Our House West Of Wynwood (O.H.W.O.W.) is a collaboration of people from the art/music/fashion/design/publishing worlds that seeks to offer these creative types the opportunity to expand their practices into different media and modes of production. Instead of trying to fashion artists into designers, co-founders Al Moran and Aaron Bondaroff began with the premise that artists are not inherently media-specific but simply work with what is available and what best suits the idea. O.H.W.O.W. seeks to match this fluidity of artistic practice by refusing to be tied down to a single institutional function. It acts as a hub for creative production wherein artists propose ideas and are linked instantly to a community of others with the necessary experience, skills, and resources to realize the project.
O.H.W.O.W.’s endeavors slip effortlessly across media, straddling large-scale commercial ventures and DIY productions. What remains consistent is a rejection of prevailing ideas of professionalism and exclusivity. If branding is the process of attaching an idea to a product, Bondaroff and Moran’s O.H.W.O.W. attaches these elaborate, ambitious, and emotional ideas to each of the projects it undertakes. In effect, the O.H.W.O.W. brand becomes a shorthand identity, indicating that the consumer is repping Al and Aron’s epic crew of creatives. By staking out a territory between the mass-consumption product and the rarified, precious art object; O.H.W.O.W. reaches a broader, more engaged public—fellow producers not passive consumers. O.H.W.O.W. becomes brand becomes identity becomes community.
During a time of unprecedented growth of the contemporary art market, O.H.W.O.W. rejects the art collector as the sole patron of the arts, producing artist multiples and building commercial brands to make the work targeted toward, and accessible to, their peers. While O.H.W.O.W. does stage traditional exhibitions and sell work to collectors, by also offering lower-priced artist-produced goods, they make possible a more democratic model of supporting the arts. In this way, O.H.W.O.W.’s affinities to George Maciunas’ Fluxus group are notable: both employ multiples and slightly anti-art/DIY philosophies; both are integrally involved in the articulation of intermedia artist communities and employ humor and wit to solidify this community; both provide a physical hub for their community, but still consider it to have global membership.
Integral to the formation of this community identity is an expansive idea of space — Our House West of Wynwood is at once entirely localized and totally rootless. In a manner characteristic of this generation of young artists, Bondaroff and Moran embrace an itinerant lifestyle and approach location with the same flexible attitude they have to media—if it works, go with it. Whether you are at the O.H.W.O.W. building on NW 7 Avenue in Miami or an O.H.W.O.W. event in New York or Tokyo, or reading an O.H.W.O.W. publication the comfort of your own home, then you are West of Wynwood, and it’s your house too. You've now become part of the community.
-excerpt from an essay by Elizabeth Lovero