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Meet Miami’s finest master, a true Contemporary genius, whose experiential and interactive works are subsequently hanging on the walls and gracing the collections of some of the world’s most influential art collectors.

At fifteen years old, Michael Andrew Gran was not the typical Miami boy. He had major aspirations and dreams. Most kids of that age look forward to a crazy party life, mixed with a great college education followed by a future of a 9 to 5. However, Michael, who is known as TYPOE among the vast international community of fashion designers, artists and collectors, well, he was a gentleman whom had his very own vision.

In becoming the hugely successful artist that he is today, TYPOE’s approach to conquering the contemporary art market was not that of the average master of this generation. He believed in teaching himself through self-education, sharing “I really wanted to learn the world. I did not believe in going to school and paying someone to show me the way people did it. So, I dove face first into my personal and extensive collection of art books,” and the rest is history.

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Meet TYPOE, the critically acclaimed thirty-three year old, with a story to be desired, and a man with dreams that have not only become his reality, but surpassed all of his, and our, expectations.

TFB: TYPOE, tell me about how this all began. Where did you study and learn the tools to become the artist that you are today?

Typoe: I didn’t go to college I felt like if I went to college, I would be doing a safety job. I was always infatuated with the old masters’ ways of doing things. I had a fascination with a Belgian artist named Jan Van Eyck from the 1390’s. I had also decided that I really wanted to learn the world through experiencing it. I did not believe in going to school and paying someone to show me the way people did it. I went and bought the old books, and I have an art library. A local artist Tao Rey taught me early on not to reinvent the wheel nor recreate the same sort of works as everyone else.

TFB: So, has creating art been your only job in life? When you were young was it all that you wanted to do?

Typoe: No, it is actually funny. Growing up in Miami, I worked in various jobs, like in construction. I also worked at Don Pan, and even at Parrot Jungle for one day, but I quit. I sold furniture for two years at West Elm. I also volunteered with DFYIT, a drug-free youth program in town, and mentored middle school kids on how to paint murals. I explained how important it is to be an artist without getting fucked up. 

TFB: How beautiful that you give back to the local community! Tell us about your sobriety.

Typoe: I have been Sober for thirteen years. To me, helping kids, helps me with my sobriety. When I got sober at the age of twenty, that was when I got serious with my work. I realized I had purpose, and the meaning of life had become so different

TFB: And have you always lived in Miami?

Typoe: Miami was a different world. I nearly moved to New York City, but I ended up staying because I love Miami SO much.

TFB: So considering you are a local of the Magic City, what galleries here represent your work, and speaking of your work, aside from art, tell us about the TYPOE collaborations.

Typoe: I am a free agent, so I have no representation. It has been so amazing, I have been commissioned by private clients to art dealers from different cities, so I am just working on constantly creating.

Regarding my collaborative projects in fashion, they were all unique and I loved every single project. I love what I did with Del Toro, where I designed a dress shoe with him in 2014 and that led me to a few projects that are in the works. Getting into fashion and having brands interested, is what keeps me going. Oh, and fresh off the press, I think you must know that I have a sneaker coming out in the near future with Haitian designer Fabrice Tardieu.

TFB: TYPOE, over the past years, you have been doing many projects with the hottest family in the hospitality world, the Alan and Ximena Faena. You first worked together in Miami than in Argentina and most recently at the Faena Art Center during Art Basel. Tell us ALL about it!

Typoe: The first project I did with the Faena’s, was at their property called Casa Claridge on Miami Beach. I took the opportunity to recreate the stuffy elevator experience by outfitting the entire space in iron, so it was magnetic and so, I covered it with magnets. I believe in engagement and playful experiences. As people played, they would leave messages, and future people who would enter, would see it.

After the elevator project, they asked me if I wanted to do a solo show in Buenos Aires. I was like ‘why are you even asking me, you know its yes?!’ (he hysterically laughs). When I saw the space I knew what would go in there.

TFB: OH WOW! A solo show. Superb! How long did the project take to execute?

Typoe: The whole project took five months, and I fully understand what the term ‘it takes a village,’ means.

It was a really awesome experience. I had met the right people, and everything fell into place. The platform they gave me made me feel majorly accomplished. I finally got to execute my work on a scale that I had dreamt of, and until you can actually create your works on a massive scale that they afforded me, you just never understand it.

My show in Argentina had a huge purpose, which was to respond to the world. Currently, it is off. A big problem is how we learn and retain info. As children, we learn, a lot of information. Some are right, and some are wrong, hence my building blocks. The whole point is learning how to play with space, interact with others, create and live. Many people get lost early on and take too much or don’t work together. Not to be an asshole, but people can be fucked up, and it is the parents’ responsibility. Like, if your parents are racist, you may be too, and especially in the times we are living in today, it is SO important for us to educate. I created an adventure for adults, so people can go on a journey of self-discovery and reflect and respond to their world. How do they choose to build it?

My exhibit also consisted of Ravens and tombstones, hourglasses, to reference life, time and death, referring to ‘what the fuck am I doing with my life.’ It was the first time that I have gotten any sort of political view out. My work had been more personal. It is my voice and what I have to offer.

TFB: So, back to Miami, tell me about your Art Basel project.

Typoe: The Faena’s asked me to design a functional space at the Faena Bazaar. I had never created a space that was catered around eight brands, and so that was a whole new experience. It was all around fascinating because, by nature, I am a collaborator. This is why I like working with brands, teams, people, other than myself.

TFB: So what is happening now?

Typoe: I am here in my studio is in little Haiti and I just renovated my new house, so I am in the nesting phase with my rescue pup Emma, who is the best assistant ever!

I am currently working on a few new things, including a new series and some commissions. I am also just creating works, in the form of sculpture, light boxes, text, and it is all exploratory, not for a show but for myself.

TFB: And last but not least, explain a bit about your role in Primary Projects.

Typoe: Primary Projects, a gallery owned by a group including Cristina Gonzalez, Books Bischof, and myself. I am a partner, and work mostly with the artists and on shows, but we all work on it together. Our paths cross between creative, business and vision. Right now we are working with Kelly Breez, a female artist who is local and her show opens this month. She has a show at Locust Projects, that is also opening at the same time as ours. It is across the street and we will all work together as a community.

LINK | on TOYS FOR BOYS

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Words by Becky Randel

Miami native Typoe made a name for himself tagging walls with graffiti. Now he’s going global, eyeing the future, and designing a furniture line.

Typoe at the opening reception— presented by the Miami Design District boutique APT 606 and Spinello Projects— for an exhibition of his works.

In 2006, three budding artists took it upon themselves to establish an outdoor gallery in the then-isolated warehouse district known as Wynwood. They negotiated with landlords, begged fellow artists to contribute, and battled the city to make it happen. Typoe Gran was one of the three. He, Books Bischof, and Cristina Gonzalez called themselves Primary Flight. “We hustled day and night to get each and every wall—it was a full-time job,” says the artist now known simply as Typoe. “We had no idea that it was going to be a catalyst for gentrification.”

As Wynwood developed into the city’s first outdoor museum of street art, Typoe’s name became synonymous with the movement. But the multidisciplinary artist never considered graffiti his medium. “For me, it was more like a sport,” he says. In reality, he had been creating fine art since he was a child growing up in Coral Gables. Unfortunately, Typoe had some other adolescent interests as well: drugs, alcohol, and getting into trouble. At 15, his parents sent him to the progressive Hyde School in Maine, which “pretty much saved my life,” he says. He finally checked himself into rehab at 20 years old and has never looked back. “Going sober was my defining moment, when I said, ‘Goals—I’m going for it.’”

He focused on sculpture, learning as he went. “I would just use things around me. Then I would put it together and make sense of it.” By 2010, the newly christened Miami Arts District was the country’s hippest neighborhood, the same year that Typoe sold a piece at Art Basel Miami Beach titled Confetti Death. It was another life-changing moment. Since then, the artist has had exhibitions in Mexico, Cuba, and Argentina (at the Faena in Buenos Aires). He has designed a line of shoes for Del Toro, toured with Skrillex as his art director, created an installation inside the Faena Bazaar, and designed a collection of jackets. And today Typoe’s career is coming full circle as he returns to the outdoors.

The artist’s first solo exhibition in Latin America, “Forms from Life,” presented his latest body of work at the Faena Arts Center in Buenos Aires.

“Right now a big focus of mine is public art,” he says. “I want people to be able to drive by my work, or go to a park and see it.” Behind the scenes, he and his partners have retooled Primary Flight as Primary, an art collective and gallery, which he views as a way of giving back to the city that made him. “Miami has been going through this renaissance, and we’ve been doing our best to push it in every way we can.” Also ever-changing is the art world and the growing role played by social media.

“A lot of my sales happen just because of that,” says Typoe of his carefully curated Instagram feed. “There’s nothing wrong with doing what you love and making money from it… It’s artwork—there’s art and there’s work. But I stay true to who I am. I’m not going to sell out and start making things that don’t make sense.” Next up? A furniture company, debuting in Little Haiti, where he now lives. Expect it to reflect who Typoe is as a person and extend his work as an artist. “I always ask myself this question: If I die next week, if I die tomorrow, am I happy with what I’m leaving in the world and my contribution?”

LINK | on OCEAN DRIVE

kellybreez - FAKE NEWS

Words by Dyllan Furness

For Kelly Breez, if there’s one good thing to come out of the nightmare that is the Trump administration, it’s that she’s fucking fired up again.

“Everything was pretty hunky-dory while Obama was still around,” she says. “I wasn’t thinking about politics so much. I was like a sleeping giant.”

Then Trump evolved from a political contender to the Republican nominee and, suddenly, president. Breez — a Miami-based artist whose illustrations detail the seedy side of life found in corner stores, dive bars, and the Oval Office — couldn’t keep quiet. “I became this walking time bomb,” she says. “I’d hold it all in, and then someone would say one thing and I’d lose my shit in public.”

Breez had been here before — nine years ago, when Barack Obama was making his first bid for the White House. Back then, as a student at Miami’s New World School of the Arts, she campaigned so hard she lost her voice for months. One day she printed Obama’s face with a bunch of political text onto a stack of newsprint and posted the flyers around the school at night after everyone left.

“It was my little campaign,” she says. “I was just so fired up, and I was trying to get other people fired up too. If you’re in a position in which you can put something on a wall and people will look at it, you better be saying what you want to say and not wasting any time about it.”

After Obama won, Breez left South Florida for San Francisco on a cross-country road trip with her roommates in search of an art scene that resonated more with her illustrative style.

Eight years later, she’s back in Miami, and her platform has graduated from the New School hallways to two of the city’s most prestigious art galleries — Locust and Primary Projects. Her tandem solo shows — “Fake News” and “Fuck It Will Set You Free” — will open this Saturday, March 4.

Though a lot has happened in eight years, a lot has stayed the same.

In “Fuck It Will Set Your Free,” Breez exhibits the influence of her past decade, with a mix of her art-school technicality and illustrative detail she acquired in San Francisco. The show’s title harks back to the carefree mantra she and her friends chanted on their journey out West. Road-trip imagery — such as the black-and-yellow color scheme of two-lane highways — is present throughout her work. “It’s kind of like a homecoming,” she says. “Some of the show brings in a lot of the aesthetics that I picked up in California. ‘Fuck It’ kind of led me through a series of decisions that brought me back to Miami.”

What ultimately brought her back was a mix of restlessness and an offer from her dad to help restore an old sailboat. “I was literally on a plane two days after he asked me,” she says. “It saved my life. I was so excited.” After working odd jobs to survive in San Francisco, Breez found herself outdoors again, working with wood and complicated marine epoxy, both of which she’s incorporated into her pieces in the exhibition.

Whereas “Fuck It” celebrates a carefree attitude bordering on escapism, “Fake News” has a serious, almost somber mood.

“Fake News” is a kind of political rebirth for Breez, a show through which she reignites the will that pasted Obama’s face across campus. But things are different this time. The hope that Obama promised is gone. Trump is in office.

Adopting the layout of a newspaper and the often-bastardized buzz-phrase “fake news,” Breez explores the content and effect of what she calls the “culture of lies” being normalized by the current administration.

Using headlines such as “The Truth Is Finally Irrelevant” and “Everything Is Immediately Way Worse Than We Thought,” Breez confronts the phenomenon with humor and bubbling discontent. But it wasn’t easy.

“I love those works,” she says, “but I’m glad I’m done with them, because they were driving me to the brink of insanity.”President Trump lies — a lot. He lies so much that his administration devised the term “alternative facts.” And it’s often difficult to discern the truth amid the noise. “It all sends you into this state of insanity,” Breez says. “It’s so hard to get a grip on reality, and I don’t think it’s a mistake. It’s a tactic on this administration’s side.” And Breez is sure she isn’t alone, a sentiment she shares in one of her most insightful — and disturbing — headlines in the show: “Entire Country Feeling Pretty Gaslighted at the Moment.”

“Fuck It Will Set You Free”
Saturday, March 4, through April 8 at Primary Projects, 15 NE 39th St., Miami; primaryprojectspace.com.

“Fake News”
Saturday, March 4, through April 15 at Locust Projects, 3852 N. Miami Ave., Miami; locustprojects.org.

LINK | on NEW TIMES

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Third Hand Mary | March 18 – April 15, 2017

We construct reality through the stories we tell and the stories we are told. Third Hand Mary operates around a growing realization in the contemporary world that what is entered into a historical ledger, and by extension public consciousness, is often dictated by many unreliable narrators. Focusing on the storytelling power of symbol and imagery, the artists in this exhibition alter available content, repurposing both the foreign and familiar – a piece of jewelry, mollusk shells, obscure icons – to create new lines of information through replication and revision.

The exhibition takes its name from the Triherousa, or three-handed Madonna, an art historical subject central to the recent work of artist Marysia Gacek. The prevailing folklore behind this bizarre, multi-limbed Christian icon states that St. John of Damascus, after losing his hand to an accusation of treason, paid a desperate visit to the painted Virgin, praying for her to regrow his severed limb. His request was granted, and in a show of thanks, the healed St. John placed a ceramic hand before the idol. Over time, unwitting iconographers began to mistakenly incorporate the false hand into reproductions of the picture, eventually resulting in a triple armed Virgin Mary.

Gacek isolates this case of unintentional revisionism, re-creating her own variations on the Triherousa. The artist’s holy bodies, however, lack heads and legs, consisting only of excess ceramic hands joined by flat, deflated skins of neoprene. They are mutated cyborgs of history, which, like the stories they represent, are handed over and over until they no longer bear resemblance to their original form. The new works she presents here further evolve this concept – departing from the figure and instead wrapping the pedestals on which they are shown in the neoprene skin, on top of which sit ceramic gloves instead of hands.

Autumn Casey’s post-production practice draws from a collection of objects and images, mass produced and singular. For Third Hand Mary she pairs her old clothing with figurines, heirlooms and items of cultural detritus to create “fashion displays” that play on the fantasies of feminine glamour perpetuated by commercial media and the fashion industry. These works redefine the use-value of soft goods and question the psychological narratives created by their advertising.

In the work of both Christine Navin and Antonia Kuo, process plays a lead role. Navin’s -wall reliefs hold the imprints of fossils, toiletries, junk food and plant life. She composes her objects, linking them formally – a shrimp with a Cheeto, for example – into a mold made from an expanding material which grows each item to a little beyond life-size, then creates casts from the molds. The results are uncanny reproductions that confuse our natural sense of proportion and scale, and settle in a place just outside of the real.

Antonia Kuo’s printed abstractions are created through repeated chemical and physical interventions. The works in this exhibition flow between drawing, photography and printmaking – the products of layers of transformation and replication. For Kuo, each substrate is a vehicle of removal from the original content, toward a dissolution of representational truth.

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Primary is pleased to announce that Magnus Sodamin will begin his month long residency this March / 2017 at AIRIE (Artists in Residence in Everglades, Inc.)

South Florida is home to the only subtropical wilderness area in the country, and AIRIE is the only program bringing artists to the Everglades. AIRIE’s purpose is to inform, connect, and support artists, writers and musicians who wish to be ambassadors for the Everglades by providing month-long residencies in the Park.

AIRIE was born in 2001 when the $8 billion Everglades restoration bill had been passed by the U. S. Congress. Painter and former arts administrator Donna Marxer thought it would be a good idea for artists and writers to become a part of this new interest in one of the most compelling and environmentally endangered parts of our nation.

With the full cooperation of Everglades National Park, she started a program by which qualified professionals in arts and letters could reside in the Park for a month and create unimpeded in the wilderness setting.

Support Some & Learn More about AIRIE here.

 

Magnus Sodamin

Magnus Sodamin (b. 1987, Manhattan) uses an expanded painting practice that is at once hallucinatory and precise, employing a variety of techniques to blur the frontier between abstraction and landscape painting. His singular installations often begin with painting the walls and floors of an exhibition space with vibrant splashes of color, and then installing the space with similarly emotive, yet complementary canvas or panel compositions. The result is entirely immersive. Sodamin attended the New World School of the Arts (BFA, 2012) as well as the Nansen Academy in Lillehammer, Norway. He has exhibited in Norway and the United States, showing work at the 2012 BFA Exhibition held at the Cisneros-Fontanals art foundation (CIFO), the 2010 Lotus House Women’s Shelter Fundraiser at the Margulies Collection, a two consecutive solo exhibits at PRIMARY in 2014 / 2015. He has been in residence at the Deering Estate (2014), the Museums Quartier Residency, Vienna (2015), and Summit AIR, Eden, UTAH . Sodamin lives and works in Miami, where he is represented by PRIMARY..

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AUTUMN CASEY will have three new works in the form of beach towels available at the PRIMITIVE LANGUAGES table in the Zine section of the LA ART BOOK FAIR. The works are pulled from her latest body of work “Balancing Infinity, While Hanging Upside Down. Watching Lovers Fall from Grace Underneath the Ground.” Each piece comes complete with your very own box of Star Crunch. Delicious in every way.

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