It was our last kind-of beautiful El Nino day in Miami, and I allowed myself the very leisurely morning time of 10AM. Over the last few days I had mastered the art of sleeping without pants without anyone else in our 8 person room noticing or being weird about it. It was still pretty rainy outside so we kind of chilled in and around our hostel-home for a while, taking our time to shower and rearrange all of our items, and say hello to the new flood of Australians.
Our hostel had a bar that was staffed with more ex-MMA looking guys so Megan was hanging around and chatting to one of them about a scar on his eyebrow and how he was a really good bar bouncer with a killer left-hook. I took a tiny break at Zara down the street because Ohio, my current geographical prison, doesn’t know what Zara is and it had been three months since I saw one. We also found what was the closest thing we had seen in Miami to a proper bodega and got a bacon, egg, and cheese. Bacon egg and cheeses in Miami are like $3 more expensive than in New York which was very surprising. But we did get to eat it while looking at ocean waves, and that’s worth those extra $3.
Saturday morning was pretty quiet. We kind of wandered around South Beach and walked down the strip when the sun came out, looking at all of the pastel art deco architecture, doing a mini-photoshoot and contemplating when we should go back to the Cucu’s Nest.
We hopped on some CitiBikes again and pedaled around until we reached Collins Park.
There was a ton of awesome sculptures and art hanging everywhere. I especially loved this piece inside this sarcophagus looking structure.
We were getting a little hungry so Megan was really brave and asked a group of older people who looked like they knew their way around if they knew of any fresh fish markets anywhere around us. There’s a wharf her dad takes her to in New Jersey where you can apparently eat fish that has just been caught and we figured that since we were near the ocean, we couldn’t be far from something like that. The group looked at each other puzzled, and then answered, “Have you ever been to Whole Foods?” And then preceded to very nicely and patiently give us directions to the nearest Whole Foods. We laughed about this for like an hour, as we found our way to the Cucu’s nest again.
This piece touched me in a way I can’t quite explain.
Which I recognized because they also have a couple of pieces in a very chic city called Covington, Kentucky.
Wynood was okay, but we wanted to dance without paying a cover or talking to a bouncer or standing in any lines. We heard The Pharmacy was having a party that night and there was no surge pricing on Uber so we hopped back across the bay to North Beach.
It was awesome, and probably the best decision we could have made for our last night in Miami. We made some new friends, drank $5 beers (a Miami rarity), and danced in a foggy abandoned pharmacy. Megan even made out with someone even though she was wearing black lipstick.
The perfect way to end any fever dream.
The next day Megan left me on an airplane back to Brooklyn. I had some reflective beach time to myself before flying back to my own northern winter prison.
I also spent the time before my flight wandering around and gathering some photography for my line of textiles inspired by natural textures. Miami has a lot of great manicured foliage.
I learned a lot from Art Basel, which I can condense into a pretty convenient list.
- Staying in a hostel is 100% worth it but bring shower shoes.
- Don’t be afraid to talk to the people showing work. Or anyone. Talk to literally everyone when you’re traveling. You never know who you’ll meet or what you’ll learn. Also people just like it when you express interest in their work.
- Spend money where it counts. Buy the tickets to the bigger fairs, but opt for cheap tacos for dinner.
- Twitter is usually only a place for jokes and people calling themselves “thought leaders”, but it’s actually a really good tool to find cheap pop-up events literally anywhere.
5. Don’t be scared of anything.
The weird impostor feeling you get when you walk into a gallery or a party where lots of people are wearing silk and cool glasses is in your head, and you can present whatever side of yourself you choose to a group of strangers. Every moment in life is a blank slate, and a chance to be brave, whether you’re presenting artwork to a client or trying to charm your way onto a yacht. It’s always better to take a risk, rather than ask yourself later why you didn’t.
And when one of your best friends asks you if you want to go to Art Basel with her, always say yes.
You can see all the photos I took, which is way more than I wanted to subject anyone to, here.