Art on the Street: David Kahmann on Lincoln Road

Many of Miami's creatives are transient, showing up on our shores and disappearing as quickly as the tides. The Art on the Street series will document this overlooked and ever-changing element of South Beach culture.

Art on the Street: David Kahmann on Lincoln Road

"Now I say-ay-ay-ay! I serve the most high, Alpha and Omega he is, beginning and end. The Lord's love is so very sufficient, for you, for me, and for all of man." David Kahmann sings this improvised hymn while his fingers nimbly skate over, under, and through long strips of palm fronds. He's making a rose, one of the most common creations South Beach palm artists weave, but with the added element of a lowing gospel song to accompany the process.

Kahmann has an eager smile and a kind but weathered look.

His life story includes heavyweight superbike racing, living among the

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Tongan

people of the Samoan islands, and walking for four and a half months to

make

the trek from Santa Cruz, California to Key West, Florida. He says he

took up

the journey when the aftermath of a house fire in his Californian

hometown proved too much for him to bear. "Everywhere I turned reminded

me of my

losses," he said. "Then I fell in love with South Beach. The weather,

the water,

Lincoln Road, especially. Such a wonderful community for artists."

He gestures toward the evenly spaced woven objects on his display

blanket. "This is palm art, and I work with the coconut tree. This is

my income, and my expression of myself," he says. "And more than just

creating art to sell

it, I'm here to share the love of Jesus with people. All my crosses, the

star

of David, even the crescent moon and star that I make for Muslims, the

bibles that

I give away, these are all free items. I do not charge. Anybody and

everybody

is welcome to the sacred items."


Watch him make a "secular" item --- a fish on a pole --- in the video below, which was filmed and edited by Aiden Dillard.


Kahmann's stare is unwavering as he continues. "My grandfather was a Pentecostal minister, and I have adored

Jesus my entire life. The art is a wonderful icebreaker, not only for sharing

my love of the Lord, but for doing my songs, my poetry, and my storytelling as

well."

He said his art is inspired and even guided by his faith. "I tried making a scorpion and the dragonfly for four to

five years. And then I thought to myself, 'What am I thinking? Ask the

creator!' And I did. That very night, literally, I had a dream that I was

making the scorpion and the dragonfly. I ran out of my house at 4 o'clock in

the morning, climbed a coconut tree in my underwear, sat on top of the tree and

made the scorpion."

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