South Florida

Wynwood in USA Today

The neighborhood got some press this weekend in the USA Today from a decent article introducing the graffiti culture in the area. Although it started off sounding like what your grandparents might say when they discuss graffiti, it went on to interview some of the local names like Books Bischof of Primary Flight, artist Trek6, and Erni Vales from the Evil World gallery. The article also talks about the evolution of the art form and how mainstream support, often on the corporate level, will play a major role in keeping it alive.

…while the artists are invited to do their work on buildings and sometimes get donated materials, for the most part they are not paid. Some predict that may change, and that the Miami graffiti community may eventually find fame and profit in their designs, the way artists like Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat did in New York several decades ago.

However, some argue that a more established and legitimate form of street art is inherently untrue to its roots.

 “A purist would tell you it’s gotten really soft,” he said. “When I started, everything was illegal. There was (a) serious graffiti task force. They’re less aggressive now because so much of it is legit.”

At Product 81, we’re huge supporters of graffiti in our space, the Yo ♥ 305 gallery. Anyone who truly wants street art to survive in a legal form should see that groups and corporations commissioning work from artist are a huge factor. For example, our mural  that changes every 2 months. The article missed a major example of this within itself, as Erni Vales is a major figure in the history of NYC graffiti and has also had huge commercial success through partnerships with the likes of Google and David LaChapelle among many others.


Passion – Fruit

Real Sorbet

Real Sorbet - Local, organic, delicious

It’s amazing speaking to someone who is insanely passionate about what they do. Especially when what they do is something as simple as making sorbet. Fruit, sugar and ice. That’s it, or at least, that’s how it should be. Nick and Tessa Mencia are the creators of Real Sorbet, a small cart that’s developed a big following by selling all organic and locally sourced sorbet around South Florida. This Saturday they will be scooping at the Yo ♥ 305 gallery during Art Walk. The Product 81 team sat down with Nick to discuss all things fruity and frozen.


Swamp Rocket

This beautifully shot mini-documentary comes from Joey Daoud via Boing Boing. Joey also runs the film blog Coffee and Celluloid . The P81 team has always been fascinated by some of the stranger aspects of South Florida history. For example, few people know about the abandoned Cold War missile site in Everglades National Park that is open to visitors.

For almost two decades, beginning shortly after the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, the HM-69 Nike Hercules Missile Site was manned by about 100 military personnel, one of the last lines of defense if the unthinkable happened. When it closed in 1979, the park took control of the site. – USA Today

Other overgrown corners of the park like Loop Road hold old distilleries from the prohibition days, but are usually only seen by school children on field trips.

Daoud seems like a very talented filmmaker and did a nice job of capturing a little piece of forgotten Florida history. We recommend checking out the rest of his filmography.

Super sketched out right now

Brett Campbell by Annie Blazejack

Last week, Facebook announced its new face recognition software and almost instantly, the “rabble-rabbles’s” from the privacy watchdogs took over the conversation. It might trouble them to know that a local organization is also launching a site to amass a public database with the portraits of every Miami resident.  But before you go updating your privacy settings, check out this post from Beached Miami, the New Times Best Blog winner for 2011, about the Sketchy Miami project.


Invasive Art

Cultist posted a nice interview with Audrey Hynes, this month’s featured artist in UM’s Wynwood Project Space. Hynes’ work is based around the invasive maleleuca tree and the effects on the South Florida environment. Earlier this week, the Smithsonian Institution announced the launch of the Leafsnap app which lets users identify plant species by taking pictures of their leaves. The app uses a variation of face recognition technology and references the images to a vast database managed by the Smithsonian, Colombia University and the University of Maryland. Developers are hoping user contributions will help further knowledge of local plant life and environments. Hopefully, this new app as well as Audrey’s work will raise some awareness about the fragile ecosystems around South Florida. With the double whammy of droughts and brush fires we have going on right now, we definitely need it.


Only hours before a less than kingly performance from Lebron last night, well-connected sneaker heads were on the hunt for the new Lebron 8 V2 kicks called the “Sprites” in special early release locations across South Florida. A certain Miami Herald online sports editor, who shall remain nameless, was especially enthusiastic and copped his own pair. But after last night’s game, it will take more than LeSprite bubbly awesomeness to settle our stomachs.