BLINK Cincinnati will go down south to shed some light in Miami Beach, Fla. next month during Art Basel, where the team behind the project will participate in Basel House, an annual festival where contemporary art abounds. (Need a refresher? Check out our slideshow on BLINK here.) The free Basel House fest (now in its sixth year) celebrates street art and murals, while also featuring other art installations, vendors, live music, DJs and more.
One of the world's biggest international art fairs, Art Basel (which was founded in 1970) is also hosted in Hong Kong and Basel, Switzerland. Miami’s slice boasts 260 galleries showcasing work from 33 countries by more than 4,000 artists.
Where do the guys from BLINK fit in? Dan Reynolds of Brave Berlin says their group — a partnership between Cincinnati-based Brave Berlin, AGAR and Xylene — has secured a 100-foot-wide wall in the heart of the Basel House festival. Located within Miami’s Wynwood district, they’ll paint a mural and then map a projection over top.
Art Basel — which takes place Dec. 6-9 this year — is something that Andrew Salzbrun and Josh Heuser of AGAR have been attending for years. After BLINK was rolled out last year to major success, Salzbrun says they were at the event for another project when the Basel House organizers approached them, having seen work from BLINK, and offered the group a spot in this year's fest.
According to Salzbrun, it will be the first time that a mural has been specifically designed for projection mapping at Art Basel.
“They quickly let us know that they knew of BLINK,” Reynolds says. “That it was on their radar and they were thrilled to have us come back and do some activations for BLINK.”
Artists from local art collective Xylene will paint the physical mural. (They also painted BLINK’s Huetopia, located a block from Findlay Market at 1674 Central Pkwy.)
The entire process — from putting the mural together and creating the projection — will take place in a few short weeks. Salzbrun says they'll drive down to Miami Nov. 30 to start painting and be finished by the opening day of Basel House. The Brave Berlin crew will arrive on Dec. 6 and make the map projection. The mural will go live Dec. 7 and be on display through Dec. 9.
“What we wanted to do is pick up some of the themes of unity, a future city — some of the themes that we wove throughout BLINK here," Reynolds says. “And we wanted to make murals that are telling that story and reviving that style of mural.”
Basically, they want to create something that fits in with Art Basel’s vibe, but also weave in nods to its Queen City roots, all the while keeping it — as Reynolds says — “authentically artful.”
“Stylistically, the mural that they’re painting is very similar to the one that was here in Cincinnati,” Reynolds says. “It’s similar to the Huetopia style, and that’s purposeful. We want to harken as much as we can to some of the work we did at BLINK.”
Miami’s Art Basel may not be the only road trip for BLINK Cincinnati. Reynolds says they’re hoping to stop at a few more festivals before setting their own city ablaze for BLINK’s 2019 incarnation. But Salzbrun says it's all tentative — they have to see what works with budgeting and timing — but they are looking at festivals between Miami and Cincinnati. He describes their future on-the-road plans as a kind of "caravan-style story" where the BLINK can spread to new places.
"It's awesome to be able to take the story of our community and the creative talent that's here, and the special moments that were in BLINK 2017, and be able to just share that out," Salzbrun says. "The idea of the 'Future City' and the manifesto that we built, along with it is an ideology that's super relatable to lots of communities across the country."
For more information on Basel House, click here.