Tell us why did Primary Projects come to life? First, it was Primary Flight, the World’s largest street level mural installation and now the gallery, Primary Projects, a multidisciplinary, multifaceted, experimental project space.
Books IIII: Well, we are all artists and we worked in galleries previously so it kind of made sense to us to move to a larger space so we could continue to express artistically. I think it was more of a need to create a different type of gallery for Miami ; We had no fear in the streets. We basically treated the Wynwood & Design Districts as our giant outdoor gallery for the last four years so we wanted to provide for our city with something alternative that would dramatically change the entire environment of our space every month.
I’m curious about your name? Is it IIII, IV, the number 4?
Yes, [laughs] Books IIII, originally the four lines.When I used to do art in the streets I used to do it as a symbol, the four lines and a box; and it was to honor my OCD, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder somehow back then my life was driven around like the number 4, 8, 16…it’s a long story but yeah those four lines mean the number 4. I went through lots of different names until I found this one and since then, it has stayed with me. Typoe and Chris Oh, have other stories.
You know, we are two different types of people. I grew up with many friends who were graffiti -street artists here in Miami. Over time, when I got deeper into the culture, I realized that Typoe and Chris Oh, they both had like an itch, like an addiction, addiction to going out and painting. If they didn’t go out they were not right. I was never like that; I didn’t care if I went out or if I didn’t paint in a year, it wasn’t in me like it was in them but I still had a love for it and I was inspired by it. I saw that it made sense for me to make the whole street art into a business.
We started Primary Flights because we wanted to paint in the streets. We were like 5, or 6 of us which were not the breadwinners of our galleries so we needed an outlet to express ourselves so we went out painting.
Tell us about “Lucid.” It has received super cool reviews Tell me how did you guys come up to put together Lena Schmidt, a German artist from Hamburg and Evan Roberts, a Brooklyn-based artist, originally from Miami, in a carefully curated exhibition that blends so well?
Evan Robarts is a long friend of ours through graffiti. He used to live here. On the other hand, Lena Schmidt, we met her here and we hit it off. She is currently a resident at theFountainhead Residency of which Dan and Kathryn Mikesel, the founders, are great supporters of us. Originally, it was going to be Lena herself in a solo show but then when Evan sent over his portfolio for us to see what we could show at the gallery, we thought they were perfect for each other: the found objects, the old and distressed feeling, it just made sense to show them together.
I agree indeed. I’m always curious how the curatorial process takes place. Sometimes it is referred to technique and composition; sometimes is about research or a particular theme but sometimes is just like the perfect match, love at first sight type of thing.
Well, yeah, in this case, is about love at first sight. It’s about the fluidity of the exhibition. It’s about creating an environment and creating an experience as well. We’ve always have changed the environments in the communities we’ve worked so when we have the opportunity to do it in our space, our main goal is to create a fluidity. You are walking from different directions and you are enjoying a different experience from every angle. You have no idea how many times we moved these pieces through the process until they were right. It’s a very painstakingly long task until we are happy; We won’t stop until we know that is perfect.
Why the Design District and not Wynwood?
The Design District wanted us here. They received us with open arms. We really appreciate that because that’s the way we work with all the artists we are bringing to town; that’s the way we work with property owners, building owners. We needed to have the same return, and that’s exactly why we got here. How did you get artists from all over the world?
It’s really a natural thing. We invite some people, others come because they have other projects here to do so I guess it’s very organic how we choose and curate the exhibits; we get hundreds of emails from artists everywhere asking for walls but this is not really how we work. We kind it leave it up to the culture to choose it.
How is that done?
This is the friend of a friend, a friend of a sponsor, etc., the whole business is based on that. You don’t work here unless you are family. We surround ourselves with the most positive people and those who are not, sorry they are out immediately. We want only positive constructive people.