Getting Fresher with Artist Krave’s New Space in Little Havana

By Société Perrier

Artist Daniel Fila, also known as Krave, creates iconic illustrations, paintings, sculptures, and graphic designs – such as Fresh Monkey, a signature character incorporated into much of his work or “Erin,” a huge semi-nude posterior view mural that created a rumpus in Miami. After ten years in the Bakehouse Art Complex near Miami Design District, Krave is moving his gallery and studio space to Little Havana’s arts district. “El Fresco” was launched last Friday during Miami’s Viernes Culturales. We wanted to know what Daniel sees on the horizon for his own gallery and for the Miami art scene.


What were you looking for in a new space?
Daniel Fila: The space itself needed to be a place I could work collaboratively and individually, day-to-day. Being that I don’t have a gallery, it also needed to be a place where I could show. But as important as the function of the space, its surroundings are vital to my growth as an Artist. Being in Little Havana is inspiring, and there is a real sense of community here. It’s one of Miami’s most beautiful and secret treasures.

Do you expect your life and work to change with the new move?
Both are changing, yes. Being independent like this has already enhanced the caliber of production and work. The richer the soil, the better the blossom.

Daniel Fila KRAVE Miami 02

What changes are you looking forward to making in your new space? What kind of a contribution do you think it will be making for your new neighborhood in Little Havana?
I just need to pump out a ton of high quality, potent artwork. Also, I need to market the work well, and reach price points high and low with the option to buy reproductions or originals. It’s very much a business, but the most integral part of it remains constant. Perception is huge. If people on Brickell knew that five minutes away, for five times less the price, they could have an incredible and authentic experience, everything would balance out. The brand of Little Havana needs a bit of a revamp. Bringing more money into the area is vital to its growth, but maintaining the area’s authenticity is a win for everyone.

What do you think the future of Miami holds as a center for art?
Well, it is what we make it. I know what I’m doing. You can just ride the wave to wherever it takes you, or you can try to control your direction. In many ways, this city isn’t culturally defined. And thus, its Arts movement isn’t clearly spoken for. It’s a melting pot. It’s hot, and everyone is attracted to it. There are major arts institutions, and serious talent, but everything is a little disconnected. It’s far from having the cultural resonance that New Orleans has. That’s what I hope for it. I hope it doesn’t turn into a Vegas.

How do you see your role in Miami’s arts scene?
I’m here to bring identity. Our arts scene, just like our town, is inundated with visitors, but we have our own movement. Being aware of that, I’m here to represent that well. Also, it’s very important to me that I pave a way for the next generation. Their folks and every grown up they know tells them “Being an Artist isn’t a real career choice, you can’t make a living at that.” I want my example to defy that. Miami loves the Arts. It has always been an incubator for the Arts, and there is money down here. It’s possible! Hard, but possible.


We love your characters. Where do they come from?
Thanks! Most of my friends have favorite animals or animals they see identify with. Of course I’m the monkey. My fiancé is a panda. So, the characters I draw already have personalities to reference, making them more believable. Other than that, I was a cartoon junky as a kid, and characters pop out of me naturally. They usually depict whatever I’m feeling at the moment.