Wynwood’s Museum of Graffiti, which opened last year, is giving back to the community in the best way it knows how in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis: through art.
This month, the museum teamed up with artist Ahol Sniffs Glue (AKA David Anasagasti) to create a limited-edition poster for sale through the museum's online shop. One hundred percent of the proceeds from sales will be donated to Feeding South Florida.
The partnership came about when museum cofounder Allison Freidin became fond of one of Ahol’s recent drawings.
“I’ve just been trying to crank out work every single day just to try to stay busy and stay on track,” Ahol tells New Times. “She took a liking to it, and we’ve released stuff together before. And then we both agreed that we didn’t want to make any money on it. I didn't want to be tragedy-chasing.”
There are only 100 of the 12-by-18-inch posters, which are priced at $40.
The character pictured in the drawing, Flaco, comes from Ahol’s popular Biscayne World film. In 2012, Ahol was the victim of a hit-and-run while riding his scooter. After the incident left him injured, he began riding the bus to work every day and sketching characters based on some of the people he encountered. When the Borscht Film Festival and the Knight Foundation took an interest, the project turned into a short documentary film that debuted in 2014.
The poster promotes the message that staying at home is the best thing to do right now while also injecting some humor.
“He’s kind of a typical Miami dude. He’s one of the more popular ones of the series,” Ahol says of Flaco. “His original personality is he’s a dude that works at a ladies' shoe store.”
Normally a character who’s out and about “doing scandalous stuff in Miami,” in the drawing, Flaco is hanging out at home. Dressed in loungewear and a facemask, he carries a hair dryer in one hand and a coveted roll of toilet paper in the other.
“He knows it has value, and he’s probably not even trying to save it — he's probably trying to sell it,” Ahol jokes.
The hair dryer is a reference to a viral video from mid-March claiming that inhaling heated air from the appliance kills the virus (it was quickly and widely debunked). The "o" in the phrase “stay home,” printed above Flaco’s head, is one of Ahol’s signature droopy eyes, which populate murals around Wynwood.
According to Ahol, about half the edition has already sold. He’s glad to be able to use his work to make even a small contribution to Feeding South Florida. The food bank is seeing more need than ever for its services, all the while facing mass volunteer shortages, shutdowns of distribution networks, and a limited inventory of sanitation and cleaning supplies.
“I always used to work regular jobs. Seeing everybody that’s gotten laid off from one day to the next just brought back memories of getting laid off and knowing how fucked up it is,” Ahol says. “They’ve got to worry about how to make ends meet, and I think that’s going to bring out a lot of desperation in people. If I can help via my art in some way, I’m all about it.”
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