Miami New Times' Mastermind Awards honors the city's most inspiring creatives. This year, we received more than 100 submissions, which our staff narrowed to an elite group of 30. We'll be profiling those honorable mentions, and eventually the finalists, in the weeks to come. This year's three Mastermind Award winners will be announced February 28 at Artopia, our annual soiree celebrating Miami culture. For tickets and more information, visit the website.
For most of us, self-guided attempts at artistic endeavors only go as far as Pinterest fails. But for contemporary painter Farley Aguilar, his innate talents began to bloom when he taught himself to draw and paint seven years ago.
The 33-year old studied philosophy and literature at Florida International University. Then, after schooling himself in the arts, he began an aesthetic exploration of the concepts of mythology, folklore, and mob behavior, drawing inspiration from film, history, and the exploration of truth. His works have been seen at the Carol Jazzar Contemporary, the Art and Culture Center of Hollywood and currently, Spinello Projects.
Cultist: Your work uses a lot of mythology. If you could be one mythological creature, what would it be?
Aguilar: No mythology had ever really had much meaning for me until I watched a scene from The Virgin Spring by Ingmar Bergman. In it, a pregnant young servant girl is going through her daily chores and stops to implore for Odin to relieve her of her misery: "Odin, come, Odin, come." The words seemed very powerful to me and I found that Nordic myth had something that resonated. Choosing a mythological creature is difficult because, unlike comic book superheroes, most of them are quite multifaceted, also they have been distorted and transformed through the passage of time. I don't think I would want to be any of them.
You've delved into film with your art. What's your favorite movie?
I have lots of favorite films, but one of the best is Ordet by Carl Dreyer. It's about a man that goes through an interior spiritual journey, concealed to the characters in the film as well as the audience, and then returns to perform a great miracle. I love Carl Dreyer, but this film is particularly enchanted with an instance of the uncanny.
If you could go back in time and change one historical event, what would you choose?
All historical events are not just one instance, but a situation or atmosphere made up of countless instance, so this is a hard question. What I can say is that it would've been very interesting for artists like Egon Schiele, Jean Vigo, and Friedrich Holderlin to have been able to produce for longer. I always wonder what they could have made with more time.
What artists did you learn from when you taught yourself to draw and paint?
When I was around 18 I read mostly literature and philosophy. Years later, when I started drawing, it was mostly technique for me. I would go outside and draw from nature trying to teach myself perspective and how to deal with space in a two-dimensional way. I would draw my girlfriend, from porn magazines, Victoria's Secret catalogues, copy old masters like Boucher, to learn the proportions of the human body. At that time I did really like Francis Bacon and Egon Schiele; this has changed a bit.
What's your favorite Miami neighborhood?
I have a studio on the outskirts of Little Haiti and I always enjoy the car ride over there. There are always tons of people on the street, all the stores have hand-painted advertising, there is music blaring from stores. I love all the energy, it's great right before going to paint.
2013 Mastermind Award Honorable Mentions:
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to Miami New Times's mission. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Miami's stories with no paywalls.