By Connor Hansen
Photography by Karin Martinez
Miles Forman digs art. Paintings. Music. Theater. Photography. No matter the medium, it’s large in importance to this third-generation Fort Lauderdale native. Referencing the famous Duke Ellington quote, “There are two kinds of music—good music and the other kind,” Forman says, “That is how I not only feel about music but all art, all kinds.” While he sits upstairs at Ernie’s Bar-B-Q, a balmy breeze tousles his messy tangle of curls as he gazes over the balcony’s edge at a rush hour traffic jam on South Federal Highway.
“I like it up here,” he muses. “There’s so much to watch. It used to be a lot seedier on this stretch of U.S. 1, but it’s still fascinating to watch everything going on.”
Grandson to Fort Lauderdale founding father Hamilton Forman, and son to the prominent Austin Forman, this 38-year-old, hardworking free spirit attended Cardinal Gibbons High School and the Art Institute, surrounded by the politics of the burgeoning real estate empire his family built and their influence on this city.
A few years ago, Forman created a documentary called “Fatboy: The Movie” chronicling his own dramatic weight loss. He wanted to embark on such a journey because he didn’t feel he had it in him to lose the necessary weight if his struggle and voyage to health weren’t publicized. He succeeded.
These days, Forman’s professional life includes running a record label called Stereo Bang Media. His main client, Hyro da Hero, is an alternative rap artist who tours internationally and has played such gigs as the Vans Warped Tour. In typical fashion, Forman dove into all aspects of representing Hyro, writing, producing and directing his music videos.
He talks fervently about different musicians and genres, his favorites being Guns N’ Roses, R.E.M., Phish, Wilco, White Stripes, The Strokes, Pearl Jam…the list continues. Do not even get him started on Miley Cyrus. His hands fly dramatically and his voice hits an angry crescendo as he trashes the young pop star, using more than a few choice words.
He’s a film buff, with interests running the gamut. And it’s no surprise he has an opinion about that industry, too.
“I just love creativity. If something grabs my attention, I want to know what it is.”
“How do I have time to watch that many movies? Because I make a commitment while you spend three-and-a-half hours channel-surfing reality TV bulls**t,” he says.
Taking a breath, this Gemini switches topics quickly, his short attention span apparent. He talks about his art collection. Some of his favorite masterpieces are the avant-garde works of British street artist Banksy.
“I like to collect art because I like it,” he points out. “All of this stuff, all the different art, comes together for me. I just…I just love creativity. If something grabs my attention, I want to know what it is.”
Nowadays, however, the biggest masterpiece grabbing his attention is his family, which includes his wife, Tara, and three young children: Chloe, 7; Mick, 3; and Hamilton, 6 months. He actually received an invitation to the Grammy Awards this year, but turned it down in favor of daddy duties. “Maybe next year,” he shrugs.
Forman serves on the boards of the Museum of Art | Fort Lauderdale and the Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival, among others. He has big visions for where Fort Lauderdale could take itself culturally.
“There has always been plenty of art in South Florida, and we are home to great artists of every generation,” Forman says. “People just don’t want to embrace it. Everyone needs to get out of the box. Go see a play. Go see a local band. We have a lot of other options here like sports teams, shopping and nightclubs. But sometimes, maybe you should look around at all the culture we have here at our disposal. Next time you have a date or something, you know, next time you need something to do, maybe you should try to inject a little culture into your life.”
Originally appeared in the Premiere 2014 issue.