If you made it to the epic Fancy Nasty finale bonfire last Saturday night, hosted by The New Tropic, lucky YOU. If not … next time (we’re just warming up). Many people are calling this grassroots installation and Art Basel favorite an important milestone in Miami’s creative evolution, one whose purity will evoke smiles and hand-to-heart respect for decades. I don’t disagree.
My name is Stuart Sheldon. I’m both very fancy and very nasty, a fine artist, author, curator, blogger, Build Crew non-profit co-founder and Miami native. I created Fancy Nasty to let both artists I admired and art-lovers, like you, immerse themselves without limitations. Free from any commercial considerations. Knowing the whole things was to be scraped away by bulldozers.
With Build Crew, we fully intend to produce many more site-specific celebrations in the years ahead. More art for art’s sake. So, hit me with YOUR ideas for venues and concepts. And visit me in my studio any time. Learn more about my creative journey here. Together, let’s continue to throw logs on the bonfire of Miami’s stunning creative ascent.
In the Meantime, chew on these delicious mementos of the Fancy Nasty freak show!!!
If you have not already, check out The New Tropic’s wonderful write-up.
“So, what do you do,” an attractive woman asked me at a party in Colorado years ago. “I’m a filmmaker,” I said, taking a swig of Fat Tire. I’d just produced a TV commercial, my first, for the magazine where I worked. When she stepped away a few minutes later, a friend sitting nearby said, “So now you’re a filmmaker, huh?” His snide tone cut me.
In the ten years prior, I’d been a stockbroker, a film student, a production assistant, a chauffeur and an ad salesman. Was I a filmmaker? I certainly dreamed to be. Did I get paid for my commercial? No.
Recently, I heard a wise man say, “We tend to grow into the labels we place on ourselves.”
No one shaped-shifted more or better than David Bowie. He was Ziggy Stardust … because he said so. And a huge swath of the world thought him batshit crazy for it. But he never flinched. Very few of us take the idea of persona as far as Bowie, and even fewer have the courage to withstand being mocked for our choices. Yet, at some point, we must each ask ourselves the question – What am I? And then we must publicly affirm it … whatever it is … without hiding behind the fear that perhaps our self description is inaccurate.
No one else gets to define you. So make that definition count.
“Fake it till you make it,” is another way to put it. A mantra I’ve somehow succeeded by.
The moment I sold my first painting for $250, I was a professional artist, as far as I was concerned. Why? Because I said so. And because that is who I always wanted to be. Could I pay the rent? Hell no. But I’d crossed a threshold and decided to make it more than just a cute moment.
The haters and skeptics will always project onto you their own fear and unwillingness to live their truths. They don’t, nor will they ever, have the backbone to put their passion first. I was thirty-eight when I sold that first painting, ten years into my creative odyssey. James Michener wrote his first book at forty.
“For years and years I roamed, I gazed a gazeless stare.” David Bowie, from ‘The Man Who Sold the World’ (1970)
I too gazed a gazeless stare for years … out the window of the penthouse where I sold stocks and bonds. I didn’t have the guts, like Bowie, to hang it out there as an artist at the time. That fear cut a deep wound. But wounds heal. Now, twenty five years later, my fears of being who I truly am have evolved into fears of being excellent at who I truly am … a very material distinction.
I want my children to not only dream big but chase their big dreams. Catching them is secondary. It’s the chase that builds the muscles … in our hearts and minds. Sometimes, we do catch them. My butterfly net is full right now. And I’m giggling with amazement.
I’m delighted to share with you this stunning write-up from The New Tropic Magazine, chronicling my best work to date.
Thank you, David Bowie, for a lifetime of ruthless courage and left-field genius. You showed us all how it’s done for 50 years non-stop!
World-renownded street artist,t_w_o_o_n_e(Hiroyasu Tsuri) didn’t know what he wanted to do with his life as high school ended in 2003. This posed a big problem, because in Japan you’re supposed to choose your life path at that time, and few ever veer from it.
Not ready to pull that trigger, Hiro bolted the comfort of his native land for Australia, because he desired to learn English, and it was nearer than England. He’d heard of Sydney, so he chose Melbourne, about which he knew nothing.
Hanging at his local one night soon after arriving, Hiro noticed some interesting drawings on the bathroom stall. Whimsically, he grabbed a pencil and added his own flourishes to the existing marks. When he returned the next evening, he noticed that the original artist had drawn his own fresh additions to Hiro’s marks. Over the next few days, the bathroom installation grew and grew, as two total strangers dialogued in spontaneous illustration. Hiro finally met his toilet collaborator, and they became fast friends who began drawing together in public places. Not long after, that pub hosted a show for Hiro, where he sold work and, lucky for the rest of us, realized his path.
A few weeks ago, I stood at my grill flipping sausages for a gathering of Fancy Nasty artists who’d flown in from various parts of Europe, Asia and South America.
We sipped beers and philosophized about our work, our families, our dreams. All the while, Hiro, now 30, sat drawing on the brown paper in which the sausages had been wrapped. His eyes twinkled when I asked him if I could keep it. “Surely,” he said in soft, musical, perfect English.
In the days that followed, my new friend got busy. Hiro’s first of two exterior walls featured a man’s resolute profile, perhaps a shaman or warrior preparing for battle.
What struck me was how, after Hiro rendered the face perfectly, he chose to mar it with slashes of pink, as if to say, perfection is overrated and life is made compelling by one’s scars.
The next time I saw the face, Hiro had overlaid it with a bird. When I asked him about it, he said, “When I go to a new place to paint, I like to research the local wildlife. I discovered that the turkey vulture is popular here.” When he said “turkey vulture,” I got chills. “Hiro, do you see that island,” I said, pointing to a cluster of mangroves 300 meters from where we stood. “That is a turkey vulture sanctuary.” Within minutes, turkey vultures swirled high above us.
These past 6 months, crystalizing the vision that became Fancy Nasty, have been some of the most serendipitous and satisfying of my life as an artist … and a person.
Not just because the work that we each made was strong. But because a group of disparate personalities, from the far corners of the globe, each understood immediately the opportunity, and proceeded to roll up their sleeves, put their heads down and get their jobs done, said job being to pull forth from their chests the very beating heart that makes them creative geniuses. Each recognized that Fancy Nasty was not just another art show but an affirmation, in a fraught world, that creative purity abounds, non-commercial excellence compels and mystical connectivity, when acknowledged, spins straw into gold.
Hiro is gone, swept off to paint his next masterpiece in Paris and then who knows where. Ditto many of the twenty majestic creatures who touched down briefly, sprinkled their fairy dust and flew away.
To each, I bow humbly, and say, WOW! Thank you for creating with me one of the highlights of my life! And for helping to inaugurate Build Crew, the non-profit I founded with friends to help artists build, install and place public art.
We just can’t stop!
Come unwind with the artists
THIS FRIDAY NIGHT (Dec 18th)
around the Fancy Nasty firepit
9pm – ??
5625 North Bayshore Drive in Morningside
Don’t take my word for it. Here is what Fusion TV had to say about Fancy Nasty:
Fancy Nasty is all over Instagram at #FancyNasty and #thegoldhouse.
If you missed it,read more about it hereandsee more photos here. Message me for a private tour before the show gets scraped off the planet by bulldozers next month. And, if you’re the media, hit me to cover the destruction of the installation with all this killer art inside.
You’re not fooling anybody. We all know you’re BOTH!
Let’s celebrate the light and the dark in each of us.
Welcome to FANCY NASTY!
For Art Basel 2015, a renegade crew of multi-disciplinary artists have taken control of a huge, soon-to-be-demolished home in an affluent neighborhood in the heart of Miami’s art scene.
Knowing the whole thing will be bulldozed shortly after, each artist has approached the space with the unfettered swagger that typifies a city known as much for raunch as it is for glamour. Destruction is the sweaty lover of construction. And ephemerality befalls even our best laid plans. Miami is almost unrecognizable from just a few years ago. And the Miami you visit today, like the venue for this exhibition, will be gone by the time you return.
If you’re coming to Art Basel, join us. If not, tell someone who is that they are sincerely welcome.