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  • Words by Kristy Calabro Photos by John Domine and

NYC Heads to Akumal, Mexico! (Part 2)

The inaugural Akumal Arts Festival and Residency is happening November 9-11 in Mexico. As Sold Magazine's assistant editors, John Domine and I will be there bringing you photos and stories of the weekend long event. We'll also be covering the days leading up to the opening ceremony happening Friday night. The goal of this festival is to encourage arts tourism to this small, Mexican Caribbean community. Hundreds of Akumal students will be adding their own artistic touches with painted flags hung in the pueblo. Check our Instagram posts (@soldmag) and website ( for the latest coverage. In part two of our artists preview, we talk to Toofly, Depoh, Funqest, Ramiro, and, Jackie Neon. Akumal, here we come!

Toofly (toofly_nyc)

Photo by: @johndomine1 Toofly (@toofly_nyc) for Welling Court 2018

Almost half of the guest artists painting around Akumal Pueblo are women. Toofly, a master within the street graffiti movement in NYC, began her art journey while commuting to public school in Corona, Queens. She would immerse herself in sketches and was influenced by writers of the time and developed her own “hand styles” and characters. Toofly has traveled to various countries and painted at international festivals before. She's looking forward to working with the organizers, the artists, and the community of Akumal Beach to beautify and educate millions who will be visiting the historic Riviera Maya. (#beautifyakumal). She shared some details of her wall. It will be an underwater scene featuring a warrior woman, bringing attention to the beauty of the coral reefs, plants, fish, and animals. Toofly said, "This can be interpreted in many ways, but my feeling is she is part of this environment and what happens to it, happens to her." It is a reminder to take care of our oceans and to raise awareness for #climateaction now and to be mindful of sea life issues.

"Nature is #1 here; the sea life, beaches, environment, ruins, cenotes, food,

artisan markets, neighborhoods, it's all incredible," said Toofly.

"Mexican culture is rich and beautiful. I absolutely love it!"

Please visit:

Follow on Instagram: @toofly_nyc


Depoh (@depoh)

Photo by: @kristycnyc Depoh @depoh for Welling Court 2018

Depoh was born and raised in Miami Beach and is a Cuban-American Painter and Art Educator who teaches in Brooklyn. Based in NYC for the past 15 years, he has a studio in the Bronx. Depoh wanted to paint in Akumal, Mexico because it's right near the ocean. Growing up in Miami Beach, he's spent many years of his life by the water and is looking forward to some beach time since most of us New Yorkers starve for the ocean most of the year! Depoh has a pretty large mural in the works. He will be incorporating stencils and will be trying out a new technique. Stay tuned to @soldmag to find out how his and all the walls turn out!

Depoh said, "Last year in November, I visited the Guggenheim Museum

for an educators conference and saw slides from Josef Albers’ trip to Mexico.

It was really inspiring and I thought it would be cool to paint a mural there.

Really fortunate that it came together exactly a year later!"

Please visit

Follow on Instagram: @depoh


Funqest (@funqest)

Photo by: Kristy Calabro @kristycnyc, Funqest @funqest

Funqest was born and raised in Gifu, Japan. He is inspired by anime and manga which both have heavily influenced his art. He’s been in NYC about eight years now, with a studio in Harlem, and he feels the people he comes across in our beloved city are at the mercy of the media, social networks and mass information. He translates this into his current art style with vivid colors and lines which he calls “NOISE” art. There’s also his imaginary hero, “Mr. No Limit,” who rescues people that need help finding a more peaceful world. This is Funqest's first international festival and he hopes to continue spreading his messages and his "soul" into the world. He feels his colorful art and positive spirit will fit right into the Akumal community!

Please visit:

Follow on Instagram: @funqest


Ramiro (@ramirostudios)

Photo by: @johndomine1 Ramiro (@ramirostudios)

Ramiro Davaro-Comas, born in Argentina, is a painter influenced by comic books, graphics, street culture and South American muralism, who now calls Brooklyn home. He has painted many festivals before, but none outside the U.S. As the director of Dripped on the Road, @dotheroad, an artist residency program that is constantly on the go, in an RV, Ramiro is no stranger to travel, but he has never been to Mexico. He is looking forward to two giant walls that he and Grace Lang (@grooseling) will be painting at the festival and meeting up with friends that he hasn't seen in a long time. He isn't sure what he'll be painting, but it will be related to and influenced by the culture of Akumal (think: masks, animals, etc.) Ramiro will also be hosting a workshop on Saturday, in English and in Spanish. It will be an introduction to aerosol painting and about different techniques.

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Jackie Neon (@jackieneon)

Photo courtesy of artist, @jackieneon

Jackie Neon's art is bright colors and mixed media; a combination of conceptual and curious. She also creates soundscapes of found sounds that she edits. The Akumal Festival was referred to her from a friend, and she felt it was something she wanted to be a part of. Jackie will be conducting a workshop showing participants how to sew a circuit.

"I have not participated in an international festival before and this will be my first trip to Mexico. I am looking forward to teaching people about making a circuit and I hope to learn about making murals for a future project," Jackie said. "I am (also) looking forward to many things in Mexico: cenotes, the ocean and ruins all look amazing and I can't wait for the food! I am also excited to collect a few audio recordings from Mexico so that I can create a soundscape."

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This is all music to our ears and Sold cannot wait to experience the Akumal Arts Fesitval! Opening ceremonies begin Friday evening, Nov. 9. Activities throughout the weekend include art walks, workshops, booths selling art, food and drink, and live music and performances. Sold Magazine is so appreciative of the invite to Akumal and we would like to thank some of the organizers! Rena Gray, (@walkinggirlnyc), Artist Recruiter and Liaison, Marti Johnston, Co-Producer, Kerra Bolton, Press Liaison/Writer, and the rest of the team. We're excited to share new art, sights and scenes from Akumal, Mexico. Stay tuned to Sold, @soldmag on Instagram, every day to discover something new from the festival!


...and a last minute addition! Brooklyn's own,

Danielle Mastrion (@daniellebknyc)

No stranger to Sold, Danielle was our very first guest on "In the Sprayroom", our podcast and John Domine, my fellow travel companion, wrote this story on her: "Wonder Woman of the Walls: Danielle Mastrion"; you can read it (here). We are looking forward to seeing what Danielle and all the participating artists bring to Akumal!

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Please follow and/or visit:

@akumalfestival on Instagram

Akumal Festival on Facebook

Photo by: Kristy Calabro @kristycnyc, Danielle Mastrion (daniellebknyc)

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