As kids, we got all psyched to go to the Miami Art Museum -- partly for the art, but mostly for the gift shop. It's a place littered with curious and fantastic items that look good but that you don't actually need.
Recently, the store got a mini-makeover, courtesy of manager and artist Michael Balbone. He's taken the time to purchase functional art made by locals and some other really fun items that make perfect presents.
We happened to be over at MAM yesterday and in an frenzy of excitement -- the same as when we were youths -- put together a list of items worth adding to your Christmas list.
For the music lover
Do you recognize that face? No? Try again. Look hard and imagine a very tiny nose. It's Michael Jackson! This creepy plate about dead, rich, pop royalty pretty much lays him out for you visually, minus the parts altered by plastic surgery or the pets. RIP MJ.
For the hip pervert
From the same Mexican company that created the MJ plate up there, these baby faces are actually candleholders. They are both kind of stylish and incredibly creepy. Also, an awesome conversation starter.
For the crafter
These are a personal favorite of ours. Local artist Kerry Phillips crafted these beautifully hand-knit and/or crocheted portraits and necklaces. They're a fab find for anyone with a hankering for Americana or an obsession with DIY.
For the gay friend who misses the good old days of SoBe
This Walking Tour of Lincoln Road was tucked away behind Art Deco books, but we found it. It's a wonderful little snapshot of the past. Certainly, some would think it's outdated, but we really dug the Lincoln Road of yesteryear that's captured in this dated travel book. Also makes a great gift for the historian in your life.
For the tasteful
[NAME] Publications is much more of the moment. Gean Moreno's art book series features notable Miami artists. We found Nick Lobo's Album Graphics and Beatriz Monteavaro's Quiet Village displayed on the main table. They're super cool, bro, and a really nice present for anyone who wants to learn a little something about the Miami art scene.
For the socially conscious, preachy pal
Who doesn't want a tote with a deep message? These bags are made by the former gang members of Homeboy Industries. They feature dark but inspirational lines. Listen up, little scenester thugs: This bag's for you.
For the gardener or kitsch fanatic
We're not sure what these little guys' function is, exactly -- but aren't they fascinating? They're AstroTurf animals. Too big to be paperweights, too small to be coat hangers. They are the cheery man's answer to gargoyles.
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For the female perv
The Unikey key caps are delightfully phallic. At first glance, they're all Lisa Frank-innocent -- but look closer, and they're all, "Put your key in my lock."
For the budding art collector
This is a limited edition book created by Miami artist Frances Trombly, one of our 100 Creatives. She wove the material stretched over the cover herself. It was taken from her recent exhibition at Girls' Club Trompe L'oeil.
For the old-timey art lover
This Art-o-mat is actually an old cigarette machine repurposed to present you with art by artists. There are tentative plans in the future to fill it with the work of locals. It's interactive, so you'd have to bring the person to MAM to have them pick out their own gift on this one. Clever, eh?