Beatriz Monteavaro had recently moved into a warehouse space in Allapattah that she shares with her husband Gavin Perry and fellow artist Gean Moreno. In a huge open space with shifting work boundaries, the three distinct practices mingled as in a group exhibition. One corner, clad with electronic guitars, amplifiers, and a drum set, marked the territory for Holly Hunt, the two-person band of Monteavaro and Perry. (pictured above) A few set lists were posted on the wall. The couple appropriated the band’s name from an upscale furnishings store in Miami’s Design District which has consequently flooded the duo with cease and desist orders.
Nearby was a bookshelf hosting a cast of ghoulish masks, superheroes, and Godzillas, many of which have made appearances in Monteavaro’s noir narratives (pictured right). Monteavaro’s paintings involving vampire and monster scenes evoke pre-Columbian compositions with a flattened pictorial space and recurring visuals of temples, pyramids, and volcanic activity. Monteavaro’s depiction of a spirit world, however, is more closely connected to the gods of ‘80s rock. In this dark cosmology, a crater might double as a UFO.
Next to the shrine of good versus evil was an electronic accoutrement with a t-shirt stretched over it of one of Monteavaro’s early heroes, Adam Ant (pictured below). But, she noted, “Skeletor is more my mascot right now. Adam Ant——he maybe used to be real important but he’s not that important anymore.” Monteavaro has appeared wearing a skeleton t-shirt during many of the band’s performances.
Monteavaro explained that her practice had been shifting since she started playing again a few years back. She had originally begun at twelve, but had set it aside when she started art school. “In a way all the artwork I had been doing all that time——with me being outside of music——was a longing kind of thing. Maybe in the same way that the toys and action figures are a longing for something in the past. It’s different now because I am playing in a band. It’s less fantasy and more reality.” Some of Monteavaro’s recent work includes sculptures such as Gimme Shelter (2012), a cave-like structure haphazardly constructed of what appears to be black abstract paintings. Small, it is big enough for a human to sleep in.
While visiting with artists in Miami, I often found myself in ‘crackhead’ neighborhoods, most likely because of the less expensive rental fees. Artists I spoke with there seemed to have long ago accepted any interactions with crack addicts as an inevitable part of having a studio there. For Monteavaro, one consistent character has been Joachim, a crackhead in Little Haiti who used to hang out around Churchill’s, an English rock bar. “He still hangs around there sometimes. Back in the day, for a quarter—or for a cigarette—he would do a portrait for you. But now he wants, like, two bucks. I saw him the other day and I hadn’t seen him in a long time. I had a pen and a piece of paper, so I was like here—do what you want.” In his drawing at right, pictured left to right, Perry and Monteavaro.