Miami artist and co-founder of Ownzee

Takashi Murakami $796,651 Ring Recovered from Pawn Shop

Posted 2011-03-16 21:09:47 | Views: 9,578

Last month, a one-of-a-kind Doruko (“skull”) ring created by the Japanese artist Takashi Murakami was serendipitously recovered from Costa de Oro, a South Beach pawn shop just steps away from the Miami Beach Police Department’s Washington Avenue headquarters. The platinum and diamond artwork, which features Murakami’s iconic smiling daisies, had reportedly been stolen from the Delano Hotel’s Florida Room back in December 2008, after the conclusion of the Art Basel satellite fair, Design Miami. 


It was spotted in the shop’s window by David Tamargo, the art director at the World Erotic Art Museum, and an upstairs neighbor to Costa de Oro. Tamargo, an artist in his own right, whose Urban Hunting has been featured here in BlackBook, stumbled upon the infamous ring purely by accident. He was surprised as anyone else to see it in a pawn shop window.“First, I did a double take,” he told us. “Then I got closer to the window for a better look. Immediately I knew it was a Murakami. What I couldn’t imagine was why it was there. I mean, he’s one of the most famous artists on the planet!”


Murakami’s works are indeed collected by some of the world’s most recognizable names and generally sell for well into the six figures. Last month, at Christie’s auction house in London, a 2004 painting by the artist entitled “Skulls Rock” sold for 493,250 pounds (approximately $796, 651). According to police reports, the Dokuro ring’s value was estimated at $72,500. But neither Tamargo nor Costa de Oro’s Angel Parets knew that at the time.


“The shop owner told me he wanted $6000 for the ring,” continued Tamargo. “$6000! I couldn’t believe it! It was then that I knew something was wrong. So I immediately went upstairs and called Murakami’s New York office to tell them what I’d found.”Unfortunately it was President’s Day, and the person who answered the telephone at Murakami’s Kaikai Kiki studio told Tamargo no one was in. So he left a message with his contact information and a word about his discovery. A few days later, Tamargo learned that the ring was about to be shipped to a Tokyo jewelry expo, to be either sold or scrapped, so he tried again, this time with some urgency.


(read the article at BlackBookMag )





My friend from Miami and artistDavid Tamargo was in New York a week ago for the Armory Show and we got to have a drink together at the Bowery Hotel and he told me about this crazy adventure he was apart of.  The beginning of the article is below. It's written by John Hood and from Black Book.

“The shop owner told me he wanted $6000 for the ring,” continued Tamargo. “$6000! I couldn’t believe it! It was then that I knew something was wrong."

Artist and crazy man David Tamargo rockin' the ring right before all went down!

The value of the ring in the photo above is estimated at $769,651. I'm sure Mr. SuperFlat is happy about Tamargo's discovery.


The 9 Muses - Kiki Valdes

Posted 2011-03-15 15:44:49 | Views: 8,721



I've been working off and on for the past 6 months on a series of black and white portraits.  The canvas's  are of 9 women from Miami that have been in my life in a direct or indirect way. I based it on the Nine Greek Muses. I am going into each portrait on the varied inspirations of the mythology of the goddesses/daughters of Zeus and exploring  how each person relates to one of the nine and I'm applying it to my own existence.


The works themselves have been figurative abstractions and I am concerned with line, form and embedded space and memory. The goddesses in the mythology had to use their memory to recite poetry because books according to the myths didn’t exist. In historical terms "portrait paintings" for the most part have been done from life. Remembrance was something I wanted to do by gestural association.  I moved away from Miami 5 months ago and I nearly started the portraits when I left. I am painting each personality based from memory and composing the canvas in visual verses of how each goddess/female made me feel whether intellectually, in social terms, friendship or sexually. The muses are memory intensified. I feel that I have been able to commune this more then ever, the sheer deficiency and applying some road map of gloominess to light by emotion and memory. - Kiki Valdes


Calliope was the muse of epic poetry.

Clio was the muse of history.

Erato was the muse of love poetry.

Euterpe was the muse of music.

Melpomene was the muse of tragedy.

Polyhymnia was the muse of sacred poetry.

Terpsichore was the muse of dance.

Thalia was the muse of comedy.

Urania was the muse of astronomy.

"Valerie De Leon - Urania"

"Cat Alisa Dove - Euterpe"



Last night at Renwick Gallery

Posted 2011-03-13 15:30:00 | Views: 9,248

Last night I made it out to Renwick Gallery located at 45 Renwick Street in New York. My old friend Maxwell Graham is director of the gallery and he invited me out. I ran into him on the street during Armory week but I have not seen Maxwell since 2000. It was exciting to see him involved with galleries and the art world.


The opening was for Talia Chetrit, this is her second time showing with the gallery. The gallery is beautiful, i was instantly attracted to the space. Talia showed black and white photographers that had an almost vintage textbook sensation. Her father was very nice and her boyfriend, artist Van Hanos was caring and gave me some advice being here in the city since I've only been here for 5 months. I had a nice time and hope to make it out to the next one.









Talia Chetrit
March 12 – April 23, 2011


Renwick Gallery is located at 45 Renwick St between Canal and Spring. The gallery is openfrom Tuesday to Saturday from 11am to 6pm and by appointment. For more information email or call 212 609 3535.

For more info:Renwick Gallery

Pray for Japan

Posted 2011-03-11 10:07:31 | Views: 8,107



Back in the Club Days

Posted 2011-03-11 09:51:21 | Views: 8,183

Here are some pictures from my solo show I had over the summer at the Wynwood Exhibition Center. The canvas's that were shown were paintings I created in nightclubs right after I moved back to Miami from attending college at the Maryland Institute, College of Art.


I did the paintings with no intention of exhibiting them anytime soon. Since I thought the work would make more sense in the long term. But, I got to show them and I got mixed feelings which is what I was expecting. I was a little nervious to show them since it is not my current direction and people often misunderstand the context of where can artist can go. I, for one explore an area and let it go - then move on to the next journey.



The Star - Kiki Valdes

Posted 2011-03-09 21:35:34 | Views: 8,283

Indian Movie Posters - Amazing

Posted 2011-03-09 21:06:54 | Views: 8,916


My friend Kayleigh loves Indian movie posters, the vintage Mumbai movie posters and the present low-budget Kannada movie posters are a fascinating contrast to her. She has been picking up these pieces from Mumbai and Bangalore, India.


A few weeks ago I went over to her place after she returned from India and she showed all of these to me. It was amazing and I had no idea how beautiful these could actually be in person. She nice enough to gave me one as a gift, but I am one of the lucky few. But, there's good news; she is selling them!


Please enjoy! If you would like to learn more on how to get your own make sure to contact her! Be sure to check out Kayleigh's article on Felt&Wire

Matisse never gets old.

Posted 2011-03-09 14:43:05 | Views: 8,034

Me, Kiki Valdes - Photo by David UpnUp

Posted 2011-03-09 10:09:09 | Views: 8,135

Jackets with some life.

Posted 2011-03-08 15:41:43 | Views: 9,665

Saw these jackets, thought they were pretty cool. I should paint some of my own? I was rocking the North Face jacket all winter long. Even though I loved it. It really did keep me warm. I need a little diversity in my wear and tare though. I started to feel like a cross country trucker always with teh same jacket. I believe next winter I will seriously invest in some far out warm wear, without a doubt. Now, I'm not sure I could actually wear these funky things. I just know I'll be ready next fall stylisticly. With that said, I seriously could use some shorts. I can't wait for summer.