November 29, 2015


KAABOO Del Mar to take Art Basel
By Miya Tsukazaki Video by Cory S. Martin.

KAABOO Del Mar (think ‘grown-up Coachella’) cannonballed into the festival circuit this past September, blowing some of its less-artsy peers straight outta the water. The smorgasbord of adult experiences complete with lobster rolls, cigar bars, hot air balloon rides, and poolside cabanas was not what impressed me, nor was it the fact that there were over a hundred musical acts and seven stages. Nbd, right? The kicker that ‘shocked the shit’ out of me (aside from all of the snazz) was the outright blatant scale of the visual arts. Guys, this platform was MAJOR! Rather than off in a remote corner (“ahem, can I get some flood lights so I can finish my mural?”), KAABOO’s visual art element was front and center. I would even go as far to say that the fine art design was flat out unavoidable. It filled every view plane – gargantuan entryways plastered with Jet Martinez’s iconic flowers, 30-foot-tall freestanding trusses with live artists like Tatiana Suarez and Pow! Wow! Worldwide’s Kamea Hadar, seven outdoor music stages adorned with artworks by renowned artists such as Brendan Monroe and Ian Ross. Concert headliners like No Doubt, The Killers, 311, Snoop Dogg, and The Roots also probably didn’t hurt the situation.

This new breed of visual journey, which KAABOO dubbed the ‘Artwork Experience,’ featured an entire art fair, sculptures, and a nicely curated roster of street art vets like Aaron Glasson, Apex, Amandalynn, Celeste Byers, HOT TEA, Hueman, and Risk, just to name the bare minimum. For those accustomed to what has become a standardized (if you will) mural festival circuit that has seemingly proven to exist at all edges of the universe… this was different. It was a weird explosion of the senses. Aside from the obvious fact that this was an enormous (and expensive) production, KAABOO took the visual arts component up several notches. But, who’s complaining? No one – which is precisely the point. We want MORE, we want BIGGER, we want MORE BADASS.

Ask, and you shall receive. Without hesitation, KAABOO has secured festival dates in 2016 with big plans to ensure their presence in the public art scene by undertaking several art activations throughout the year. To jumpstart this, they’ve announced a mural project at Smashed Canvas this week at (you guessed it!) the clusterfuck that is Art Basel Miami. Working in tandem with veteran mural curators PangeaSeed Foundation and Urban Nation, KAABOO Artwork will sponsor a lineup of well-respected artists in the game, including 1010, Aaron Glasson, Amandalynn, Caratoes, James Bollough, Jason Botkin, Kamea Hadar, Li-Hill, Nevercrew, Onur and Wes21, SEPE, and Tatiana Suarez.
Let me just close this by giving some props to the brains behind this newfound platform – San Francisco-based street and fine artist Amandalynn, KAABOO’s Creative Director. She sums it up quite gracefully: “All of us at KAABOO sought to visually communicate a cohesive message, elevating the art experience to the extreme level that we believe it should be showcased at,” she says, a twinkle in her eye. I’m not sure whether it’s ambition or exhaustion. Either way you play it, KAABOO’s message is strong: Visual stimulation is an undeniable necessity in creating a truly encompassing experience – and I really do hope they continue to plow ahead (guns blazing) and continue to raise the bar to exhibit and elevate contemporary art within the festival realm.

KAABOO Artwork video recap by Cory S. Martin.

Look out for the KAABOO artists next week, who will display artworks within the ‘Smashed Canvas’ area of Wynwood, Miami (NW2nd Ave – 28th NW Street) during December 2 – 6, 2015.

Follow them on Instagram @KAABOOArtwork for all of the up to the minute Art Basel action.

Photos By: Matt Powers, Jason Wilson, Micah Wright, Brandon Shigeta, Enriqueta Arias, & Zane Meyer