Last night (Saturday, Aug. 13), having just arrived in Miami in anticipation of the birth of our number-one grandchild, we were treated by very pregnant daughter Eleni and her husband Emilio to an Aegean-style dinner at a restaurant called Mandolin in a patio that kept me thinking I was back in Greece.
As clouds obscured the full moon and heat lightning dramatically flickered overhead, they then drove us to what is clearly one of the busiest, craziest and most exciting areas of street art I’ve ever seen. (And you know I like street art!)
Daughter Marina in front of a graphic mural.
The Wynwood district of Miami was originally the fashion district, filled with windowless factories. Then it became a slum and, in January of 2009, to coincide with the famous Art Basel show, it was transformed into the Wynwood Walls District. At least a dozen of the hottest international artists decorated the large walls with their murals.
Here’s how their web site describes it: “Wynwood Walls, Miami’s epicenter for cutting edge museum-quality contemporary murals, builds on the street art tradition already established in Miami’s Wynwood District. The result of a collaboration between Tony Goldman of Goldman properties and Jeffrey Deitch of Deitch Projects, the open-air art park launched during Art Basel 2009.
Probably the most famous name represented here is Shepard Fairey, the controversial artist who created the famous “Hope” campaign poster for Barack Obama. He has incorporated in this mural (below) a portrait of Aung San Suu, whose image he has used in a poster promoting human rights in Burma.
Here’s what Tangerine Living blog magazine has to say about the artists:
The bright light of the neighborhood is the Wynwood Kitchen & Bar that offers a memorable dining experience and delish brasserie cuisine, which also houses the Wynwood Walls with major works from influential street artists from the US, Europe, Asia, and Latin America. Their diverse talents are represented with originals by Shepard Fairey, Kenny Scharf, David Benjamin Sherry, Christian Awe, Ryan McGinness, DB Burkeman, Coco 144 & Phase 2, Stelios Faitakis, Invader, Barry McGee, and Ron English to name just a few. It’s one of the coolest and most visually striking resto and art park in the country.
We were very lucky—we just happened to drive into the Wynwood District on the night of the Second Saturday Art Walk. On the second Saturday of every month, the district comes alive with crowds, live music, open doors to more than 70 art galleries, countless food wagons, valet parking and the hippest-looking crowd of art lovers spilling into the streets and enjoying it all.
We couldn’t stay to see it all. After all, Eleni is nine months pregnant and can’t really party like a rock star, but we took a quick look around and I wanted to share some of the photos I took last night with you.
Joan and "Big Eleni". Emilio's mom, Carmen was there too.