Wynwood's long been synonymous with art, but unless you've happened to be on hand during the commission of a mural, the opportunities to actually see how the art comes to be are few and far between. This Miami Art Week, Peter Kappa is vowing to change that. Not only will the Bratislava-born visualist unveil a new series of works under the guise "Distorted Reality," but he'll do so amid the trappings of his Wynwood studio, thus giving all and sundry an all too rare look into just how an artist gives us his all.
That Kappa's studio happens to be smack in the center of Miami's most art-soaked neighborhood only makes the all that he's got in tap even more so. Oh, and if that's not enough, Kappa's set to show a four-pack at Scope, too.
Cultist pinned down Kappa at Panther Coffee and asked him to fill us in.
New Times:Before we begin, just who is Peter Kappa
Peter Kappa: That seems to be the main question: Just who is Peter Kappa? It's what I get asked over and over again. And it's what people ask when they first see my art. Even in New York, when I showed at Pulse, the most prominent question was Who is Peter Kappa?
So have you come up with an answer?
The simple answer is I'm a Slovokian born artist now working in Miami. But that's also the most boring answer, and it really doesn't mean anything.
Are you a painter or a sculptor or what?
I don't know if I'm a painter or a sculptor. I try to merge all elements, and I'm always trying to find a new way to mix things that normally aren't associated. I do paint, and I do use elements of sculpture, I also use photography, but in the end it's not a painting or a sculpture or a photograph, it's an object.
What materials do you most use to create these objects?
I use mostly building materials -- marble and porcelain tiles, cement board, HardieBacker, neon light bulbs, raw concrete, wood. I even use canvas, but not in the traditional way.
What are some of your primary visual components?
Old European statues and icons, 15th and 16th century frescoes, as well as more recently found objects that I either employ or photograph. The idea is to distort well known icons and images, and place them into different environments. Give people a chance to come up with their own story instead of the stories they've been told by history.
Miami seems like an odd place to address issues of history...
Maybe. But that's not consciously why I chose to come here. I chose Miami because I think there are more opportunities to show art. There's more freedom to create here, the work spaces are larger and easier to get, and within five miles I've got every contractor and supplier I need to do my work.
What originally drew you to Miami?
I always knew I'd move to the States. I first started coming to Miami for Winter Music Conference; then after the third year, I decided to stay. At the beginning my main focus was music, and I was only occasionally doing art. Then one night I was talking about my music and art with a gallerist and he said that I should really focus on the art, because whenever I mentioned it he saw a spark in my eye. I've been focusing on art ever since.
So what do you have lined up for Miami Art Week?
I have two things, my open studio and then I'll have something at Scope. For the open studio I'm creating a hidden place within the chaos of Art Week right in the middle of Wynwood. People will be able to see various stages of my work, from the rough and unfinished to the fully-installed and finished. I want to show people the actual art work in the actual place that it was created.
At Scope I'll be showing four pieces with Prague's Pavleye Art & Culture, Booth A03.
Peter Kappa "Distorted Reality" and Open Studio opens Monday, December 1, from 8 to 10 p.m. and remains open through Miami Art Week Tuesday through Sunday, 1 to 8 p.m. at 2407 NW 2nd Ave., Back Entrance.
Keep Miami New Times Free... Since we started Miami New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Miami, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Miami with no paywalls.