But sadly, his seat at Panther will be empty from now on. The artist has died, according to multiple friends who spoke to New Times.
News outlet the New Tropic yesterday listed his death as a suicide. New Times could not verify details of his death with
"He had a lot to do with the Wynwood art community feeling 'open,'" local art publicist Caitlin Electra says. "Often, you say, 'Who are these Wynwood street artists? Who are you talking about?' We see him as a familiar face."
Originally from New York City, Nobody rose to prominence painting murals in Wynwood and South Beach that juxtaposed images of gritty urban life with statements of love, tenderness, and hope. He routinely showed fine-art pieces in Miami, New York City, and European countries including Germany.
"He would paint 'Love stories suck' around town," Electra says. "He was original; he was brilliant. It was brilliant to say the whole 'I’m Nobody' thing." He also frequently used the handle "TMNK," which stood for "The Man Nobody Knows."
Artist Michael Perez, who owns Wynwood's 212 Gallery, first met Nobody when Perez caught the artist spraying graffiti on the gallery's outside wall. Perez says that instead of calling the cops, he told Nobody he could cover the graffiti in white paint. The two struck up a friendship and later collaborated on a piece together.
Despite Nobody's outwardly rough appearance, characterized by paint-stained T-shirts and jeans, Perez says, he loved children and was a father.
"He was a wonderful man, and he loved kids," Perez says. "It's a big loss for Wynwood. He was a pure Wynwood artist — he did a lot of hotels in South Beach, he was collected by a lot of great people, but he was still a street artist. He walked around in painted jeans with his bandanna on."
But there was perhaps no one who respected Nobody's work more than fellow artist Renda Writer. In 2012, Writer was living in his car, penning poems, and making a living blending smoothies at Jugofresh. Eventually, he began writing slogans in large, colorful fonts.
"Then I saw him at Panther Coffee one day," Writer says. "I was starstruck. I was like, 'Yo, are
The two exchanged stickers of one another's work, and eventually, Writer started hanging out at Nobody's studio.
"It was just really influential to be hanging out with someone really doing it," Writer says. "He had this real clear sense of how to do it. I admired this clear and concise vision he had for his brand and the colors that he used. It was a lot of black and red and white. Whenever I use those colors, I think of him."
"I would go hang out with him smelling like vegetables and fruit scrappings," Writer says. "He’s the one that saw it in me. He’s the one who encouraged me to bring it out. Now I'm a full-time artist, and I learned it from him."
But, Writer says, his friend appeared to have a dark side and would occasionally exhibit serious emotional issues. For one, Writer says, Nobody was often reckless to a fault. "One time, he splashed paint on cars," Writer recalls.
Famously, Nobody scrawled the phrase "Nobody can stop me!" in white over a billboard for the videogame NBA 2K14 two years ago. Though Nobody painted over portions of LeBron James' face, the NBA star later said he was cool with the billboard's touchup.
"It's all good," James told Bleacher Report. "It's part of culture."
But Writer says that, privately, Nobody seemed to be spiraling to darker and darker places. He became increasingly harder to get ahold of.
"I noticed a big change in him," Writer says. "He straight-up said, 'I’m depressed.' I saw this kind of degeneration of his mind-state. I thought, He’s depressed; he needs help. He didn’t even look me in my face. But he kept telling me he was proud of me."
"He looked pretty good," Writer says. "I was happy for him. It was a short interaction. He was wearing a white T-shirt, which I found
Nobody's friends say they were particularly shocked to read that he'd died by
"He had the words, 'Father and Son, Together We Are One' tattooed on his chest," Writer says, adding that Nobody always seemed to be overflowing with emotions, be they positive or negative.
"His message was about the complexity of love and all the contradictory emotions that come with
Electra, meanwhile, says through tears that she lost a close friend. She adds that she, Perez, and Writer are planning an event to honor Nobody during the next Wynwood Art Walk at 212 Gallery. His friends and fans are invited to attend.
"The thing I've been saying all day is that he was 'somebody' to us," she says.