Imagine a record player's needle picking up the vibration pattern on the groove and an amplifier enhancing the sound of your jam. Some may argue that there is no greater pleasure in life. Since the 1980s, vinyl records have been on the decline, but this past Friday Miami's art community at Sweat Records brought them back -- as canvases.
Sweat Records teamed up with Miami's famed sticker artist, WHUT, and YOmiami to honor the fusion of art and music. Over thirty artists, one record store, and one community; that's what it took to make the "Analog Art Show" happen.
The ambiance outside the store was not one you feel any other day at Sweat Records: teens tagging a street pole, a hobo lurking around cars, a young designer posing beside the store's mural, and dozens of locals gathering around the grilled cheese food truck. Something was definitely happening.
And then you walked through the doors to see a large community supporting the matrimony of visual art and vinyl in a rather small space. WHUT, the artist responsible for this idea, envisioned collaboration between various artists in hopes of producing a show where only vinyl remained as a constant amongst different styles of art.
Though traffic was heavy and consistent, and you sometimes felt like a sardine in a can, guests happily shared the limited space to admire the innovative artwork. "I really didn't expect it to be this packed, but I can't say I'm not happy about it," said Emma Perez. To catch some air, guests paved their way to the back towards the drinks or to the café. The crowd was poppin' both inside and outside.
When a guest accidentally dropped some of the artwork hung on the wall on the floor, a few gasps and gawks were initiated. It could have been the end to the beginning of a great night. But an employee helped put the records back up, let out an "it's alright," and the show went on.
These local artists are the real deal. They didn't care about taking their art to galleries; to them it was more of a grassroots kind of thing with a new concept. "These artists merged two of my worlds together. It beats anything I've seen," said guest Juliana Martinez.
"I wanted to see different styles of art on vinyl records. I wanted artists to bring their own original ideas and concepts to the table," said WHUT. And they did. Artists such as Atomik, Trek6, Keds, Ivan Roque, Kazilla, Natalia Molina, and Ivette Cabrera chipped in with their individual style. Trek6, New Times' 2013 Best Street Artist, converted an actual vinyl disc into a boombox (kudos to him) while photographer Natalia Molina printed a photograph onto a vinyl record. Some painted, others markered, and one artist created a 3D skull and placed it on the vinyl.
"If these records don't get sold, they'll maybe get listened to once more or get thrown away," said WHUT. The local artists managed to bring these records back to life in a way never done before. And the show's guests didn't disagree. "I hope shows like this happen more often. I love seeing ideators in my city reach a new level," said guest Joanna Fuentes.
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"We're celebrating both art and music. What's not to love?" said artist Ivan Roque. Aside from breathing new life into the art scene, the artists managed to attract support that had not been seen from Miami in a long time. "What I'm seeing right now is a turn out beyond my expectations. That to me is the best," admitted Trek6.
"Painting on records and such, that I haven't given much thought to, but the fusion of music and art is key," said Trek6. Whether artists appreciate art on vinyl or not, the fusion of visual art and music should not disappear. "My hopes is that this show puts this type of artwork on the map and opens doors for a lot of us," said WHUT.
So maybe art on vinyl won't develop into its own genre, but this past Friday proved that joint effort (from artists and the community) led to a step in an innovative direction.