Where art and Miami Beach mix

BaselTalk: Asif’s Guns Are the Gift That Keeps on Giving

Monday, Dec 10, 2012  |  Updated 11:50 PM EDT
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BaselTalk: The Man Behind Asif's Guns

When people picture the proverbial things that are meant to be, gun shops generally aren’t the first thing they see. But if ever there was a proverbial thing meant to be it was Asif’s Guns. Put up as a pop-up during the mad blast that’s called Basel, and backed by the rad cats at Crooks and Castles, the store-sized art piece began as a simple Christmas gift, and ended up giving its giver a center spot in the hottest neighborhood during the Greatest Art Show on Earth. It also was a clever commentary on what people purchase when they’re shopping to kill, and for a pistol-packing country like ours, a de facto byproduct of our violent times. NBC 6 got with Asif himself right after Basel wrapped.

In a sentence, what’s Asif’s Guns? A real gun store that sells real cardboard guns.

Huh? You mean these nifty little artworks actually work? Every gun is fully functional; the only thing missing is a firing pin.

Where’d all this gun stuff come from? I was making guns as Christmas gifts for my friends, and the more I made it seemed the more folks wanted me to make. I figured a gun shop would be the next logical step.

What kinda weapons are we talkin’ about? There are 20 variations, from a Walther PPK to a Soviet Anti-Tank DHSK, a M16 to an Uzi.

Which weapon was most popular through Art Week? The revolvers and the PPKs were the biggest sellers.

You gonna be giving guns again this year? No, I’ve got something different planned. And that’s a surprise.

How’d Crooks & Castles get involved? Through a friend of mine who knows Chris Oh from Primary Flight, who in turn made the connection. They were fantastic. Not only did they back my play, but they all flew down and hung out throughout the week. Really showed support.

How’d you come to connect with Primary Flight? That goes back to Mississippi, where I spent a little time and knew someone who knew Chris’s partner Typoe.

And David Lombardi? That was all set up by Primary Projects, who I believe have been working with Lombardi Properties for quite awhile. I will say that David was tremendously supportive of everything we did.

Any chance of Asif’s Guns popping up anywhere else? We’re talkin’ about taking it to New York or Texas, but nothing’s been confirmed yet. I’m ready.

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