November 19, 2010 | 2:30pm
In honor of our People Issue, which will hit newsstands and computer screens November 25, Cultist proudly presents "100 Creatives," where we feature Miami's cultural superheroes in random order. Have suggestions for future profiles? Email email@example.com with the whos and whys.
Artist Kevin Arrow
was born in the same town as Lenny Bruce, which may explain his unique sense of humor. Raised in New York, where he hid from the scary gargoyles perched on his grandparents' building, Kevin moved to Florida with his family in the 1970s. As a kid he was obsessed with WWII, the Rolling Stones, and Evil Knievel. "My visual art impulses arose once I realized that I could not drive a Panzer Tank, conquer Europe, play guitar or jump over things on a motorcycle."
He now makes his home with his "small family in a small house on a small island on Miami Beach" where he gardens, makes mosaics, and dances "ecstatically whenever the opportunity arises."
His formal schooling came from MDC, FIU, and the Art Institute of Philadelphia. But when searching for knowledge regarding his many interests, such as "photography, painting, anthropology, art history, radical politics, graphic arts, film making, advertising, propaganda arts, comparative religion, Vajrayana Buddhism, esoteric studies, free jazz, rock, punk, [and] anything on the Folkways record label and Himalayan culture," he is mostly self-taught.
This Renaissance man combines his eclectic knowledge with humor and an analytical eye to produce such works as "Google Consciousness" and "I Love My Mamma Check In." His work, consisting of drawings, paintings, projections, slide shows, and projected moving images, nudges you to arrive at your own conclusions, not his.
2007's Untitled (Dynamic Love) ink on paper, 11 x 17 inches.
Courtesy Kevin Arrow
1. List five things that inspire you.
-Regular thrift store excursions in North Miami. I enjoy finding out-of-print books, LPs, old 35mm slides, abandoned answering machine cassettes, and sweater vests.
-My family. My children and wife are a constant source of inspiration. In addition to...
-My hammock and...
-My ridiculous collections of books and LPs.
I think this is more than five, oops.
2. What was your last big project?
Being included in the Miami Art Museum's exhibition "New Work Miami 2010"
could be considered a big project. I also recently assisted renowned Vajrayana Thangka painter Lama Pema Tenzin, a Tibetan monk from the Kingdom of Bhutan, in creating a painted Vajrasattva (Peace) Mandala for Florida International University's Religious Studies Department, coinciding with His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet's recent visit to South Florida.
3. What's your next big project?
I am working on completing a project for Miami Beach Art in Public Places. I was selected in 2004 to create a work which will commemorate the arrival of the Beatles to Miami Beach in 1964. I am making (with the assistance of a small village in India) a 200 square foot glass tile mosaic which will be installed at the Bandshell Park on Collins. It has been a very long and drawn out process, but it will be rewarding once it is complete.
I am also going to be showing work around town during the week of Art Basel. One group exhibition, [is] "Five New Reasons To Live"
at the White Vinyl Space [Gallery]. I'll be showing works based on my collections of 35mm slides accompanied by chopped & screwed krautrock.
4. Why do you do what you do?
I was blessed with a vast store of energy, a speedy metabolism, a quick wit, strong creative tendencies and a desire to assist others in their creative endeavors. I work at the Museum of Contemporary Art in North Miami. I take care of the museum's art collection and I assist visiting artists realize their projects. It is one of the best art related jobs I can imagine. I've enjoyed being involved "behind the scenes" in numerous exhibitions for over a decade.
5. What's something you want Miami to know about you?
I performed on stage with Yoko Ono when she visited Miami in 2003
What's something you don't want Miami to know about you?
I cannot dance Salsa, but I really want to.
(For the record, Kevin would like to dispel rumors that he is friends with a certain fellow by the name of Clifton Childree, also on the list of New Times 100 Creatives. "Let me set the record straight. Clifton Childree and I are not, and have never been friends. For example, if you lend him a lawnmower he will throw it into a canal. He is a dog thief and philanderer. I saw him scratch my car and throw eggs at my house and he left me a flaming turd bomb on Halloween. I wish he were my friend, but I believe he may have a restraining order against me.)