Monday, March 5, 2012 at 4:05 p.m.
Miami New Times' Mastermind Awards honors the city's most inspiring creatives. As we approach Artopia, our annual arts soiree where we'll announce the three Mastermind winners March 8, we're profiling each of our nine 2012 finalists. For tickets and more information about Artopia, visit the website.
The mention of his name sparks confusion in everyone who's unfamiliar with Miami's favorite fringe artist. Ahol, a.k.a. Alouishous San Gomma, is probably best known as the Hialeah born-and-bred street genius guy whose ubiquitous graffiti slathers those bulbous-yet-droopy cartoon eyeballs everywhere from the one-time home of Bar in Wynwood, to the side of a wall facing I-95 near I-195.
But this cat's a hell of a lot more interesting than his favorite tag implies. He's a video artist, a muralist, an illustrator, and a full-time paper pusher. It might be fair to say the man's whole life is a sort of working class artwork in progress; he drones away at meaningless 9 to 5 gigs and draws on this drudgery for inspiration in his work. The result is a brand of ironic creation that appeals to the every man and breaks down the blue collar experience into a universally touching - though perhaps not unanimously understood - language.
One of Ahol's newest works
He recently celebrated the inauguration of "Ahol Full-Time" at Mercenary Square in Little Havana, his second full-scale show in two years, where he unveiled some of his newest works. Among them was an art video he co-created with Borscht alumnus Julian Yuri Rodriguez, mind-bending illustrations, 3-D sculptural work, and a marker drawing of loosely drawn, colorful geometric blocks. Turns out this last piece was inspired by a task he was called upon to do while working (behind the scenes) at a porn company. He meticulously organized the videos in a task that took several days. When he was done, the tapes were burned. The piece this defeating event inspired seems to project the blunted frustration of the working man who knows he's just shuffling papers.
"Miami is my home," the artist says. "I live it and I live off of it. I am a product of this town. It is only natural that my life's encounters fuel my creativity. This town has the strength to shut anyone down and I've learned to take its positivity and negativity to use it as the grounds for my creative hustle."
The exhibit showcases the fruits of two years of creative output, says Ahol. "I'm glad to finally get it off my chest. [Art critic and gallery director] Carlos Suarez de Jesus has been a strong force in supporting my creativity and I am thankful he allowed me to baptize his new space. [Opening] night was made possible by the great friends I have acquired throughout my life. I really love Little Havana so much more and I am glad to have unloaded this work in the spot that I did."
The artist says he's still riding high on the positive reception from opening night of his show. What's next for him is more of the same - carving out those late-night hours for his artistic howlings at the moon.
"I hope the future has more free time and less cubicle time," the artist confesses, "but to be honest, whatever happens happens. The the ball will forever stay rolling, and I will be on the other side pushing it."