A few months later, hanging at a fundraiser at the nearby Bakehouse Art Complex, she met a New York street artist named Nobody whose face was covered, bandit-style, by a bandana with the words “Art is my Weapon” printed on it.
“It occurred to me that art really is a weapon. It’s a weapon used to communicate, to give voice to all perspectives, to build community,” says Wexler, who instantly hit it off with Nobody. He helped her create her own street persona and let her appropriate his “Art is My Weapon” thing.
The white-haired Wexler found herself with instant street cred. But do the art world kids with tattoos and chopped hair that she pals around with wait until she’s on the way home to Hollywood before they really start partying?
“F--- no, man! They wait until I get there to start partying. Maybe at first, because of my age and my white hair, they perceive me as some elegant older person they have to watch themselves around. But I hit them with the f-bombs right away and it’s all good.
“That’s just how I do. But then I think, ‘Myra, do you have to be such a wise guy? Maybe if you were a little more demure you’d attract a hunk of burning love.’ But what can I say? I forgot to get married and have kids a long time ago.”
Now she has dozens of kids.
“She’s just one of the gang,” says Kerry McLaney, an artist who lives and works in Wynwood, aka The ’Wood. “She’s very open-minded She’s a connector. She likes to bring people together. And she is amassing an army of followers. I help her figure out Facebook. And I talked her into getting an iPhone. But I shot myself in the foot. Because then she had a million questions about the damned thing.”
Momma may still be playing catch up on the technology front, but she’s learned a thing or two about life — and she’s good at sharing those lessons with her homies.
“I try to give them advice that comes from love. The biggest advice is, show up. There’s a lot of depression in the art world. I’m all about making and delivering soup. There is so much self-doubt to the creative life. I encourage the kids not to take the critics so seriously, and to take the work day by day. I tell them it’s good to set goals, but don’t project the future.”
She’s more than just a cheerleader, says Arlys Raymond, executive director of Bakehouse, which provides affordable studio spaces to emerging artists.
“She has been an unwavering fan of the Bakehouse. Her presence, which is everywhere, is equivalent to an email blast for us. Everywhere she goes, she speaks so highly of us. That goes such a long way in bringing new people to our events. … Her vibrancy is infectious.”
Says Wexler: “Right now, this whole area of Miami feels kinda sorta like being in Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris [in which Owen Wilson’s character time-travels to 1920s Paris and hangs out with Gertrude Stein, Cole Porter, Ernest Hemingway, Pablo Picasso, et al.]
“You look around and you’re surrounded by all of these creative people — artists, musicians, all of them working. We live in a time of chaos. But it’s in times of chaos that the arts flourish. It’s the humanities that keep us pushing the ball forward. It’s about ascension. And I’m so glad that I get to be part of the glue.”