On most Friday nights, The Garret at Grand Central in Miami's Parkwest neighborhood belongs to Peachfuzz, a party organized by nightlife promoter Raul Sanchez, DJ DZA (Adrian Douzmanian) and graphic designer/curator Pres Rodriguez. Last Friday, however, was a special occasion. Peachfuzz shared the room with Beck's Beer, where its team of publicists and promoters handed out free T-shirts, posters, bottle cap openers and, of course, Beck's Beer in celebration of its limited-edition labels featuring the work of six artists from six separate geographic locations.
The star of the show was Alvaro Ilizarbe, also known as Freegums, an abstract artist inspired by the concept of wormholes who serves as Miami's representative in the beer label campaign. In fact, it was Freegums who insisted that the Beck's Beer party piggyback off of Peachfuzz.
There was also a second, unofficial reason for the party: wishing Ilizarbe bon voyage. Born in Peru and raised in Kendall, the 31-year-old artist will be moving to Los Angeles next month. He won't be alone. Moving with him are several other artists and creative-types from Miami including artist Jen Stark, Friends With You founders Samuel Borkson and Arturo Sandoval III, and FWY project coordinator Eva Seta. At least two-thirds of the Peachfuzz team, Rodriguez and Sanchez, have also set their sights on L.A., though they have no definite plans.
But just because Freegums is moving to another coast doesn't mean he'll
stop being a Miamian. "I love Miami. I will always represent Miami and
it is a part of me," Freegums said, adding that his family still lives
here and he will visit often.
He also insists his move isn't due to lack of support from Miami collectors, a problem several artists noted in a recent New Times story. Yet he feels that he has "reached a plateau"
in Miami as an artist. Freegums also admits that his move to L.A. is
inspired by a desire to leave his job at a local advertising agency in
order to focus on his art. But he doesn't see Miami as a cultural void
inhabited by frivolous residents who could care less about its artists.
Hell, Freegums says Miami and its people helped develop his creative
soul. "It made me who I am," he says.
Freegums' says his change
of location has to do with an opportunity to be exposed to the culture
of a larger, older city. The fact that his artistic friends are moving
with him (Stark, Borkson and Seta will be moving into the same house in
Bert Rodriguez, who also designed a beer label for Beck's) are added
bonuses. Freegums also notes that his work has already been featured in
gallery shows in L.A. "I kind of have been staking it out," he says.
Freegums says he's not sure how long he will stay in L.A. But even while residing
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in the City of Angels, his heart will be somewhere else. "Miami will
always be home," he says, "and I will be back."