Wonderland.

EMERGING… KIKI VALDES

Cuban (via New York City) artist Kiki Valdes was last week whipped up by Miami-based agency Michael Margulies – he spoke to Wonderland about the prestigious new appointment, and his expressionist style.

Tell us about your work.

I like to feel good; making art is feeling really good, even when you can’t figure out what you are doing. It’s still a good thing, you are in the moment and nobody is looking over your shoulder telling you what to do. Think about it, you are creating something. Who doesn’t want to create something? I like creating paintings all the time. It feels good for culture and for the kids. It makes my mum happy, too. Everyone wins. I am creating work the way I felt when I first saw Matisse. When I paint I think about kids in the future looking at it. What will kids in the future like? Oh yes, okay… let’s paint that!

Describe a day in the life of Kiki Valdes.

I live on the edge, because I live on a hill and I drive a pickup truck. I go to Dunkin Donuts on a Friday night and I go to Korean bars. I paint in the garage of a house owned by Albanian immigrants. I sleep ’til noon sometimes because I have a hard time sleeping, not because I’m hungover. I sleep with a hammer beside my bed and a painting as a headboard.

You have recently relocated from Miami to New York. What impact has the move had on your career so far?

In Miami, I was always “sort of” living my dream; in New York I am very much living my dream. You can’t really get a good turkey sandwich in Miami like you could up here.

How does the art scene in Miami differ from the art scene in New York?

Th art scene in Miami is very small; the art scene in New York is like going to the airport. You have no idea who actually lives near by.

What made you choose to join the Margulies Agency?

Michael Margulies isn’t an art dealer, he works with galleries and collectors. I think it’s cool. I think that makes sense for the way I like to work. Everyone I ever met that is young and into art dealing in Miami in particular, I never got a sense they could get anything done when it comes to auction houses. With Mike, I feel he can get anything done. Him and his family are true art patrons. He has a good heart and his intensity only add points.

How and when did you first link up with Mike Margulies?

At my last show “The Outsiders”, he told me we should collaborate somehow. Knowing I wasn’t living in Miami, I knew I had to find someone who could take my work to the next level. It became increasingly clear that I can’t do this by myself anymore. We discussed it over a few beers at an Irish Pub on St. Patricks day. We finalised it when I flew down to South Beach a few weeks ago. When my family cut me a Cuban cake, I knew it was for real.

Words: Heike Wollenweber

EMERGING… KIKI VALDES

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