot: In 2013, Vanity Fair selected Drain to participate in the Greatest Living Artists Survey, a poll in which the magazine asked 14 key artists— including Ed Ruscha, Richard Serra and Jeff Koons— to list their favorite contemporaries. Drain’s number one was Jasper Johns. His mesmerizing abstract textile sculptures typically evoke the innocence of youth held up by masterful construction. (And, he knits!) The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) also holds a few of his paper pieces in its permanent collection.

Where to find him now:
The Standard Spa, Miami Beach and The Posters celebrate the hotel’s 10-year anniversary with a specially commissioned poster by Drain. The poster, with his signature low-res look, is $55 at The Shop inside the hotel (a portion of the proceeds will benefit Miami Children’s Museum). New York’s Printed Matter independent bookstore and gallery is showing Drain’s work in a shared booth with Art Metropole from Toronto at Art Basel in the Miami Beach Convention Center (Entrance Hall B, booth T3).

Future happenings: Drain’s Pleated Gnomon Sundial at Key Biscayne’s Village Green will be completed by the end of the month.

Michael Vasquez

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In his own words: A painterly language of strong, broken color and aggressive mark-making that connects to and illustrates the attitude and energy of the subject.

Why he’s hot: Vasquez introduces the viewer to the neighborhood street gang from the perspective of a young boy looking for a role model in the absence of a father figure. The gang becomes the worldview and his paintings, collages and installations illuminate the subjects’ frenzied search for identity, community and masculinity in the most unexpected places (read: the walls of a museum or gallery).

Where to find him now:
Vasquez’s work is included in the “No Commissions” Art Fair presented by Swizz Beats at The Dean Collection, 35 NE 29th St., Miami and in “100+ Degrees in the Shade: A Survey of South Florida Art” at the venue in the Design District (3900 N. Miami Ave., Miami).

Future happenings: The Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery’s exhibition “Portraiture Now: Staging the Self” is on view at the National Hispanic Cultural Center in Albuquerque, New Mexico through March 27, 2016. In collaboration with the Aesthetics and Values class at Florida International University, Vasquez will exhibit at The Patricia & Phillip Frost Museum of Art next spring.

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