Within the secret rooms of the Miami-Dade Public Library, abstract cartoons are warped, expressed, and re imagined in the artist residency lab for local Miami artist, Kiki Valdes. A graduate of New World School of the Arts, a YoungArts Alumni, and a Maryland Institute College of Art graduate from Baltimore, Kiki Valdes’ home is the 305. I was escorted into the grand historic library building through the maze of hallways and rode up secret elevators to find Kiki, in a black t-shirt, dark shorts, and Converse shoes, decorated with colorful paint strokes of labor. Behind him were his masterpieces, from small to large canvases, sprawled out from wall to wall. With about a week until the exhibition on (November 21) and 4 weeks of work already behind him, his pace was remarkable – Kiki Valdes produced an array of figurative abstractionist cartoonic pieces sure to wow any spectator in the library or private art collector. Here is his creative process and his perspective on Miami art. Meet Kiki Valdes, art resident of the Miami-Dade Public Library System.
Third Dream Media: You’re an animal. All the paintings look beyond anything you’ve done. Do you center your work on a certain theme?
Kiki Valdes: I’m trying to work with figurative abstraction and then just really breaking down any type of figure, or cartoon shape, and using it to create something else. My previous work was a little bit more cartoon-based; but that’s because I was just trying to understand the shapes. Now that I understand the shapes better, I’m starting to break them down and they’re just starting to become much more abstract. I feel I am going towards abstraction. My hand is kind of the same.
[I asked to advance through the plastic coverings on the floor to examine the smaller paintings neatly aligned on one side of the floor. There are 3 larger, stretched out canvases surrounding a collection of cartoonist portraits.]
So these are drawings/paintings that I put onto canvas, so I’m going to show about 20 of them. Along with these, [portraits] and then I’m also bringing a little bit of the older work, that I’m going to combine with these – so I’m probably going to end up showing 35 paintings in total.
It’s like a warped childhood. They are an interesting take on animation, color, bold lining, and high contrast. It looks like you are not afraid to create these figures. From this collection, which ones have been the most challenging?
It’s not really one in specific; it’s more about creating that new language, that’s the most challenging part. You’re creating something that is who you are – and then, there is no right or wrong way to do it. It’s kind of what direction you want to go, and trying to decide where you want to be. Obviously, there’s ways for it to be stronger, you’re just not sure how to get there.
"It’s not really one in specific; it’s more about creating that new language, that’s the most challenging part. You’re creating something that is who you are – and then, there is no right or wrong way to do it."