In honor of our Artopia party on February 10, Cultist proudly presents "100 Creatives," where we feature Miami's cultural superheroes in random order. Have suggestions for future profiles? Email firstname.lastname@example.org with the whos and whys.
19. Jose Mertz
Art is not about college degrees. More often than not, it is about reproducing one's life experiences on canvas, or film, or in drawings, or sculpture. So when Miami raised Jose Mertz graduated from the Maryland Institute College of Art in 2002 rather than start his career as a fledgling artist like many of his contemporaries, he decided to start his real life education. He moved in with a spiritual leader in New York City and studied Zen for about five years.
During that time he also traveled the world, visiting places like the
Far East and Hawaii. He met other spiritual leaders and sages that would
eventually inspire his work and change his life. Not surprisingly, his
art reflects that journey. "My work these days is mainly about the
human condition and the fluidity of life," he says. It is also rife with
interpretations of Native American stories, medicine men, Buddhist
teachings, and ancient beliefs.
Today, Mertz's work - whether drawings, installations, or paintings - is
a testament to how he perceives the world and its functionality. And
his vision of things has obviously struck a chord with many. His fashion
designs have been featured on artists like EPMD, Busta Rhymes, T Pain,
and others, while his graphic design artistry has been sought out by
such heavyweight companies as Adidas, Paul Masson, Duck Down Records,
and Last Rights and Touchstone Pictures.
His journey -- spiritually, professionally, and personally -- is still just getting started.
1. List five things that inspire you.
- My son Bodhi and his mother Lena
- My family and real friends
- Unknown mysteries - ( extraterrestrials, crop circles, and where the
hell my matching sock ends up when I'm looking for it...etc )
2. What was your last big project?
I did a mural for Adidas / Primary Flight and Shoe Gallery in downtown
Miami. It was the first time I actually did a freestyle mural. No
sketching. I just got loose on the wall and fed off the vibes in the
environment and people roaming around. It was good times. I was also
featured in Juxtapoz Magazine in last December's issue.
3. What's your next big project?
I have a solo show coming up at the end of the year that I have
preparing & working on for the past year. It has been a long time
coming but I think it's gonna make a colorful splash.
I am also working on an illustration for a publication based out of the UK. More info coming soon.
4. Why do you do what you do?
Why does a dog wag its tail? I feel at this point it's just part of my
daily life. Like brushing my teeth. I can't go a day without doing that,
so it's the same idea. It's not an extra thing on my schedule. It's
always something I did and will continue to do. Even if I am making a
doodle on a napkin. I like to make pictures.
5. What's something you want Miami to know about you?
I want Miami to know. I love this city and its tropical flow.
What's something you don't want Miami to know about you?
I don't want it to know... that thing I told you the other day. ( wink wink )
The Creatives so far:
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20. Emma Trelles
21. Pablo Cano
22. Natasha Tsakos
24. Aurora Natrix
25. Gean Moreno
26. Yaddyra Peralta
27. Barron Sherer
28. Brigid Baker
29. Daniel Fila
30. McLaine Oberhellmann
31. Fro Rojas
32. Annie Hollingsworth
33. Preston Allen
34. Cristina Molina
35. David Josef Tamargo
36. Jillian Mayer
37. Alfonso Vega
38. Natasha Lopez de Victoria
40. Heather Maloney
41. Jorge Rubiera
42. Elaine Lancaster
43. Nick Duckart
44. Danielle Estefan
45. John Dufresne
46. Monica Lopez de Victoria
47. Bill Bilowit
48. Alette Simmons-Jimenez
49. Tawnie Silva
50. Ginger Bardot
51. Jonathan David Kane
52. Naomi Fisher
53. Rocky Grimes
54. Teresa Barcelo
55. Paul Tei
56. Lee Materazzi
57. Karla Garcia
58. Anna Mixon
59. Octavio Campos
60. P. Scott Cunningham
61. Elena Garcia
62. Summer Hill
63. Autumn Casey
64. Juan Navarro
65. Serge Toussaint
66. David Rohn
67. Diane Brache
68. Spencer Morin
69. James Anthony
70. Jim Drain
71. Claudia Calle
72. Kevin Arrow
73. Andrew Hevia
74. Ana Mendez
75. Michael McKeever
76. Diana Lozano
77. Ricardo Pau-Llosa
78. Agustina Woodgate
79. Tarell Alvin McCraney
80. Jennifer Kronenberg
81. Farley Aguilar
82. Colin Foord
83. Karelle Levy
84. Matt Gajewski
85. Antonia Wright
86. Allen Charles Klein
87. Christy Gast
88. Gustavo Matamoros
89. Shareen Rubiera-Sarwar
90. Kyle Trowbridge
91. Clifton Childree
92. Jessica Gross
93. Danny Brito
94. Nektar de Stagni
95. Anthony Spinello
96. Vanessa Garcia
97. Justin Long
98. Rosie Herrera
99. Rick Falcon
100. Ingrid B