A Miami based contemporary art newsletter / blog

Miami’s Wax Man: A dirty job but someone’s got to do it.

Disease ‘records’ found at the Miami Dade residence believed by Police to have been the one-time stronghold of Wax Man

  • Lesser known artist
  • Goes only by the name of Wax Man
  • Sightings few
  • Formal exhibitions none

This nefarious cultural icon raids the trash bags of Miami waxing salons; his aim: to collect the used wax or “skins”– especially those impregnated with pubic hair which he then takes back to his home-lab to tests for venereal diseases. Those waxes found to be contaminated with STD’s, skin complaints, parasites, yeasts etc are disposed of in the proper way and their location of origin mapped on a series of geographic maps and topical graphs.

Traveling around the country, but working mainly in Miami, Wax Man, has been sighted and arrested only a few times. On each occasion he has evaded proper identification by posing as a common bum. Ironically no one actually knows whether he is or he isn’t a bum as no address has yet been paired successfully with the name “Wax Man” there are even speculations that the only reason the majority of his work seems to be done in Miami is because of the large number of waxing salons boasted by the locale. All we know of the artist comes from evidence found at his “unmanned protests” nightly visitations where salons are defiled with printed data depicting the severity of their negligence and from a number of raids on abandoned houses believed to have been occupied by Wax Man. Due to the sensitive nature of his art only a number of Wax Man’s maps and charts have even been recovered. Volunteered then promptly seized by police at scenes of his unique brand of protest crime, they serve to visualize the concentration of salons releasing harmful matter into public systems with alarmingly evident enormity.

Pin Map, 1997 – 2004

By illustrating the location of the waxing salons that negligently re-introduce contagious sexual viruses back into the population he exposes not only hot spots of national laxity, but also the truth that public health awareness, despite sanctimonious rubbish about national identities and supposed offense taken to affronts of primness, is no better than it has ever been.

Standards of education have been poor and are still poor compared to what they could be. We may breed children that excel academically but we regularly neglect so many other important areas in the development of well rounded human beings. But, we are on the cusp of a renaissance in the way we live – the recent readdress of the school lunch menu was among the first institutional dams to be breached.

Left: A Miami Dade dumpster Right: A pie chart showing the prevalence of sexual diseases in young US adults.

This one instance of pollutant germs to which our at attention has been drawn harks to times gone by when the streets ran ankle deep in effluence, the rivers brown with excrement and blood from the slaughterhouses, and diseases like cholera and small pox were rife among infants and the elderly. Thankfully the cholera epidemic seems to have abated, at least in the west, and we are apparently rid of small pox though its threat somehow still lingers on the conscience. But although the causes of these ails have been all but vanquished there remain different diseases in their place – both bacterial and societal in their origins. Indolence, not through ignorance, but rather pure laziness and lack of concern for one’s fellow men is reaching epidemic levels.

Left: ARTLURKER’S Blanche Veilhan interviews Miami waxing salon worker.  Right: With a used strip of wax or “skin”.

Fostered in a perfect breeding ground of social irresponsibility westerners are not only at great risk, but we probably don’t even care! Borne of living in such vast numbers, disconnected from a community or duty to those around you, these values, or rather moral leprosies, have placed us in a position of almost inevitable self destruction. Relying on no one but yourself and those close to you to get by; building walls, closing down. These are the diseases that the Wax Man finds, in addition to the actual diseases presently festering perhaps just a block from your home. It is these concentrations that his maps depict, these levels of unacceptable, dangerous ethical desertion that his graphs plot and predict.

One of the salons where Wax Man was apparently spotted.

Wax Man prefers non-representation by a gallery. Due to his relative obscurity his works travel by word of mouth or are occasionally forced upon certain guilty parties or shareholders of said companies who act as protagonists, knowingly albeit passively perpetuating these blatant violations of US hygiene laws. The judgments he metes out are silent victories, no mass reception is figured into their design. If anything he aims to change the world one waxing salon and one person at a time.

By alerting us to an otherwise overlooked problem he not only vilifies his own practice but acts as a kind of public watchdog; and by virtue of his decision not to report offending salons to the relevant authorities, a somewhat kind and virtuous one.  If he would only concede to be interviewed we might have a clearer picture of his intent but in the absence of a definitive statement one can assume that his ‘message’ would be a simple one: that we are the cause, but that we are also the cure.

For more information please contact Manny Diaz.


  • I was there

    This sounds like the work of a wayward unlicensed home practicing Esthetician’s Assistant…[Like Igor to Dr. Frankenstein]

    Like a disgruntled bitter old wrinkled folic thief.

    Miami is riddled with unlicensed botox clinics, dental labs and waxing salons all set up in houses thoughout Miami-Dade, Miami Beach, Bal Harbor and Surfside.

    An esthetician specializes in the study of skin care, including facials, microdermabrasion, body wraps (relaxing treatments which involve hot linens, plastic sheets, and blankets), salt glows (an exfoliation treatment), waxing as a form of hair removal, cosmetic make-up services and other services with advanced training. Estheticians may work independently in a spa or salon or may assist a doctor in his or her practice. Working with a doctor an esthetician may perform more advanced services that require a doctor’s supervision, such as deep chemical peels.

    An esthetician is not necessarily licensed in cosmetology, but is typically well versed in knowledge of skin care.

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Miami’s Wax Man: A dirty job but someone’s got to do it.