Two boxes of Cohibas, 20 gallons of paint, 10 gallons of gel and lots and lots of blah blah blah. That's what it took for ace artist Peter Tunney to tackle the towering new mural he's unveiling tonight at the opening of Therapy. Yes, the piece is called "Blah Blah Blah." And it continues Tunney's tradition of using words to further enforce the visual punch of his work. But billboards for the subconscious aren't the only things occupying Tunney's fine and wild mind. So Niteside tripped over to The W and threw him a few Qs. His, er, answers follow:
What's the story on "Blah Blah Blah"? Originally Joel Warren at Warren-Tricomi called it in; he wanted some art/mojo for the new Miami location [at Therapy, which boasts an in-house salon]. I've known Joel for years and he has seen my stuff popping up everywhere - Vegas, Lavo, Marquee, Starbucks, Capitale, Eden Roc etc. - and he loves it. And we love Joel. So I went over to the W and saw this place Evan Kaye had built, and it was way cool, and very tasty. He did a great job and basically just took over the whole ground floor retail on the Collins Avenue side of the hotel. It's an amazing spot. And the W is the center of the art world in Miami Beach. In fact [owner] David Edelstein recently collected a couple of really good paintings from me, so it's like serendipity.
The thing is I visualized this giant tower of BLAH, Blah, blah and immediately felt that was going to be the project. Evan was like "you're crazy... now go for it." So as usual I got into it. It happened to be the hardest most physically laborious piece I've ever done, yet I was determined to do every single inch myself. And I did. But it's been a real back-breaker. Fifteen feet in the air for like 60 or 70 hours. I did a really maxed-out collage underneath the whole thing... it's the equivalent of about 20 paintings... and I only had nine daze [sic] from start to finish.
Let's keep it moving along... So I'm running back and forth at a breakneck pace, between the W and the other W in town, Wynwood Walls, where I have my studio, workshop and public exhibition space. I'm smack dab in the center of it all. In fact, I've got a Shep Fairey 100 foot mural on the side of my gallery. I love it over there. It's the brainchild of the one and only Tony Goldman, a brainiac visionary of tremendous proportion. I love Tony. Truly. We are both friends and mutual admirers, and it was he who turned me on to the whole gig in Wynwood. I loved it from day one. And as Tony predicted, it gets better every day over there. I'm in the best spot I could be in, really. It's great working there. And we have had something like 12,000 people come through in January (they count 'em at the gate!). It's authentic, and fun... kinda like a little piece of the New York's Lower East Side right here in Miami.
So you diggin' our town or what? I was a real NEW YAWKER. A Miami hater for a long time. Not now. I have come to really dig this place, for all the obvious reasons: weather, people, sea, sun, golf etc. (Yes, I play golf, and I have played for over 40 years.) There is a vibrant art scene, and a lot of empty walls... Now Miami is my friend - MY AMI!
Peter Tunney's "Blah Blah Blah" can be seen from tonight on at Therapy in The W South Beach 2201 Collins Ave Miami Beach. The Peter Tunney Experience is located within Wynwood Walls 220 NW 26th St. Miami