Art

III Points Artist Aileen Quintana Is Building a Giant, Neon-Hued Shopping Mall

Embedded in the colorful world of Wynwood, the III Points Music, Art & Technology Festival attracts what it presents: frenetic, energetic personalities and living works of art. Aileen Quintana, an artist and the creative director of III Points, brings both. A first-generation Cuban-American born and raised in Miami, Quintana reveals, “I went to FIU for one semester. I was going to go pre-med. And then I said, 'Fuck you, Mom — I’m gonna be an artist.'” She dropped out.

Quintana’s irreverent artistry is revealed in [email protected], her massive work that's set to premiere at this year's III Points. The installation is inspired by vaporwave, an alternative art movement and music genre that Quintana describes as “vintage and recycled audio and aesthetics from the internet." 

"In fashion, we don’t say 'street style' anymore. We say 'internet style.' I’m bringing that internet component to reality now. And I’m paying all my respects to my life in fashion and paying homage to the dead malls.”

Honoring fallen shopping malls of the past, [email protected] will feature a collection of department stores and kiosks. Make It Up Salon will be one of these stores, where makeup artists and hairstylists can be seen preparing performers through an acrylic shield. Viewers will peruse the space to vaporwave music — an amalgamation of ambient sound, elevator music, and basic scores found on the internet from the '90s to the early '00s.


“Conceptually, it’s like couture club kids. I have the opportunity to associate the fashion component to the audio component and create this hybrid where the art is vivid and the creativity is more because it’s influenced by music,” Quintana says. She believes her installation will reach an audience of at least 30,000 and leave a long-lasting effect on viewers.

Quintana’s career in the arts began in fashion as a makeup artist. She was a representative for YSL Beauty and MAC Cosmetics, as well as the brand ambassador for CoverGirl in the Hispanic market. Today she has expanded her expertise, working as a creative director, image consultant, and artist in the fashion world.

“I’m known in Miami as a celebrity makeup artist. But I was starving. All the fashion shows in Miami were bland for my personal taste,” Quintana says. She craved more than what Miami’s fashion market could offer.

In 2013, the inaugural year of III Points, Quintana’s career as a visual artist took off when the festival's cofounder David Sinopoli offered her a joint and a job. In her first concept, Aileen’s Aliens, Quintana created “transformation chambers” with an arsenal of back-of-house hair and makeup professionals she had hired from her fashion shows. Quintana declares proudly, “Aileen’s Aliens started off in a 12-by-12-foot room. Today we sit here with a 6,000-square-foot installation.”

Quintana says living in Miami drives her to create. “I want to improve Miami’s community. That’s what the fuss is about. Miami needed this. Miami is full of color, but we’re a little fried because of the sun, so we’re a little crazier down here. We party late, and we work all the time. It’s normal to do this, and it’s awesome. I’m lucky to live in a forever party.”  

With less than two weeks until III Points begins, is she ready to reveal [email protected] to the public? Quintana smiles. “I’m in all the way. No other influences. Just completely induced. It’s like a drug for me.”
[email protected]
At III Points. Friday, October 7, through Sunday, October 9, at Mana Wynwood Convention Center, 318 NW 23rd St., Miami. Tickets start at $70. Visit iiipoints.com.
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Minhae Shim Roth is an essayist, journalist, and academic.
Contact: Minhae Shim Roth