It’s that time of year when that warm breeze brings in the smell of toxic spray paint and the white tents start adorning our Miami Skyline. Art Basel 2015, its consequent art related events, and satellite fairs, promise to be an amazing opportunity for personal growth. And, as always the art promises to inspire. When done right, Art Week in Miami can set in motion enough inspiration to fuel your creativity well into next year. However, aging past my 20s and the naïveté of the past, I am well aware that I am no longer the artsy bohemian girl from my college days. With maturity comes a refined taste in art and art-inspired events. If, like me, you are just beginning to accept this paradigm shift in your own culture without forgoing on this quintessential week in Miami’s culture, then what follows is a comprehensive list of tips for surviving Miami Art Week during Art Basel (bah-zil) even in your thirties.

  1. If you can’t stand the heatThe fact is, artists have always been known to travel less conventional roads in order to push the limits of art as we know it. Miami Art Week is the annual culmination of year-long button pushing. If you are easily offended, squeamish, or overly conservative then you may find that many of the artists will challenge you to come out of your comfort zone. If it gets to be too unbearable, simply walk away. You need not stand in front of a live art performance piece rolling your eyes bringing everyone down with your intolerance, just move on and take your judgmental glares with you.
  1. Reserve your critiques and commentaries for your partner, blog, or self. You may not realize that an artist is within an earshot of you when you decide to compare a work of art to your toddler’s affinity for playing with their own feces. Part of your narrow artistic vision may stem from the fact that you have become so impatient with your own child’s unsolicited works of art that it may have affected your threshold for questionably abstract pieces. This does not give you permission to trash others’ artistic expressions the way you do your child’s. Instead, be mindful that art enthusiasts will surround you and most do not appreciate being belittled. And if you are the artist, take those opinions with a grain of salt on the brim of a carefully crafted complimentary cocktail, and indulge in this expertly curated experience.
  1. Up your fashion game. This one is hard for me, as you may have read about here and here. However, most people in Miami who aren’t as challenged as I am in this department recognize that fashion is one of the oldest art forms. In fact, many of the events in and around Art Basel are fashion related and there are going to be plenty of photo ops. Stick to solids so that in photographs you are not an eyesore that can eventually be edited out. Think about ways you can enhance the art instead of compete with it and then intentionally dress accordingly.
  1. When in doubt, accessorize with intellect. If you find that the advice above is a tough pill to swallow then just stick to the basics. Wear black, comfortable flats, and be so charming no one will care what you are wearing. Oftentimes we forget that with age comes experience. By the time you hit your thirties, you have gained enough experience in these social interactions to compensate for the areas in which you lack. So, keep the attire simple, and the conversations complex. Don’t be afraid to own up to your opinions about the use of color in that mural or the amount of movement in a certain piece. Wear confidence, and wear it brilliantly.
  1. Have fun. The Wynwoodites can fool you into thinking you must be serious and dark about all things at all times. But that’s not what Art Week in Miami is about at all. If you misquote your art history textbooks because you haven’t been inside a gallery since your college days, don’t fret. Smile it off. Chances are the people around you will be so ebullient from the complimentary cocktails and the music blaring so loudly, they won’t even have noticed. Instead dance to your own beat and create your own opportunities for beauty and art.

The fun officially begins Dec. 3, 2015 and runs through the weekend. I hope this post inspires you to attend as many art related events this week as your heart desires, rather than staying home out of fear of having a mid-week existential crisis.

New Roads

Chevy challenges you with its slogan “Find New Roads” to find new ways to achieve the unthinkable. To develop a new route towards your destination to betterment and empowerment. The fact is, this has been the code immigrant Hispanic-Americans have been living by for decades, myself included.

I grew up in Miami in the early 90s. Memories of eating hot-dogs while listening to Oscar de Leon’s Que Bueno Baila Usted and then listening to John Mellencamp’s Small Town and eating arepas make up the environmental paradox that forms my iconic America. I’ve often struggled with the feelings of displacement that stem from emigrating before even entering kindergarten. My perception of America has been engrained in my existence prior to even living here. My first word was in English, my mother’s first car was a red 1965 Ford Mustang and my father had plans to move here even before my conception.  The fact is that Miami has been my gateway to an education. I was a citizen long before obtaining that blue passport and there is nothing more American than that.

What do your nails say about you?

Vanity NailsEven before arriving at Vanity Projects, I was already feeling the pressure of writing this post; pressure which manifested itself in the form of worry, anxiety, and fear; three emotional states which have become synonymous with me in the past year.  I knew for my first blog post I had to choose something that felt as though it represented Miami, while at the same time, it had to be a project that resonated with me personally. So, I chose Vanity Projects to write about for a simple reason: any friend of poetry is a friend of mine. Their involvement at O, Miami’s annual month-long poetry festival inspired me to think about art in a new way. I never thought to unite art with vanity. In this case, uniting the written word with aesthetic vanity would never have appealed to me because in the past that had seemed so, well…vain.