Monday September 19, 2005

The Lincoln Road effect

This guy came up recently on Artblog, though folks have been chuckling about him for months. He’s an artist/model being used to advertise a condo development in Wynwood. The joke is that (1) he’s not much of an artist and (2) unless he’s a stockbroker of lawyer by day, he’s not going to be able to afford $250,000 for 386 square foot efficiency. And if he can afford it, why’s he using brushes that cost $5 for a 10-pack? Brook, who snapped our picture, says

Update from the heart of Wynwood. That famous photo of the artist with the clean brushes is reproduced as a gigantic banner outside of the sales office here in da hood. Some clever artist(s) have graffitied the banner to add a big X over his mouth and a $ over his eye. I makes me smile everytime I drive by.

We’re biding our time. The cycle or artists moving into a poor neightborhood, attracting the rich, and getting squeezed out by rising rents has been repeated numerous times, even in a city as young as Miami (before lincoln rd it was coral gables). The smart (like Brook) buy early, and reap the benefits. But that doesn’t necessarily mean they get to stay. As high-rise condos go up, property value appraisals do, too, and with them taxes.

Let’s say you own a small apartment building in Wynwood. You see all this development happening , but let’s say you want to keep your rents low for the sake of your tennants.

Well, when your taxes start to go up, you’re essentially forced to raise the rent. Since your building isn’t nice enough to justify the increase in rent, the only option at that point is to sell, because you don’t have the money to kick everyone out and pay out-of-pocked for a 12-month restoration. Wow.

Mayor Many Diaz wanted to do something about it, changing the way appraisals are done to more favor these building owners, but it doesn’t look like it’s going to fly.

Update: Bonnie Clearwater touches on how all this has effected artists in the essay for Moca and Miami (this via The Next Few Hours):

In the late 1990’s, inexpensive rent made it attractive for artists to live in Miami. The real estate boom in recent years has made it difficult for artists to find affordable houses and studios, thus creating a great demand for subsidized studios at such places as Art Center/South Florida. It seems that as soon as they set down roots in one neighborhood and become involved in dynamic relationships with other artist residents, their homes are demolished to make room for condominiums or, more ironically, “artist” loft-type living.

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  1. juaninamillion    Tue Sep 20, 01:23 PM #  

    You should rename your site Bitchy Miami. If you have a problem with the ad campaign address the art director, stylist, and ad execs that took part, not the model, who happens to be an artist and does this as a day job. And he happens to live there now and has for awhile. You have day job (and btw don’t quit since you are a pretty horrible musician).
    $250k is small change in most neighborhoods in Miami, so why knock another artist if they are have the means to buy in? Jealous? Did you take part in the gentrification of South Beach or did you arrive after it was fashionable? Focus on the real issue Alesh and not your petty swipes.

  2. Tommy    Tue Sep 20, 09:14 PM #  

    One nice thing about buying a house cheap is that you can homestead it( and your taxes never change

  3. Defeded    Tue Sep 20, 09:29 PM #  

    I think the point is that the majority of “artists”, besides that dude that “owns” Romero Britto, will not feasibly be able to populate the recent upcrop of developments that are being so ridiculously marketed as artists’ havens.

    On the point of the gentleman pictured above – most would have trouble understanding how a self-respecting artist could vogue-it-up, by way of Home Depot trim brushes, for a big developer. Shirtless, at that. He could have at least been clad in a very clean smock (to match the brushes).

  4. I Don't Know    Wed Sep 21, 09:24 AM #  

    Wow, Alesh got tried. Whatever, I’m sure Juan wears hats, is a rich-kid and says “innovative” a lot. Or is an old sell-out.

    So, the model has nothing to do with this, right? Artists and people who care about things “bitch” when this sorta shit happens. Scenesters usually don’t mind.

    Also, why is it that mindless people always assume mindful people are jealous of their super funny, lavish, taste-less lifestyles. You old and/or MTV2 people who will never ever get it ever. AND, you are the ones trying to be bohemian, right? Who wants to be whom?

    The bubble will burst here soon, God willing, and the delusional, excessive and pretentious will leave forever.

  5. alesh    Wed Sep 21, 09:57 AM #  

    Richard Boprae may or may not be a professional model. There’s no problem with him modeling to earn a living. But the fact that he’s modeling as an artist, which he is in real life (however bad), and allowing his real name to be used to sell these so-called artist loft condos, amounts to an endorsement on his part.

    Since few actual artists will be able to live in this development (and yes, I would buy a unit if I could afford it), this ad campaign is a cynical attempt to make money by making rich people feel cool. Nothing wrong with trying to do that, either. The art director, stylist, and ad excecs are just doing their jobs (though pretty badly, I think). But Boprae, by openly endorsing the tactic, has invited all the redicule he’s received.

    $250k is small change nowadays, true. But look at the info page: the prices start in the mid-200’s. That means the cheapest unit is in the mid-200’s. Now hear this: the cheapest unit is 384 square feet. As someone who’s felt cramped in a 500+ sq foot studio apartment, I feel pretty well justified in telling you that this shit is overpriced.

    80% of the condos sold in S. Fla these days are to speculators, many real homebuyers are using interest-only loans, and some wannabe hipster morons have some unplesant suprises coming in the next 5 years.

  6. ART    Wed Sep 21, 10:39 AM #  

    “juaninamillion” This “artist” sold out plain and simple. there is no justification for his crap. this ad would be crap if he was a model modeling to be an artist the fact that this guy actually thinks he is a “painter” just invites justifiable graffiti.

  7. Juaninamillion    Thu Sep 22, 10:55 AM #  

    To be fair, the billboard shows an artist modeling for Cynergi. It’s his image and not his art. I don’t see how he “is selling out”, in fact he’s buying in. Would you rather another artist be depicted? Purvis Young? Oh how about Naomi Fisher’s ass shot?

    Yes the ad is laughable with the shirtless pose and paintless Home Depot brushes. And yes the idea of marketing condos for an “art crowd” is lame. But Wynwood is was declared by Miami officials, when, 2 years ago that it was a designated arts district. That’s what the banners proclaim. They should have read “temporary arts district.” Why not show up at the leasing offices dressed in berets holding palettes? Welding masks, or covered in clay? How long before the developers kick us out?

    So again, the ad and campaign is stupid, but leave the artists art out of it. There are many artworlds you may find.

  8. ART    Thu Sep 22, 11:04 AM #  

    I would rather a fake artist be depicted. I don’t see Purvis Young or Naomi Fisher doing these ads. I think they have more self respect.

  9. Wake up!    Thu Sep 22, 12:46 PM #  

    Who would shell out the dough to live next to or below Purvis or Naomi?
    It’s a job ding dong.

  10. alesh    Thu Sep 22, 01:34 PM #  

    I didn’t say he “sold out,” juan. that would be the case if he’s licensed one of his paintings to be used in the ad (i can’t imagine any art director who would want to use them). He’s alowing an image of himself to be used, and the manner in which it is used (ie with his name, and identifying him as an artist) gives it the ring of an endorsement.

    I think pictures of actual art stars, even if less actractive then Boprae, would have been much more effective if they’d been used. But of course the art directors knew that any actually successful artist would refuse to be in their ad. I doubt they even asked.

  11. Merkin    Thu Sep 22, 02:53 PM #  

    The dogs bark, but the caravan rolls on.

  12. soso    Fri Sep 23, 05:33 PM #  

    This ad campaign REEKS. and that artist does indeed suck balls!