Happiness during bumper-to-bumper, rush-hour traffic on I-95? It’s a lofty, unlikely goal, but one that Argentine street artist Sonni gladly took up during Art Basel 2010. Tasked with turning an abandoned warehouse on NW 6th Avenue and NW 23rd Street into a giant mural to be seen from the highway, he created a Crayola-bright boom box, the cassette tape spool bleeding onto the sidewalk in playful curlicues.
At least one commuter’s life was made more joyful: Chris Oh from art collective Primary Flight, who commissioned the piece, says he was “so impressed… he wanted to see [Sonni’s] other stuff, and thought it would be a great look for a gallery.” So beginning with this weekend’s Second Saturday Art Walk, Primary Flight’s 4500-square-foot gallery space in the Atrium Building will be turned into a happy-go-lucky universe filled with space animals, smiling bubble-head characters, and, yes, a gigantic, working boom box.
Sonni, who moved to Miami to work with FriendsWithYou, began his career doing graphic design for corporate clients like Coca Cola, Sony, and Match.com before taking his passion for bright, child-like robo-characters to the streets.
“What you see is what you get with Sonni,” says BooksIIII Bischof, founder of Primary Flight and one of the curators of the show along with Chris Oh and Typoe. “His work is bright, beautiful, and colorful, and everyone can relate to it. It’s like your daily soundtrack.”
The exhibition will include a large-scale recreation of the I-95 boom box mural fitted as a working radio and iPod dock. And if you’re a fan of Kid Robot-type collectibles, you can snag one of 100 limited-edition hand-cut and hand-painted wooden figures that will be released during the opening night reception. Or you can simply peruse the gallery-turned-funhouse filled with sculptures, illustrations, and paintings while enjoying free drinks courtesy of Bacardi and Perrier. “It’s going to be fun and playful, not serious or museum-like,” says Chris Oh.