NiteTalk: Miami Vagabonds Come Together for Artist Monica Travis

A couple weeks back one of Miami's more vivid and vivacious visualists was struck from behind on Biscayne Boulevard by a van that ended up on top of her and her vintage blue-and-white motorbike. The injuries were so extensive she had to be taken to Ryder Trauma Center. It is there where she remains, in serious but stable and fighting condition. We speak of artist Monica L. Travis, who will undoubtedly emerge from this near-tragic accident with her talents in tact. To ensure she does so without a financial albatross around her neck though, a gaggle of her good friends are throwing a benefit this Friday at Vagabond. One of those good friends, fellow art op Nicole Soden, explains.

For those who may not know, who's Monica Travis and what's she do? Monica L.Travis is a sculptor and a builder. She is currently the lead fabricator at Cabin Fever which is a company that builds totally 'Green' pre-fab micro-housing for people that are interested in living 'off the grid' or having lifestyles that have a lower carbon footprint. Her personal body of work is centralized in metals but by no means is restricted to it, often incorporating other materials such as wood, plexi, etc.The common denominators throughout her work are the incorporation of technology and new media and that everything is executed with a high skill level and is crafted by her own hand - she never shops out her work, no matter how large (in which case the team from Right Angle Studios comes together for support.)

How long (and to what degree) has she been in on the Miami art scene? Her history in the Miami art scene goes back to her childhood. She started in the magnet programs for fine art in 1987 (age 11) attending first R.R. Moton then Southwood, and she was enrolled in D.A.S.H. the first year it was open. More recently, she was a part of the production crew at Miami's Independent Thinkers' 2009 inaugural year; in 2010 she was one of the founding members of Autopoiesis (which also includes me, Zusel Escriba, Rodrigo Arcaya and Jason Peterman). That year alone we had three installations during Art Basel: in the Scope-juried exhibition (where we were finalists), a 20' install on the side of Panther Coffee (presented by Butter Gallery) and had another piece at Awarehouse. She has a number of private clients for custom fabrication including Control Salon and this past year during Art Basel 2011 there was a nine sculpture commission from Mark Cunningham Interiors and Sunbrella High Performance Fabrics that was featured by Architectural Digest at The Raleigh Hotel.

What exactly were the circumstances of her accident?
That accident are what nightmares are made of. Jeez. My spine tingles just thinking about it. Monica was her riding her motorcycle to work at around 7:30am from her home in the Design District to the Cabin Fever warehouses on 71st Street. She noticed a van coming up behind her in her side mirror and she knew she was going to get slammed. The woman clipped her with the front passenger side... she went up over the top of the van then slid off the side and fell to the ground. The van then rolled over her and remained parked on her back for 45 minutes until one of the neighbors came out and got a car jack and got the weight of the car off her back. Monica says that the only reason that she is alive is because she remembered her firefighter training (yeah- she is really that bad ass) and refused to lose focus and let her body go into shock. She kept her breathing regular and as deep as she could manage and would not let herself pass out.

Imagine... your right arm is almost completely severed, you have a van parked on your back and you are bleeding out. Yet somehow she manages to keep it together.

Anyway the list of injuries are 11 fractured ribs, one broken clavicle, one broken scapula, two clean breaks on the severed right forearm arm (which was able to be reconnected, and she can already move her fingers, yay!) two collapsed lungs, five fractures in her pelvis, a chip on her sacrum and a ruptured and removed spleen. Plus a large laceration on her forehead, one missing tooth and a whole mess of road rash. It is going to be a long and hard road to recovery.

Who all is expected to come together on her behalf at Vagabond this Friday night? Monica maintains very close relationships with a lot of the local musicians, so there'll be a large showing of support. Afrobeta, Ydiz, Johnny Deezal, Dusthead and Beatmachines will all be performing live, and Ray Milian, Rydon, UVS, Nitebloom and Sweetswirl will be spinning, as will Vagabond owner Carmel Ophir, who generously provided the venue.

Will Monica be able to attend? Unfortunately no, she is still hospitalized at The Ryder Trauma Center. We are looking into setting up a live feed between the hospital and the club so that we could do a chat with her at the event. Perhaps in the lounge on the projection screen

If you can't make Friday's benefit (or even if you can) we have set up a Paypal account for donations so anyone can help out.

Monica Travis Benefit with Afrobeta, Dusthead, Beatmachines,Ydiz and Johnny Deesal takes place Friday July 13 at The Vagabond. For more information log on here.

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