Text and Interview: Monica Uszerowicz
Photos: Monica Uszerowicz
There are few things more overwhelming than Miami Art Week. Amongst so many different fairs, too-exclusive parties, and sold-out performances, it can be hard to sort out the gems. It helps to know—and trust—the locals. Denzel Curry (Aquarius’Killa), the artist and rapper, is a Miami native, Carol City born-and-raised, and his whole vibe is an amalgamation of truly weird darkness and smart, effortless poetry. Listen to the lyricism and almost-dreamy sound on his latest record, Imperial, and you’ll feel like you’re floating.
Satellite Art Show, an artist-run fair that was in its second year at Miami Art Week earlier this month, partnered with Pérez Art Museum Miami and the Queens-based music venue Trans-Pecos to curate a set of live shows and performances. A main highlight: Denzel brought a crew of artists and musicians through for Vortex, a series of parties he and his friends have been throwing for months.
Described as a curated show, it was really more of a chill space for the weirdos to congregate, hang, and see some fantastic work (Satellite was one of our favorite fairs of the week). Denzel was on his way to get things going right before we spoke—women were asking to take pictures with him; a starstruck young man said, “I just want you to know, you inspire me. You inspire me, all of us, to keep making art.” Denzel shook his hand, then shrugged, easy-going: “I just do my thing, really.”
I’m a weirdo till the death of me.
Tell me about what you’re doing here. You’re not just a musician; you’re an artist, too.
I feel you. It’s all part of one big project, and that’s what I wanted it to be. This whole thing is just a big performance. It started off as a party in the ULT house—I recorded Ultimate and most of Imperial there, and re-recorded it in the studio. After that, we planned a party—we called it Vortex, but it was just a regular party. I met Ski Mask The Slump God there; he thought he was doing a performance. I was like, “What? This is just the crib. It’s just a party.” But I let him vibe, let him cool it. We met back up, and now we’ve done four of these. The very last one we did was really good—it was in Kendall at this little warehouse.
This time, we had months to plan it; it wasn’t the same regular team. The first time we did it, it was me, J.K. The Reaper, Ronny J, and Twelve’Len. We created the Vortex. At the last one, I wasn’t really even on the team. I just showed up and promoted it. It’s just a vibe, you feel me? That’s what it is. It’s a party.
How’d you get hooked up with Satellite? Did they find you?
They found us—they hit us up. And we were just down. They were like, “Yo, they kind of want to do a party,” and I was like, “let’s do this.” We’ve got some of Metro Zu, like Freebase and Lofty 305. There are all types of people sliding through: most of C9 Collective, JK The Reaper, Yoshi Thompkins, Lajan Slim—“I’m in the field with my Haitians”—Joey Dollaz. We’ve got some rock shit, too, like Show Me The Body.
When did you start making visual art?
When I was three. The earliest thing I remember doing…I had a Star Wars book. I remember tracing Obi-Wan Kenobi, and I started trying to draw Obi-Wan Kenobi the same way. My dad taught me how to draw, and then I picked it up. I started learning from there and I’ve just kept it with me.
Because you’re an Aquarius, do you put on for the weirdos?
Fuck yeah. I’m a fucking weirdo till the death of me. I’m a super-big weirdo—not that I’m a creep or creepy, but I just like weird shit. I eat peanut butter and jelly with ham in the middle.