Jesus, Grills, and Uzis: Inside Ahol Sniffs Glue's Art Book, Cellular Fuckery

At his studio, Ahol Sniffs Glue gives a sneak preview of his book.
At his studio, Ahol Sniffs Glue gives a sneak preview of his book. Minhae Shim Roth
The artist Ahol Sniffs Glue goes by many names: Ahol, Alouishous San Gomma, and David Anasagasti. But no matter what you call him, there’s no denying he’s a Miami institution. In fact, his work is so iconic that global brands have plagiarized it and appropriated it without his permission. Known for his droopy eyelid murals in Wynwood, Ahol has progressively pushed his abilities to new levels by continuing to create his distorted characters, making an experimental short film, and curating art shows. His latest artistic evolution: compiling a book to be released this week.

Ahol says all his hustle is for the city of Miami. “I hope to inspire people to not necessarily emulate what I do, but to find creative ways to fuckin’ push our city to the top. Our city, to me, is on the top. I’ve gone to a lot of other places, and I love coming back. I love seeing our bright-ass colors, smelling the fuckin’ piss on the Metrorail. I love our town. I’m not giving up on our town.”

Ahol has been immersed in several projects for the past few weeks. His cocurated show with Bayunga Kialeuka at African Heritage Cultural Arts Center, titled "Art on Paper," exhibits works from artists from South Florida, New Orleans, and New York who create paper-based drawings, paintings, and sculptures. The show is open through June 11, and admission is free. Ahol has four framed pieces on display in the show, but he has also been working on another paper-based project: his book, Cellular Fuckery.

“I actually hate reading, so the only words are that it says 'Cellular Fuckery' on the title and that it’s 'by Ahol Sniffs Glue,'" he says with a chuckle.
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Cellular Fuckery is set to be released this week.
Ahol Sniffs Glue
The self-published book is a simple square, eight-by-eight inches with 40 pages of digital images. He’s making only 100 copies and plans to release them sometime this week. He has pending deals with arts and cultural institutions in Miami and New York to sell the book, but it will also be available at his online store.

“I call it Cellular Fuckery because it’s all cellular-phone chopped-up images. I’ve become very proficient with photo editing on my cell phone. I’ve managed to make social commentary that’s time-sensitive and digital chopping-ups on an app that’s a bobo-fuckin' Photoshop... Some people said, ‘Oh shit, your graphic design shit is kind of weak.’ Well, duh, it’s made on a cell phone and cropped on my finger.”

The cover image is a blurry portrait of a young Anasagasti wearing a Dolphins Super Bowl T-shirt and holding a toy Uzi. It's the only photograph in the book that was taken by a traditional camera and developed. The aesthetic of the digital images, even though they have all been taken within the past two years, is vintage through the color palette and configurations. Some images are reminiscent of '90s internet art, and others are tripped-out renditions of traditional religious compositions.

The images don’t have titles, descriptions, or page numbers, but there's an underlying order. Thematically, the photos reference one another with a sense of randomness. For example, Jesus Christ’s head is cast in gold; he wears grills and proudly shows off his teeth. His arms and torso are slimy blue tentacles holding rifles that rest symmetrically on each side. Jesus wears an oversize gold chain bearing Ahol’s signature droopy eye encrusted in diamonds. A couple of pages later is an image of Ahol’s French bulldog, Spiro. The pooch sports grills and wears a gold chain with the head of Jesus as a pendant. Spiro holds a stenciled Uzi while the sun sets in a burst of pinks, blues, and oranges in the background.

The book is surreal, self-referential, and playful: an epic visual quest for the viewer. Every image was created by Ahol with intent and humble pride.

“I’m here to let you know a dude that didn’t go to art school, a dude who is a fuckin’ hard-core Miami dude, is here puttin' down for the city... I know what I did is from the heart and it’s dope, and you’d be stupid not to want to get it.”
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Minhae Shim Roth is an essayist, journalist, and academic.
Contact: Minhae Shim Roth