The murals of Wynwood are like Miami’s own sand mandalas – elaborate and beautiful works of art that are created only to be destroyed in a celebration of the impermanence of life.
Here today, gone tomorrow. A graffiti buffer removes a wall mural in the Wynwood Art District.
The men and women who create these works are highly competitive, brave and often a little bit nuts, but always fascinating. A documentary by WLRN, which will be screened this Thursday at the Perez Art Museum Miami, follows several of the artists who paint the walls of Wynwood in preparation for the annual art extravaganza, Art Basel. “Streets of Wynwood” was filmed with several camera crews over the course of two Art Basels, going inside the world of the street artists who did the honors, introducing a diverse brigade of taggers, muralists and graffiti artists that come together in Miami once a year to put their paint on a piece of prized art world real estate.
Brazilian artist Eduardo Kobra finishes his ‘Tupac and Biggie Street Art Tribute’ in Wynwood during Miami Art Basel in 2013
The hour-long documentary presents a kaleidoscopic look at the artists who come to Wynwood, focusing on six of the most prolific like Shepard Fairey and Brazilian artist Eduardo Kobra.
“What became clear to me as we were shooting this,” says Alan Tomlinson, Director of Programming and Production of WLRN, “is that there is such a variety of people involved in street art. From poor kids in the favelas of Brazil who started out as taggers and are now in constant demand to the folks who are classically trained as artists who just decided that doing art in public is the way to go.”
Tomlinson notes that street art is very much an international movement. “These artists travel the world, they all know each other and they all know the various parts of the world where you find the best street art,” he says. The annual journey to Miami in the build up to Art Basel becomes something of a family reunion as Wynwood gets reborn with new colors. “They love to come here and rub shoulders and meet new people and thoroughly enjoy this celebration of street art.”
Though they come from many different backgrounds, there is one thing they have in common. Says Tomlinson, “They all agree that Wynwood is special.”