Does Anybody Know Where Joaquin Is At?

Art Basel, Miami Art Week, and Arthur Godfrey all brought their talents to town to pimp and prostitute their wares to the world in different eras. I salute them all for putting Miami on the map for art and music – and also for the dog and pony show of the have and have-nots of the world. I have many a friend that can survive as an artist here because of stuff like this. Of course, so much more has contributed to art here in the land of Coppertone beach bunnies, but it’s Art Week and I have a show to do.

My wife and I have been novice art collectors for decades. Our interests lean towards outsider, untrained, proletariat, brut and eclectic art. We also support local artists and the NAEMI organization that displays the art of folks with mental health issues. Over the past three decades we traveled the South. We met artists and collected some pretty cool stuff.

I am also a musician which means I hung out at Churchill’s a lot If you hung out at Churchill’s in the 1990s or 2000s you probably met Joaquin at some point. He was the street portrait artist that pestered the patrons for a dollar a drawing because he was hungry. You may still have your portrait and if you do, you can be part of Art Week too.

See, I decided to collect Joaquin’s portraits. I wanted to see how things developed, if they changed, and if he was really paying attention. I amassed over 50 drawings throughout the years, at first mostly between 1996 to about 2003. As years went by he would disappear and reappear and I would get more. In 2011 we had not seen Joaquin in a while and I decided to have a Joaquin art show at Churchill’s, during Art Week! Dave Daniels thought it was genius. Chuck Loose and I made some prints and a bunch of bands played. It was called “Art vs. Rock”. Lo and behold, a few months after the event Joaquin reappeared. In 2013 and 2014 he appeared at I.N.C., the noise vermin fest that Rat Bastard puts on. Joaquin and I even sang out front.

So, as the art world surrounds us and takes over the town this year, I’ve decided with my co-conspirator, MLE, to have another retrospective of Joaquin’s work. I acquired at least a dozen more drawings since the 2011 art show and 2014, with his work being noticeably different. We started with an idea of zines and  t-shirts of a drawing of the band I hadn’t yet used. And of course, displaying my collection of his art. The zine idea turned into a very limited folk art sorta catalog of the show. Chuck Loose came through with the t-shirts and Sweat Records seemed the place for the show since it’s on the block where all of this art was drawn. We’re also DJ-ing vinyl of bands who may have played while Joaquin was outside drawing, and there will definitely be some interactive musical shenanigans from the you-know-whos and Rat Bastard.

Joaquin has not been seen since 2014. I do not know Joaquin’s last name. We welcome any drawings or stories at this show. The title comes from a song I wrote about Churchill’s and the local scene in 1995.

“Does Anybody Know Where Joaquin Is At?” will be at Sweat Records, 5505 NE 2nd Ave., Miami.  6-9pm Saturday, January 20. Donations and corporate sponsorships accepted.

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Steven Toth

Steven Monroe Toth is Mr. Entertainment. Observer of the art and music world plus Florida living.