It’s 4:00 pm and Ahol Sniffs Glue is waiting for us at Frame Art Inc. in Brickell, Miami, the most beautiful frame store – and art gallery – in town, which Mr. Alfredo Zayden, the owner, has made entirely available to David Anasagasti (Ahol Sniffs Glue’s real name): a corner of paradise nestled in the Miami skyline. “We’re a family,” says Ahol Sniffs Glue referring to Alfredo and his people, who helped him stretch the canvases.
The name by which David signs himself -Ahol Sniffs Glue- is a piece of history that the artist wanted to carry with him in his parabolic evolution, to say the least. “It’s a really good feel to see people look at your work on the wall because they care about you and that is something that I can’t forget and it keeps me grounded”, says Ahol Sniffs Glue.
It’s starting to rain outside, but this is a factor that doesn’t seem to interest the artist, who tells us how fundamental it is to be able to see the good in things even in the negativity of a rainy moment.
A pearl of wisdom that in fact also represents his way of living life with simplicity and humility: “It’s my obligation to stay busy, not loose focus on what the big picture is, never forget where I came from, stay humble and don’t be changed by money, and keep it in a simple mind”, says Ahol Sniffs Glue, who doesn’t shy away from philanthropic causes, mindful of his childhood that offered him -very early and without discount- the chance to get his priorities straight in life.
Each painting process is carefully recorded by the artist because as he claims: ”If I don’t record, the people only see the surface of the canvas, they don’t see the whole process, even when I make a mistake: it’s a never ending story, to make mistakes is inside the human-being, it is what it is”.
The artist, of Cuban descent, was born and raised in Hialeah, and approached the art of graffiti twenty years ago, making it a full-fledged profession a decade ago.
A work that with intelligence, and with the help of trusted collaborators, he puts to good use in a total way, aware of the fact that in the game of the parts all those involved must benefit. “I try to do everything that I can to make sure that their investment is protected and also at the same time this is my mean “burner in the kitchen”.I want to be better than the others but I still elevate the others and never forget about it’, said the artist. Ahol Sniffs Glue’s works now reach almost $999,000.00, with the work “Wisdom Teeth” presented at Locus Projects, as part of the project “SAVE YOUR SELVES”, by Huffer Collective: the work consists of wisdom teeth that the artist extracted and then encapsulated in resin.
While also depicting actual characters come to life, digitally through the computer, his focus is on one specific body part that Ahol Sniffs Glue repeats over and over again: the eye.
The eyes are in fact, historically, the symbolic part par excellence, what distinguishes one individual from another: they are the mirror of the soul. It is by working on this small part that Ahol Sniffs Glue focuses the viewer’s attention: “Say a lot with a little”, as the artist declares.
Ahol Sniffs Glue’s are grotesque eyes that watch us from walls, sidewalks, street signs and any surface that lends itself to being painted. Scattered in every corner of the city, the artist also represents them on the garbage: a way to do some cleaning.
They are solitary eyes, eyes that overlap, eyes that brush against each other and overlap; in solid colors, veered in all shades or with the addition of more colors, which do not follow any particular harmonic theory, but that the artist manages to combine in a great way in his compositions.
The eye of Ahol Sniffs Glue is a sly eye, the ever-awake eye of the city that never sleeps; it is the eye that represents the Magic City with its rhythms, its energy and its strength but also its “shit”. The city in which he was born and raised; the city that he has never denied but, on the contrary, has emphasized in every way: from the story of his life in the episode of TED Talk in which he took part rather than in the video “Biscayne World” on Vimeo.
In “Biscayne World,” in particular, the artist pays homage to the people of Biscayne he meets on the bus, with their bitterness and routine, and thanks to a stylized and very appealing digital graphic construction, they come to life on the notes of Otto Von Schirach’s song, “Biscayne Block Boyz.”
7-Cleaning the cityHis unmistakable style and notoriety have led him to exhibit at the Bass Museum of Art in Miami Beach and to recently take part in an artist residency at The Confidante Hotel, the “on the beach” branch of the Museum of Graffiti in Wynwood, with which he collaborates and where he currently exhibits his work.
In the past he collaborated with Swatch for the realization of a limited edition watch that sold out and he published a book: “Cellular Fuckery”, also sold-out. The title comes from the fact that he was once the mastermind of the crazy parties in Miami for which he made flyers working continuously with his cell phone.
Ahol Sniffs Glue is currently working at Florida International University-FIU’s Ratcliffe Art + Design: one of the most innovative spaces for art and design entrepreneurship, where the artist receives a year-long mentorship program that has allowed him to work with robotics to advance his projects. “I really want to understand why people love and support my work”, says Ahol Sniffs Glue as he moves back and forth from the canvas that he made especially for the interview. While observing him work we ask him what is the secret of his perfectly executed eyes. The artist smiles amused and replies: “practice, practice and practice, nothing but practice”, a dispassionate advice that he gives to all those who intend to approach street art. Not bad for an artist who says that for him “Basel time is all year long”.
Now there are no more excuses and if you live in Miami or if you plan to go there and be enchanted by street art remember the sleeping eye belongs to him, to Ahol Sniffs Glue.
(on the title: Ahol Sniffs Glue and his dog at The Confidante, Miami)