In honor of our MasterMind genius awards, Cultist proudly presents "100 Creatives," where we feature Miami's cultural superheroes in random order. Have suggestions for future profiles? Email firstname.lastname@example.org with the whos and whys.
Born and raised in Hialeah (agua, fango y factoría
), Juan Navarro is basically a fan boy. Except this fan boy doesn't collect other people's art, he creates it. Navarro grew up "fueled by a steady diet of comic books and Heavy Metal
" and took turns attending and getting expelled from several magnet schools. When he tired of that, he graduated from PAVAC (Performing and Visual Arts center) at Miami Northwestern Senior High. He remembers this time of his life fondly, "Nothing was more awesome than Miami with a free metropass at 15, during the early 1990s. It was insane." After all that knocking around, he decided he might as well earn a BFA too.
Navarro juggles writing, creating comic books, and drawing and painting. He is the creator and artist of Zombie Years
, a web comic series and a founding member of graphicsmash.com for which he creates Vigil
, a superhero comic book based in the 305. You'd think that might keep him busy enough, but no. He's also helped put together Steampunk Magazine
, co-directs the CS Gallery
, is editor-in-chief of Creature Entertainment, and is the art director for the Oliva Cigar Company. When he's not burning the midnight oil, he shares a home in Miami Springs with his "crafty girlfriend," Karyna Amador
, is "always swinging from one vine to the next" and drinks "a lot of coffee. A lot."
1. List five things that inspire you.
-The streets at night
-Smell of Gesso and coffee grounds
2. What was your last big project?
Finished co-directing with Julio Alvarez and Anthony Dones "Thanks Grandpa" a horror short based on my webcomic Zombie Years,
working off a whole weekend from 4 a.m. till 11 p.m. with the rest of the Creature Crew, and also helping assemble [the] "This is Cosplay" art show at the CS Gallery with DTC for Art Basel, and finish putting together the national campaign of Studio Tobac for Oliva CIgar.
Oh, wait you said one? Crap.
3. What's your next big project?
Working on a collected edition of Zombie Years and hitting all the conventions coming up in 2011. Also CS Gallery is going into studio mode, so I will be working on more large paper sculptures and exploring new techniques I've [been] experimenting with. My biggest goal is to form community, to have people huddle together and create. I've seen huge successes when people do this, and help create work, in film or comics work, and I'm trying for that in others things. Miami has a wealth of talent that needs to wiggle its ass, and I hope to be a banner for them to come to.
4. Why do you do what you do?
I can't help it, I love to create. I'm horrible to my work after I'm done; I give it away, store it badly, paint over it. I just want to be in it, making it, more than anything else. It's only in the last couple of years I started to apply myself into a more professional field and having fun showing it and making it with others people.
5. What's something you want Miami to know about you?
That I love it so much, warts and all. It seems like she'll just get meaner afterward, so better to play cool and see if she'll play that way.
What is something you don't want Miami to know about you?
I think I would say the same thing, that I love Miami. Sometimes it seems to not want to pay off to be into this city, and then you find some amazingly great shit happening somewhere and it redeems itself, and then you're in love again with it. Miami be playing you like that.
The Creatives so far:
65. Serge Toussaint
66. David Rohn
Tarell Alvin McCraney
Allen Charles Klein
Nektar de Stagni