www.ambiente.us JULY | JULIO 2009
The Young and The Dauntless | Independent World Artists
Network (IWAN) Interview for AMBIENTE Magazine
Story and photography by Armando Diaz Jr
Daunt-less (dônt l s, dänt -) - Incapable of being intimidated or
discouraged; fearless. "audacious explorers"; "fearless reporters
and photographers"; "intrepid pioneers"
Are you an artist? Do you have passion for your work? Are you dauntless?
In these times of certain hardships, we often reach a breakthrough in our creativity.
Worlds ago and centuries now gone, the desire of a new life and new connections,
propelled networks of families across the wilds of the American West. Our current
economic and political upheavals have inadvertently tapped into that same creative
breakthrough desire, which we all carry. Brainstorming new ways to achieve that new
hope, that new life, and that change. Changing our goals for sharing and expression,
changing the way in which we do business with one another, and so changing the way
in which we network.
and make profit through their talents”. They go on to illustrate, “The founders of IWAN
are creating their own reality everyday, pushing beyond mainstream boundaries,
thinking and acting outside the box, bringing together the undeniable gifts of the artists
and those who can and will make a difference.”
On a balmy Thursday afternoon, I met with artist friend and all around intrepid “it” girl
Lisa Parrott (the soul behind www.ComaGirl.com) , at IWAN. Having missed a recent
showing of her work there, I wanted to investigate her new goods and her own
motivations behind them. Thankfully to Lisa’s suggestion, I also had the good fortune
to meet with Yvonne and Garo, and discover more about the centerpiece they have
created and coordinate. We sat next to the hum of the air conditioning window unit
adjacent to a “rehearsal” room towards the rear of the warehouse.
AD | Hey guys, so do you pronounce it EE-Won or EYE-won?
YC | EYE-won <smirks>
AD | How did all of this genius come about and truly come together?
MIAMI RIVER INN
People for the
Something incredible has taken residence in Fort Lauderdale, it appears the brazen
cool have a new address. Situated between NE 4th Street and the western side of
Federal Highway/US1, among the auto repair shops, chain link fences, a florist and
unbending train tracks is the uber IWAN, at 810 NE 4th Street It stands for the
Independent World Artists Network, it is exactly that, and is the brain child of hip and
fresh entrepreneurs Garo Gallo (GG) and Yvonne Colón (YC).
On their My Space site (www.myspace.com/bythewayproductions) , they write, “We are
an avenue for artists that have been working in their field independently and want to
promote their goods to a wider audience. We promote and market independent artists
so that they may realize their dreams
|GG | We’re bringing together different groups of artists, just many little sub-groups. We
were originally called By The Way, and we decided to change the name to more depict
what we’re doing. How long ago did we meet? (6) years ago? (5) years ago, again? It’s
funny, like we originally met when I was 17, I think you (turning to Yvonne) were 17 as
well. And uh, she had already started doing productions on her own. She hosted a
music night in Puerto Rico on a couple of television shows that were public access.
Over here (the States), from booking my own band I kind of accidentally became a
promoter. No one was really biting at my band at the time but I had to get myself
through the door. We had all this in common, you know I liked promoting music and art
and she did too.
Our first place was a little saloon not far from here called the Fort Lauderdale Saloon, it’
s kind of a little dark bar but it had a really big yard. And we then basically said hell let’s
put our heads together and actually do something that we both are into. We talked to
the owner there, and there wasn’t a whole oot going on besides a couple of locals, so
we kind of took it over. Really just big art parties if you will with music and we realized
that’s where we’re good together…
YC | It grew to more cultural events, ArtServ started asking us to get more people
together for them, doing events for different art centers, they just wanted that young you
know like New York crazy real artist feel at their places. So it was kind of cool because
those art galleries on Las Olas were actually approaching us at the Fort Lauderdale
Saloon asking us for that edge, and that’s pretty much how we started.
GG | About (2) years into what we were doing we started looking into our own place. And
we saw this place but the rent was really high. We knew this place was special, as you
saw the backyard area looks like it was made for being a mini amphitheatre.
AD | You said you had a band? What was the name of your band?
GG | Dooms De Pop, and I kind of like to pronouncing it like a stupid American, just
because it gives it a double meaning.
AD | <turning to Yvonne> And you are an artist as well?
YC | I studied production, I studied telecommunications in Puerto Rico and then I came
here (the States) to study the more video end of production.
AD |What nationalities are you?
YC | I’m from Puerto Rico.
GG | I’m Italian <grins>
AD | Are you guys boyfriend and girlfriend, are you married?
GG | We’re partners in crime and well love also I guess <smiling>
YC | Yeah… <smiling>
AD | And you've been doing this together now (5) years?
YC | 5 years…5 and a half.
GG | That’s where it gets interesting, we met when we were both 17, then there was like
a 7 year gap…then we coincidentally ran into each other. We actually went on a date,
when we were kids but I changed my number, she changed her number and we didn't
have any mutual friends at all…
YC | He was hanging out at my house with my old roommate…
GG | Yeah and he told me about his roommate that does production, the more he told
me about his roommate, the more I was becoming attracted to this person (Yvonne).
And when I saw pictures on the kitchen refrigerator sure enough it was her
YC | And from then on we started working together just doing all kinds of projects
AD | There are a number of artists in the Latino and gay communities, like any aspiring
artist that would LOVE an opportunity like this. What can they do to get started and to get
GG | You mean what can they do to get to this point? Or what can they do to join our
|AD | Your place here.
YC | We are putting together some small shows…we are accepting submissions there
is also a little shop here for concessions, its open pretty much for small pieces, month
to month. We’re also having openings where people can submit. For the feature
galleries, we’re having feature artists every few months…then from there (for people
that submit) we’re going to select an artist that will occupy the main gallery.
GG | Submit through e-mail.
YC | Yeah, or jump on our website.
GG |And through the mail.
YC | Or they can come here and fill out the submission form.
AD | How long have you been here?
YC | AT this location? We had our Grand Opening on June 6th, and we’ll do a re-
opening we’re just waiting well once we get our A/C. <laughs>
GG | 68 days we've been here prior to June 6th, really, just working on the place…it’s
been a major difference in the before and after…
We’re going to have the last Friday of the month (for special
events), which is going to be movie night, and that will be hosted
by different artists, that are local artists…
GG| Yeah local artists…
YC | …designers, painters…
GG | …people who are standing out locally, people who are names in their
neighborhoods, and just different, you know, writers and musicians. You know how
everybody has that movie that they want everybody to see? Well this is going to be a
platform for you to say that. Add your name here, special here tonight, double
feature…we have a great projector for it and everything. That’s going to be once a
AD | That’s the plan for this then once a month?
GG | The plan is to have (4) monthlies, so every week, every weekend <excuse me>
there’s going to be a different event. And maybe a small showcase in between like a
Wednesday or a Thursday.
YC | We’ve been doing the Red Eye Exhibition with Art Serv for the past (3) years. And
this year we’re going to be doing their after party here. So we’re going to have a little
schedule. And when it comes to the featured talent we’re selecting, we’re going to try to
get them involved in these productions and do different projects…
AD |Is there a limit, or boundary you won’t cross with any artwork that would want to be
GG | No.
YC | We’re looking for cool people.
GG | Yep.
YC | That’s the boundary.
AD | Political? Sexual?
YC | No, just nice, positive, good people. We’re really looking for that vibe because that’
s what’s going to make the ambience.
GG | We’re looking for more of the unique, you know, not that bound cookie cutter…we’re
just looking for originality in all its forms and it’s beautiful…
AD |Do you invite DJ’s or musical acts looking for exposure that can go along with an
evening of intense artwork?
GG | It’s not just promoting…it’s not just art. It’s not just this media it’s also music, it’s
YC |Writing...film…it’s about the artists.
GG | Artists in the purest sense of the word…whether its verbal…
YC| We like people <grins>
GG | We actually had DJ’s at our show (the opening), (14) bands, I forget how many (17)
visual artists…I say visual including also sculptures…so I guess sonic
and visual…all forms.
AD |Do you do a lot of your networking (obviously) online?
GG | Yes…a lot of promoting on there (Facebook, MySpace), some of the artists
actually…we found, she found on MySpace looking randomly.
AD | And you mentioned doing ArtServ’s after party at this new venue here?
YC| We’re pretty much doing our own set up, we always decide the direction we’ll be
going in…this year we’re trying to mix in all walks of people and other age crowds who
would like to become buyers and to come in here to look at the art.
AD | Do you welcome organizations, groups, any of these who would want your help and
your space here for gatherings?
GG | Really there’s no one we would turn away at all (I mean aside from the Ku Klux
Klan), as long as the negotiations go well, and out personalities mix, and we’re on the
same page as far as what the focus is and that’s to bring up the local community and
open people’s eyes to works that are right under their noses.
YC | We've talked with everybody. We've co-produced an event with the City of Fort
Lauderdale…The New Times…10th Anniversary parties. Anyone with projects that
might need a little guidance, we give back and we offer that because a lot of people
have helped us
GG |…whether it’s to provide talent for a show for someone, or provide an extra band or
extra hand…we try to do as much as possible.
I went on to take some pictures of the interior walls of IWAN, saturated with creative
works and schemes of all imaginable sources. The exterior face of IWAN is covered in
an amazing mural by Francesco LoCastro (www.francescolocastro.com), and served
as an excellent backdrop for some rich captures with Yvonne and Garo. There is
definitely something special here and a bright future is on the horizon for anyone in the
local tri-county area and beyond, to showcase their creative breakthrough desire. Now
that desire can be
showcased in one of the (for lack of a better word) “coolest” places you can think of and
network with some of the most amazing people, who are (as Garo put it), right under our
With that said look for upcoming interviews and photos with local artists Lisa Parrott
and Erick Arenas, both very hot. I can’t wait to pick their brains and share that great
I was treated also to a complimentary CD featuring edgy local rock bands (ie. Dooms
De Pop, The Holy Terrors, Fireant, among many others).
The CD is titled “Now Ear This: IWAN 2-B Compilation ONE”, check it out!
I have hired a vessel and am occupied in collecting my
sailors…appear to be men on whom I can depend and are
certainly possessed of dauntless courage.
- From “Frankenstein” by Mary Shelley
For more information on IWAN please visit:
or to contact Garo Gallo and Yvonne Colon and wish to learn more about submitting
your artwork, your writing, your music, your sculptures, your creative brain power etc., e-
mail them at:
CLICK HERE for more Armando Diaz, Jr.
Copyright 2009| Ambiente. Do not reproduce without prior authorization.