In Conversation: Symbiosis: When Ocean Meets Asphalt

Join multidisciplinary artist Gustavo Oviedo and Alan Ket, co-founder and curator of the Museum of Graffiti, as they discuss “Symbiosis,” Oviedo’s visually arresting exhibition that reflects a highly personal, self-taught […]


In Conversation: Symbiosis: When Ocean Meets Asphalt

Authors:Gustavo Oviedo, Alan Ket


Join multidisciplinary artist Gustavo Oviedo and Alan Ket, co-founder and curator of the Museum of Graffiti, as they discuss “Symbiosis,” Oviedo’s visually arresting exhibition that reflects a highly personal, self-taught style of art.

Exploring the relationship between the bustle of Miami’s vibrant metropolitan streets and the tranquility of Biscayne Bay’s aquatic life, currents, and marine dystopia, Oviedo’s pieces includes large paintings of loose sea-like forms, mixed media collages, and visual representations of otherworldliness devoid of human language or graffiti letters. His palette is as colorful as the brightest coral reefs dipped in fluorescent pigments, and his ocean discoveries of shipwrecks, corals, and found pieces of pollution give power to his creative output and to a body of work that is rooted in marine life – and the impact of the streets of Miami he once prolifically tagged. The artist’s offerings convey the beauty of our waters, but scream out that he is not naïve to the recurring problem of humankind’s disrespect for our natural resources.

Oviedo’s book shares its name with the exhibition, and includes images from across his entire catalog of work inspired by Biscayne Bay. Through his ongoing 131 Projects, the artist created the graphic identity of Miami Book Fair Online’s new multimedia initiative, Here in Florida.

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Gustavo Oviedo

Gustavo Oviedo was born in Paris but grew up in France, Colombia, Venezuela, and Mexico before settling in Miami. Painting graffiti was a means to learn Miami, connect with other teenagers and have a common language that helped him adapt to a new, foreign culture. Oviedo eventually broke away from the clandestine world of graffiti and decided to explore a part of Miami that didn’t include abandoned buildings and construction sites—the Biscayne Bay. Symbiosis includes large paintings of loose sea-like forms, mixed media collages, and visual representations of otherworldliness devoid of human language or graffiti letters. His ocean discoveries of shipwrecks, corals, and found pieces of pollution give power to his creative output as he puts the spotlight on the recurring problem of mankind’s disrespect for this natural resource. Gustavo Oviedo: Symbiosis, on view from October 17 to November 14, 2020, curated by Museum of Graffiti Co-Founders Alan Ket and Allison Freidin.

Alan Ket

Alan Ket is an artist, author, and graffiti historian. He is the co-founder of the Museum of Graffiti, which opened last December in Wynwood, a Miami neighborhood that, as the museum’s website notes, “was transformed by graffiti artists into the largest open-air gallery in the world.”  Alan has curated graffiti and street art related exhibitions at venues such as Fondation Cartier in Paris, PowerHouse Arena in Brooklyn, 55DSL in New York City, and the MOCA in Los Angeles. He was involved in several publishing ventures Stress, a hip-hop magazine; Complex, a men’s fashion magazine, Vibe, From Here to Fame, and SlamxHype. He  is also the author of  several books including Graffiti Planet, Street Art, and Graffiti Tattoo. His photographs have appeared in publications such as Rolling Stone, The New York Times Magazine, The London Sunday Telegraph, The Source, and Vibe.

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