During Art Basel in December 2014, a new installation by Swoon in the Wynwood Walls graced Miami. Arrested Motion is a colorful mural accenting a poignant contrast between pink and brown hues. Her street pasting technique delivers a touching depiction of a mother breastfeeding her baby. To the sides of this immense painting, ornate patterns and meaningful figures provide the backdrop for a diverse cast of characters both human and creature-like.
Born in the lagging end of the hippy, ‘70s era (1978), Swoon is a true flower child. She was born in New London, Connecticut and raised in Daytona Beach, Florida. Her birth name is Caledonia Dance Curry. The name Swoon came to her ex-boyfriend in a dream where she was painting the letters all over city buildings. Before this, her work was anonymous and always found in the most remote, abandoned crevices of New York. In a 2010 Tedx Talk in Brooklyn (found on Youtube), Curry mentioned her dislike for being called Swoon in person. For her, the name has taken on a life of its own that represents the inspiration, human connection, and positive impact her work has had on several communities worldwide.
Curry’s interest in Graffiti art did not come to her until she was 19 when she was studying painting at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York. She became inspired by the street art in the city while simultaneously losing interest in becoming an artist whose cookie-cutter paintings would be observed solely by well-off art enthusiasts. She craved a shift in the world of art and its influence on society.
Curry found her avenue for human-scale initiatives in 2010 when she founded the Heliotrope Foundation. The foundation provides the definition for heliotrope as follows:
Heliotrope (n), a natural tendency, especially of plants, to turn or grow toward the sun.
The Heliotrope Foundation believes “Natural disasters, economic devastation, and moments of social crisis are all times when the creative process can and should be part of how we heal, rebuild, and move forward.”
The Konbit Shelter was the first initiative supported by the foundation. Spearheaded by artists in an effort to provide shelter relief for victims of the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, the sustainable building project evolved into a design group community center for learning, providing children with workshops encouraging creativity and possibility.