By Carlos Suarez De Jesus
By Ric Delgado
By John Thomason
By Benjy Caplan
By Artburst Miami
Bleeding Palm often collaborates with other artists. In addition to its work with Borscht, the collective has also collaborated with Coral Morphologic, and Rivera is currently busy with creative projects for Gloria and Emilio Estefan.
"It's a very supportive community," Rivera says. "I've always heard that art communities are very closed off and walled off, and I don't ever get that feeling when I'm hanging out with other artists in Miami. I feel like everyone is trying to invite everyone into things."
With Bleeding Palm working on various music and animation projects, what are the chances of a Bosh sequel? "It's only gonna happen if he's gonna be in it," Rivera laughs.
Hey, in the multiverse, anything is possible.
By the time he was 15, Michael Gran was surrounded by death and destruction, running with gangs and committing robberies to feed a growing crack habit. Finally, his parents took drastic action and sent him up North to boarding school.
"I probably would have ended up dead or in prison like a lot of my friends [otherwise]," says Gran, better known as Typoe, the graffiti handle he adopted before branching out to become one of Miami-Dade's most talented multidisciplinary artists.
Typoe's work is never far from the chaos of his youth. Though he was raised in a stable family — his father, Bernard, is a doctor, and his mom, Jacki, an artist — he was always rebellious. By the time he finished middle school, he was already tagging his moniker around Coral Gables and Kendall.
"I became that kid, the one other parents didn't want their children hanging around," says Typoe, who is now 29.
After one too many brushes with the law, his parents shipped him to the Hyde School in Bath, Maine. The school helped, he says, but when he returned to Miami in 2003, he quickly relapsed into a crack-and-heroin binge.
"After four days of nonstop abuse, I was coughing up blood and felt like I was dying. That's when I decided to check myself into detox," he says.
That decision was a turning point. Typoe has been sober ever since, and his career has exploded from Wynwood walls to fine-art galleries.
He first made a name as a member of international graffiti crew TCP, but he always had an eye on pushing boundaries. So he worked his way into Anthony Spinello's gallery by doing odd jobs: painting walls, sweeping floors, hanging art.
Spinello quickly saw Typoe had more to offer than grunt labor. His sculptures featuring human skeletons and mutlicolored explosions earned him a spot in the gallery. In 2010, one of those pieces, Confetti Death, depicting a skull vomiting rainbow bits of shattered spray-paint caps, went viral online after starring at Scope Art Fair.
He hasn't looked back. Primary Projects, which he cofounded, remains one of the Design District's edgiest spaces. Typoe was recently featured in Skull Style: Skulls in Contemporary Art and Design, a book that places his pieces alongside those by Damien Hirst and Alexander McQueen.
Now he has come full circle with his latest project: a series of white drawings about Miami's hedonistic side. "I'm using cocaine to make the drawings," Typoe says. "You can say I've switched my addictions from drugs and chaos to making art."
Miami is all about the boobs, the booty, and the bass, and Jesse Perez is repping that trio. The DJ, producer, and founder of the label Mr. Nice Guy Records has a distinctive, sexually charged '90s-style-bass sound that's cut right out of the fabric of the MIA with booty-shaking, urban tracks such as "Hialeah House Party" and "Miami's My Town."
Make no mistake: The Cutler Bay resident is all about the grinding, dry-humping hotness of a Miami dance floor. But his music education began the old-fashioned way. Perez's piano-teacher mom raised him amid music, giving him Casio keyboards for Christmas.
Still, Perez jokes she was a dancer for 2 Live Crew, so he was around ass clappin' from the get-go. "I like the whole party thing. I'm from a hip-hop background, like walking into a club early on, hearing R&B, grinding up on a chick," the 29-year-old says. "I don't try to impress the old-school techno bloggers that are nitpicking everything. I wanted to create a label that focuses on the actual party, not the glamor."
Perez befriended local DJs in high school and then took to mixing cassettes, which garnered him some attention on the Miami music scene. He worked the DJ circuit before starting Mr. Nice Guy Records in 2010.
"Like most DJs, I was just frustrated no one was signing my records," Perez says. "That's when I decided to go my own route."
These days, Mr. Nice Guy releases tracks from Miami musicians Hectik Rivero, Sex Sells, and Mika Materazzi. The label has also repped Sishi Rosch, Den Ishu, and H2 and will soon issue a release from Amine Edge & Dance.
And of course there's Perez's own work, which has a bass-heavy, bump-and-grind South Florida sound that's nothing but unique — even if he has inspired imitators, which he says is a compliment.
"Guys have made tracks that sound just like mine and they've gotten awards," he says. "In a way it kind of sucks, but it's what I have to do to make it." And performing helps; the funds from his current UK tour drive the efforts of Mr. Nice Guy.