Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Art Basel Miami Beach Week Day Two: The VIP Opening

We head to the SCOPE Art Fair tent around 10AM. In the middle of the night artist Tony Porto arrived from the West Coast after a much delayed flight from San Francisco and after a taxi ride with the planet's only cab driver who didn't have a GPS or a cell phone and drove Porto to a place seven miles away from Ocean Avenue in Miami Beach. In fact Porto (fearing for his life on a potential set up Mafia hit)  had to use his own GPS to re-direct the driver to the right place.

Only in Miami.

We finalize the clean-up and final steps for the VIP Platinum and press opening, and at noon the crowds descend upon the fair.

Young art fan admiring a Janis & Porto at SCOPE Art Fair Miami Beach 2021

SCOPE is right on the sands of Miami Beach at 8th street - to its left is Untitled, another tent-on-the-beach art fair, and between these two fairs, a really good crowd packs the fair throughout the day.

Art press admiring a Janis & Porto at SCOPE Art Fair Miami Beach 2021

The outside wall of the WGS Contemporary (located at H27) is hung with about 50-60 of my drawings on Bisque. It also has a gorgeous view of the Atlantic.

WGS Contemporary Bisque wall at SCOPE Art Miami Beach 2021 - view of the sea

Upon arrival, I notice one of my pieces, the one on the left-most upper corner is missing.  Was it stolen? Did one of the cleaning crew bump into it making it fall and break? Mystery... for posterity's sake, it was the piece below:

She couldn't believe that he proposed to her via a text message - Charcoal on Bisque 2021 by Florencio Lennox Campello
She couldn't believe that he proposed to her via a text message
Charcoal on Bisque 2021 by Florencio Lennox Campello

The crowds are substantial and seem deeply interested in the fair and the art.  I start selling a lot of the Bisque pieces, which are very affordable. A tall, blonde woman asks if the prices are a joke. I explain that one of my goals is to seed the planet with as many Campello works of art as I possibly can. She buys one of the lowest priced ones; her date buys one of the most expensive.

A Russian family comes by, and the very attractive lady buys five of the largest pieces - all portraits of artists: two Kahlos, Warhol, Picasso and Dali. The man with her (husband?) says to her in Russian: "why so many?" She shoots him a furry look and he freezes. They buy $1200 worth of work and pay in cash with shiny, brand new $100 bills.

The monster Picasso - charcoal and conte on Bisque by Florencio Lennox Campello, c. 2021
The Monster Picasso
Charcoal and conte on Bisque by Florencio Lennox Campello, c. 2021
In a private collection in Miami Beach

At 8PM the fair ends - we're all thrashed after being on our feet all day. For dinner we head back to Naked Taco, where I feast on blackened octopus. VIP opening day is over - I've sold about 30 Bisque pieces, so the art spreading has begun.

#wgscontemporary #scopeartfair #scopeart #artbaselmiami2021

Monday, November 29, 2021

Art Basel Week - The Arrival

3:30AM wakeup for a 4AM Lyft ride to Reagan National Airport is the start of the trek to Miami for the 2021 version of the planet's most important art event as the Art Basel Miami week re-starts after a long 2020 pause from the Covidian monster released upon the world by the Communist Party ruling and abusing the long-suffering people of China.

After an eventless flight, another Lyfter takes me to Miami Beach, the car is driven by Daniel, a recent (three years) Cuban gentleman who relates to me his tortuous escape history from the other place where Communism brutalizes its people. Three years ago he won a "lottery" to visit Nicaragua, as soon as he arrived there he "escaped" to neighboring Honduras, from there to Guatemala and onto Mexico.  He relates the horror stories of Mexico and dealing with the corrupt Mexican police.  Eventually, he flies to the United States, is granted refugee asylum and three years later, busting his ass with two jobs, is loving life as a free man in the US.

Welcome to Miami.

Mike Janis, the hardworking director of WGS Contemporary, is waiting for me at our AirBnB almost across the street from the SCOPE Art Fair. Somehow Mike (who drove my van from DC to Miami packed to the gills with art) managed to unload all work to the gallery booth - no small feat considering that part of the trek involves a trip across the sand!

Mike has already installed mixed media glass work by Tim Tate as well as his collaborations with Tony Porto. The work in the booth has been curated by Janis to showcase the theme of Superheroes, and it will also hang work by Mexico's great Dulce Pinzon, England's Simon Monk and yours truly.

Tim Tate, Tony Porto and Mike Janis art in Booth H21 at Scope Art Fair Miami Beach 2021

The entrance to SCOPE has been decorated in a graffiti manner... cough... cough.

SCOPE Art Miami Beach 2021

We begin hanging the remaining work, and one wall goes up quickly.

Campello, Pinzon and Monk wall at SCOPE Art Miami Beach 2021

We get kicked out around 4PM and then head out to find vittles and end up in Janis' fave restaurant hang-out at Naked Taco, where a fabulous waitress brings out fabulous Mexican food and also takes our photo.

Artists Mike Janis and Lenny Campello at Naked Taco Miami Beach 2021

After dinner we head back to our apartment. My daughter Elise calls from Gig Harbor and we chat and she can't believe that we're heading back to the roost at 7PM... and we're in Miami Beach.

Parked in front of our rented condo is a gigantic black Esplanade SUV with enormous tires, dark, tinted windows... and a handicapped parking sticker hanging from the rear view mirror... only in Miami Beach does such a sight seem normal.

Sunday, November 28, 2021

The Benedrylization of America

Has anyone noticed that Benadryl or diphenhydramine is marketed under a dozen different labels and dosages as a sleep aid as a walk down the sleep aid section of your local pharmacy or supermarket clearly shows?

Nearly (not all) of the OTC sleep aids out there in Americaland is essentially a dosage of Benadryl! 

Sleep tight America!

Saturday, November 27, 2021

Anatomy of a Commission

At the last Affordable Art Fair in NYC - held last September and documented in this blog, I received a commission to create a work that reflected and incorporated the LGBTQ flag in a mixed media works with embedded electronics.

As I've noted multiple times, clear communications is KEY to a happy commissioning! I sent the client a draft contract and explained all processes... then I sent her some rough sketches for the central figure in the work -- the work was to depict a visitor to a gallery/museum where the center piece rotates digital images sampled online from famous abstract artworks -- a "new" Jackson Pollockish work (created by me, not a copy of a Pollock) was to hang to the left, and a Washington Color School style painting of the LGBTQ flag (a very cool stripe painting by the way...) to the right of the figure, while the center piece rotates images.

I sent her these rough drafts... one of the figures is her, as she expressed interest in possibly "being" in the painting.

pen and ink drawings of art fair visitors by F. Lennox Campello, circa 2021

She liked the lady all the way to the right (who was her), so then I painted her and sent her this...

Woman at art fair -- rough draft watercolor by F. Lennox Canmpello 2021

She loved it! So we moved on! And here's the finished work, which rotates a famous abstract painting (and some not so famous yet) in the middle embedded digital screen.

Woman in love with Abstract painting - Mixed Media Painting 2021 by F. Lennox Campello

Woman in love with Abstract painting - Mixed Media Painting 2021 by F. Lennox Campell

Woman in love with Abstract painting - Mixed Media Painting 2021 by F. Lennox Campell

Thursday, November 25, 2021

A Thanksgiving story

About two decades ago, I walked into a Whole Foods supermarket to buy some olives and some Manchego cheese. As I strolled by Whole Foods' fantastic deli, I noticed that in this store they had signs in both English and Spanish.

I almost died laughing when I saw how the Thanksgiving turkey special had been translated! In English, the word "turkey" is the same for the country that spans Europe and the Middle East and for the Thanksgiving bird.

But in Spanish, the word for the country Turkey is Turquia, and the word for the bird is "pavo."

Guess what this store was selling as their Thanksgiving bird? Turquia! What a bunch of turkeys...

Happy Thanksgiving!