The car that changed Aholsniffsglue's life came out of nowhere on a rainy night in midtown Miami. It sent him flying off his moped and onto the wet pavement, and then it sped away.
The hit-and-run in June taught the maverick artist two things: First, it showed he had better get around to blowing Miami's mind as quickly as possible. Second, it made him realize why he has stuck it out in his hometown all these years. "People came through and helped me out in a way that was really incredible," Ahol says.
Born in Hialeah and educated in Cutler Ridge at South Ridge Senior High, Ahol started on a path toward art-world notoriety with persistent sketches in his notebooks. "I did these whole civilizations of characters," he says. "One day, I just decided to take their eyes and make a pattern out of it."
The result was one of Wynwood's first iconic wall murals, a hypnotic expanse of sleepy eyes on the side of the Margulies Collection building facing I-95. The work draws the eyes of thousands of drivers every day.
"Everyone has a different reason that mural has appealed to them," he says. "I think it's the consistent pattern, the fact that you can't focus on just one part."
Whatever the draw, the pattern has become Ahol's calling card. It is everywhere, from smaller paintings to a façade near the Vagabond. This past February, he broadened his game, staging his second full solo show at Mercenary Square with pieces that ranged from colorful jumbles of geometric shapes to 3-D sculptures to a short film.
Then came June and that hit-and-run at 71st Street and Biscayne Boulevard. Ahol suffered a hematoma, with a muscle in one leg severed. He spent weeks immobile at home. But redemption came from his artistic colleagues in the form of a fundraiser at the Gregg Sheinbaum Gallery in August. It showcased a whole new crop of Ahol works, from gothic pencil sketches to his mangled moped reimagined as an installation.
Today, Ahol is back on his feet, working a 9-to-5 cubicle job and churning out his newest projects, including a collection of twisted stuffed toys for a Basel showcase at Sheinbaum's space.
"I just want to stay busy and leave a legacy behind," he says. "You never know how long you'll be here."