Krave to Open New Studio Space in Little Havana: "My Time in Wynwood is Done"

Categories: Art
Daniel "Krave" Fila
Move over, Wynwood. There's a new, burgeoning neighborhood in the 305 with a promising future that's already proven to be fruitful to both new and established artists. 

Big things are happening in Little Havana. Slowly but surely, artists are creeping in and turning it into a place where new art meets a longstanding culture. 

At first sight, Little Havana may seem like an unlikely area for the next artist colony. (Domino Park, Versailles, and Tower Theatre are essentially frozen in a time when the first wave of Cuban immigrants arrived in Miami in the 1960's.) But take a closer look. Culture is already abundant, with fairs such as Viernes Culturales, the Little Havana version of Art Walk. Tourists and locals alike are actually stepping outside of Versailles restaurant after their Media Noche sandwich and exploring Calle Ocho by foot with one of the many walking tours now available.

Daniel Fila of Krave Art, known for his signature character, Fresh Monkey and his semi-nude mural "Erin" and the subsequent series that it inspired it, has known about the impending greatness of Little Havana and its revival for a while now. Now, he has moved out of his Wynwood and Design District studio spaces to a bigger and better project space in Little Havana where he will showcase his work collection, including illustrations, paintings, and urban sculptures. The new minimalist space will highlight Fila's works, as well as the works of artists with whom he collaborates. 
Aptly named "El Fresco" (The Fresh), Krave's studio is the newest addition to the Little Havana arts area. Neighbors include art galleries, ceramic studios, indoor and outdoor exhibit spaces, a Hispanic theater, and a variety of non-bougie yet charming cafes and restaurants. 

We called up Fila to talk about the big move and what he thinks the future of Little Havana is.

Daniel Fila
Inside El Fresco in Little Havana

New Times: What made you decide on Little Havana for your big move? 
Fila: Well, I had been doing a couple of murals in that area and always liked the area. I feel that's it's a real cultural destination in Miami and it's just true, real Miami culture. I think that's what I was looking for, not to mention the fact that it's one of the last unexploited areas in Miami. You can get great food for a good price--the prices all around Little Havana are good. It's a working neighborhood. There are just a lot of reasons I chose Little Havana.

Did it have anything to do with Wynwood's skyrocketing rent prices, or the feeling among some gallerists there that the area isn't what it used to be?
I kind of want to stray from saying anything negative about Wynwood. I've been there for eight years. Do realize I moved in the Design District in '04 and I had a studio in Wynwood, then in '05 or '06 is when I opened up in Wynwood, so I really watched it grow and turn into something massive. It's great, but my time is just done there. I'm really looking to pioneer something new. You know, the cycle. The artist movement is in an industrial area that they built up. The prices do go up and it is does push the artists out of it. I was at the Bakehouse Art Complex, so I really wasn't having a problem with rent or anything like that--they have such a nice rent for the artists there. But Wynwood is just a different animal than when I first moved in and I'm just no longer interested. 

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 Daniel Fillah's work is also insulting to our community because it does not represent anyone living or working in the community but his work is displayed as a public work. The themes of his work are  juvenile and sexist. Often depicting Anglo women or women of color in derogatory ways that are in keeping with the Fillah's interests but are an eye sore to the rest of the community who pass by his murals every day. Children have to see this and that which is disturbing. It may be art to Fillah or other artists but that also does not make the presence of that work right. The freedom to express also comes with responsibility and respect.


Artists need to understand that their temporary benefit of affordable housing will be that communities nightmare and eventual downfall. I would suggest to the people of little Havana to speak to their community representatives and not allow artists to aggressively move into their neighborhood. This will cause traffic and housing disruptions much as they do in Wynwood. They never could do that in Coral Gables because of the zoning and community concerns in that part of Miami... wealthy people don't let artists or galleries dominate their neighborhood. This should be true for any neighborhood. Artists like Daniel Filler can speak very candidly of his privileged and selfish needs because his approach to survival is parasitic as much as it would be for any real estate developer in Miami. We have seen Miami Beach, Little Haiti, Biscayne, Wynwood all gentrified by artists who then get pushed out by developer. We've seen it in Williamsburg, NY and in many other major cities. Until New Times realizes publishes a more critical perspective of the corruption and illegal manipulations going on with certain Wynwood gallery dealers, collector who own property in that area then the situation will not change for the better and will sadly be the demise of most of Miami's real communities.

Sara Burke
Sara Burke

Here we go, gentrifying yet another place that had any kind of genuine identity left in Miami...lets see how long it takes to start building behemoth lofts and raising rents sky high. Then we can abandon it for the next trendy spot in the city...I vote for Overtown.

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