DELRAY BEACH – Upstairs in South Florida’s newest and largest food court, Miami graffiti artist Atomik sat in the center of a circle of about 15 children, diligently drawing as he was talking.
He described his signature work – a smiling orange with a big, broken-toothed grin – signed her name, passed his work on to a boy to his left, and began drawing the same pattern on a new piece of paper. “Once you’ve found something you like, keep drawing it over and over,” he advised the group.
From 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Atomik hosted a drawing session open to the public as part of Stairwell Visuals 3, a pop-up art exhibit at Delray Beach Market. The exhibition is sponsored by Galera Collective, Miami Art Society and Wynwood Mural Fest. It features the works of 33 South Florida street art graffiti artists and muralists.
Atomik, whose works are part of the exhibit, has been painting for 20 years and is a prominent member of the Miami graffiti scene. He is best known for his orange, a tribute to the mascot of the now demolished Miami Orange Bowl football stadium.
After giving a brief demonstration of how to draw his famous orange, Atomik started to create graffiti with different children’s names. He gave them advice while they created their own work of art.
“My main goal is to have fun with… to train and stay dedicated if it’s something you think you want to pursue in the future,” he said.
Delray resident Nicole Belmonte brought her boyfriend’s son Xavier, 10, to draw with Atomik. Xavier, from Miami, said he has been highlighting the art of Atomik in his hometown for about four years.
“I like the style he does with the shadows and the bubble letters,” Xavier said. “I think it’s so cool to see him draw right in front of me.”
The Atomik exhibit is Delray Beach Market’s premier exhibit
Stairwell Visuals 3 is the first art exhibition ever to be hosted by the Delray Beach Market. At the Friday night opening, exhibition curator and Galera Collective founder Glayson LeRoy estimated that around 1,000 people walked through the gallery.
LeRoy said one of the show’s goals is to bring Miami culture and the arts to Palm Beach County.
“We brought Xavier here to inspire us,” Belmonte said. “Delray has been bringing a lot of culture lately, especially here (at the market). I think this stuff needs to be encouraged and supported in our community. It creates a community.
Atomik said he has participated in many art events in Fort Lauderdale and Miami, but is showing his art in Delray Beach for the first time. For him, the exhibition is a chance to make himself known outside of Miami.
Many of the children attending Atomik’s workshop did not know his art, but were aspiring artists who hoped to learn from a professional.
“He teaches a lot of different styles,” said Alexander Labonia, 12, of Boca Raton, drawing a mountain landscape. “It’s fun to express your creativity through drawing or painting. “
All 33 paintings included in Stairwell Visuals 3 are for sale, although the exhibit is free to the public. As Miami muralist Marlon Pruz painted live for audiences on Friday night, LeRoy said he sold a few pieces. He hopes more will be purchased on Sunday, the last day of the pop-up exhibition.
“Today with the kids and Atomik has been phenomenal,” said LeRoy. “The plan is to do (an exhibition here) a few times during the year. I want the Palm Beach crowd to know about something we know in Miami all year round. It’s nice to be able to present these works for sale so that people can be collectors and not just admirers.