It all started with this painting… Hanging at the Vagabond, my stomping grounds at the time back in 2010, I stopped in the middle of the dance floor and stood staring at it. It was only for 5 minutes tops, but in the middle of a crowded room with music bumping, that’s a long time; eventually I moved on but I found myself circling through the backyard and main room before landing back in front of it again. I couldn’t help myself, there wasn’t a price listed but something in my gut pushed me to see if it was in the realm of possibility for me to own this. So I found out from one of my friends that worked at the club, who’s the artist, are they here? “Her name’s Kazilla, she should be around here somewhere.”I ended up introducing myself to Kaz that night, but at over $1,000 the painting was way out of my still-in-college budget. So we exchanged info and said maybe we could touch base and find a more cost-effective option, even a print, that I could get my hands on. And that’s exactly what ended up happening, I got a canvas print of the piece a little smaller than the original. Over time though I’d keep thinking about that piece I saw hanging at the Vagabond and how much it resonated with me. In the meantime, I was content to have the reflection of the original awesomeness I had seen.
Some time later, we hadn’t really seen much of each other but thanks to the modern magic of facebook, we were able to reconnect when Kazilla posted looking for a wall in Wynwood for a mural. The timing worked out perfectly because the warehouse for my family business had just gotten tagged up and I figured we could either pay someone to repaint it flat (what my grandpa was intending) or I could intervene and get an amazing mural done for about the same cost. And so in a few weeks this was in the beginning stages of coming to life:
It was a long time ago so the specifics are a little fuzzy but at some point after this first mural and after meeting my girlfriend (who’s now my wife), I decided to pony up and go all in for the original painting “She’s Got It In Spades” that I had seen at Vagabond. It was after discussing my indecision with my girlfriend, the struggle between the extravagant (for me) cost and the feeling I had that I was meant to have this piece, that I was able to make up my mind. I’m not one to put too much stock in fate or the idea that our lives are predetermined, but there was just a persistent tug pulling me towards it, it would come up in conversations, I would compare other art work to it. So I made the decision and never looked back, making it one of my first truly significant art purchases as a collector (the other piece being one from my wife, but that’s for another story).
Over the past 4 years (give or take) it’s been an amazing ride with the creation of this company Yo Miami, and the opening of our gallery/artist collective Yo Space. And I can honestly say that a lot of it couldn’t have happened without the advice, and contacts that Kaz brought to the table for me. She was the first artist to move into a studio at Yo Space two years ago, and has been a significant part of a lot of projects and shows I’ve put on since then. But as always in life, things can’t stay stagnant; I’ve learned that to stay too long in one place is the quickest way to start deteriorating.
And so it’s with a heavy heart but also a happy one, that I wanted to write this piece as a fond farewell to Yo Space’s first ever resident artist. Not goodbye to my good friend, but just to the artist who graced our space with energy and creativity to spare, sharing her talents not only with me and my wife, but dozens of artists who came through the space (whether the eventual residents, or the ones just passing through here and there).
Kaz, I know that this move can only serve to help you move to the next step in your constantly developing career and I want to sincerely thank you for all that you’ve done for us. I’ll always take pride in the claim that we were your first real studio when you decided to get into the art game full-time and will continue to brag about it well into the years that you become more and more recognized and celebrated in the art world.