Without even realizing it, you've likely admired Taylor Kienholz's creations - that is, if you've been in any Miami Urban Outfitters store in the past year. (And we're guessing about 80% of you have. That store is a necessary evil.) After Kienholz did store displays in New York and Los Angeles, Urban Outfitters recently moved him and his creative carpentry and design skills to jazz up their Miami stores.
But the California native's work has seeped outside retail spaces and into our beloved bar, Kill Your Idol. There, you'll find his first solo show, "Amor Y Muerte," which he describes as his "rendition of love and death, how they coincide with each other." He spray painted faux-Mexican blankets onto the bar's walls as a backdrop for his grinning skulls and painted skateboards.
Kienholz says he's been fascinated with Mexican folk art and graffiti after growing up in a community rife with Mexican gangs. "I wanted
to be them -- wanted to be gangsta. But I ended up finding
skateboarding, and didn't go that violent, weird, destructive path that a
lot of my friends went down. I got into skateboarding, graffiti, and
expressing myself in a positive way."
He's been in Miami less than a year, but he's already added his own
touch to Miami's graffiti mecca - those desolate blocks in the 20 and
30s with murals visible from I-95.
"Over off of 95, there's these abandoned houses. I painted little birds
-- kind of like my signature. I did the front of Urban Outfitters [on Collins Avenue] with them." He adds, "I hate just seeing a tag. I like when people paint somewhere
hard to get at or they add to something already existing and make it
"I wrote 'Ride a Bike,' because everybody
drives here, and I hate driving. I came from NY. People drive like crazies
out here. I get in a bad mood after driving."
So how does one get to be a display designer for a store like Urban
"I'm self-taught. I realized at an early age that [art school] was just a
way to take my money." Looks like you'll have to figure out that career path for yourself. "Amor y Muerte" will close on August 5, but you'll be seeing more from
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Kienholz, who tells us he's been dreaming of life-sized marionettes.
See "Amor y Muerte" at Kill Your Idol (222 Española Way, Miami Beach). The bar opens at 7 p.m. and there's no cover. Call