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Axel Void's mural Convivencia in Fanzara, Spain.EXPAND
Axel Void's mural Convivencia in Fanzara, Spain.
Axel Void

Void Projects Creates a New Home for Painters in Downtown Miami

In a nondescript downtown storefront, seven Miami artists are getting acclimated in their new studios while Billie Holiday hums in the background. They have come together to create Void Projects, an educational residency and community space.

The nonprofit is founded in collaboration with Juxtapoz and housed by Mana Contemporary. It will host studios for ten student-artists and three experienced mentors: Reginald O’Neal, Filio Galvez, and Axel Void. Through informal classes and constant guidance, the students will expand their knowledge of traditional drawing and painting techniques.

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But you don’t have to be a painter to engage with the new Void Projects space. The organization plans to set up a free library and co-working area, along with offering weekly public drawing classes and movie screenings. There’s already a second-hand pool table available for free games and chess tournaments may become a regular occurrence.

Artist Axel Void founded Void Projects in 2017, but until now the platform has been known for its nomadic shows held outside of the conventional gallery environment. Its 2018 exhibition "Home," was held in the last family home left on 25th Street in Wynwood. The show was up for three days before the house was demolished with the work inside.

Axel says, "Galleries and museums often try to create a neutral space... but you can also do a show in a house, and then all of the weight and the baggage that the house brings gets shown with the work.”

A portrait from Axel Void's Love series.EXPAND
A portrait from Axel Void's Love series.
Axel Void

Since "Home," Void Projects has made a habit of bringing together artists for temporary residencies in places with history. "Creença, 2018" gathered 50 artists in an old convent in Catalonia, Spain. And the most recent show "Homeless," held during Miami Art Week 2018, took place in a 1920s house in un-incorporated Dade near the Miami Shores neighborhood.

Void Projects has been bringing art into the home; now, it's attempting to bring the home into the gallery. Through free programs and an open-door policy, they hope to make the art world more relatable and inviting for the average Miamian.

This concept is evident in Axel Void’s personal work. An oil painter whose background is in murals and street art, he believes that “things aren’t just what they are, but also where they are placed.”

Many of the artists at Void Projects deal with the theme of environment. Reginald O’Neal’s paintings explore the African American experience through his own personal life growing up in Overtown. He has been studying under Axel for five years and will now teach resident artists.

Void Projects feels like a nod to history within the contemporary space. There are a host of new galleries and studios popping up in downtown Miami. So, it is fitting that Void Projects would choose to establish its first permanent residency there. If all goes well, the new location will serve as a community center and cultural hub, while offering a much-needed home to those who value traditional practices of drawing and painting.

Void Projects Opening Celebration. 8 p.m. Saturday, January 26, at 60 SE First St., Miami; voidprojects.org. Admission is free.

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