View photos from April's Wynwood Art Walk here.
For Robert Fontaine and Raymond Delgado, Saturday's Wynwood Art Walk paid off early and in a huge way. In fact both men were beaming as if they had rung up a row of cherries on a Vegas slot machine as the throngs turned Northwest Second Avenue into a cholesterol-clotted artery by 7 p.m.
Fontaine, a Wynwood art dealer, was celebrating the inaugural of his expanded new digs across from Panther Coffee with a solo by London artist Nick Gentry, who creates portraits on discarded floppy discs he attaches to wood and then paints.
Delgado, a food truck impresario, responsible for the Grill Master and Pig Out brands, had set up shop at a new location behind Panther Coffee, opened to house the overflow of close to 60 trucks servicing art lovers and foodies, he estimated.
Both men appeared lords of all they surveyed. They also represented the spectrum of interests hoping to bank on the cultural cash cow fattening up the 'hood. But not everyone who came out to play in Wynwood last weekend walked away looking respectable. Read on to find out who succeeded -- and who, well, didn't.
Fontaine, for his part, was undeniably a winner. "I sold three of Gentry's paintings within an hour of opening," Fontaine said, mentioning that the $30,000 sale already made his risk of opening a larger space a success.
Likewise, with folks already lined up several deep for his "famous Philly cheese steak," Delgado had been banking early and gearing up for record sales. "I will probably end up selling 100 cheese steak sandwiches and upwards of 300 churrasco pinchos by night's end," Delgado crowed.
Fontaine was amazed at the early crowds, as was Gentry, who has visited Miami during Basel but had never experienced a Second Saturday culture crawl before.
"This is incredible. The vibrancy here is brilliant, the way that art and music spills out into the street from the galleries and how people come out to support culture here is astounding," Gentry said. "I've never seen anything like this anywhere."
Fontaine added that he planned to start drinking early after his big score. "When the art's good, it sells itself," Fontaine gushed. "I can celebrate now that the costs of the move have been covered."
Large crowds had been lured by a bunch of new openings at established galleries and funky, pop-up enterprises that seemed to spring up out of nowhere like mushrooms from cow dung after a flash rain.
One of these spaces, called the Vinyl Collective, was selling old records out of crates, and had an area in the back offering artsy jewelry and accessories and silk screened T-shirts.
"Check out my Jazz and Salsa collection," said Bob Perry of Blue Note Records who had been invited to set up shop at the place. "I even have a Big Bird record player over there that's pretty rare." Sweat Records' Jsin Jimenez was among the folks thumbing through crates of vintage LP's while enjoying a complimentary cocktail last night.
Across the street, tucked inside a nondescript space, artist Uri Dubenko displayed a sensory-numbing collection of loopy abstracts in a show titled "Metaphysical Art." Curious onlookers who peeked inside the door were treated to the vision of a man sporting a Day-Glo Mohawk that gave the impression one of Dubenko's painterly reveries had leeched onto the mook's head.
New spaces, unlikely to make it through a slow summer, were evident everywhere. One of them, the Once Arts Gallery, directly in front of the Dorsch Gallery was a case in point.
Boasting the type of art typically found during the First Friday Gables Art Stroll---canvases of painted feathers and bamboo stalks--it stuck out like a sore thumb in the neighborhood were many seasoned culture vultures stepped over the threshold out of curiosity only to do a double take and quickly walk away.
Meanwhile, at the Dorsch, hundreds jammed the space to watch performances by the Florida Grand Opera and see actual art work one could remember the next day.
Perhaps the weirdest offering was over in the Design District where the District Factory, was packed elbow-to-elbow by a crush of humanity in an environment one might describe as a boho-chic version of the Opa Locka/Hialeah flea market, at best.
Supposedly modeled after Warhol's famous Factory studio, the only thing connecting it to the Pop genius was some of his 1960s grainy black-and-white films spooled at the entrance by O Cinema.
Other than that, the cavernous space more resembled a rabbit's warren of stalls and racks featuring vintage clothing, jewelry, graphic tees and sundry items of used furniture with ridiculous price tags such as a scuffed leather chair you can carry home for $3 grand.
We were driven out by an overpowering stench of what we thought was aerosol paint but turned out to be a stall where women were getting their nails painted instead.
Back in Wynwood, where the dozen rolling greasy spoons, many designed by Delgado himself, were parked in a circle behind him, the grill master said the evening had been a huge success.
"Did you get to visit the courtyard with the 38 other food trucks a couple blocks away?" he asked. "It was packed all night and they even had live music under a roofed stage," Delgado said.
"I am building Miami's biggest food truck next that will be 30 feet long, and it will have a giant plasma TV recessed into the wall and speakers under the chassis so visitors can catch the Heat games," he continued. "I am adding blooming onions and lobster bisque soup to my menu. Second Saturday is great for business and I never run out of food because I have another truck I bring that's refrigerated and I keep packed with extra supplies."
That seemed to prove that at Art Walk, at least for now, success equals excess.
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