These days, the Miami art scene is as much about what’s on the streets as it is about museums and galleries. A visit to Wynwood Art District should disavow any art-lover of the notion that street art is not ‘real’ art.
The brainchild of a property developer/benefactor who invited street artists to ‘decorate’ a former industrial area to make it more attractive to renters, this ‘graffitification’ of Wynwood has led to enhanced property values and the emergence of over 70 galleries and museums as well as a host of cafes, restaurants and retail outlets.
Everywhere you look, artists from Ron English, Shepard Fairey and Kenny Scharf to Scan, Hoax and Inki have brought street-long walls alive with form and colour, whole sides of buildings have been transformed into a looming face here or a giant puppy dog there and roller-shutter doors are used as ‘canvases’ for emerging artists.
You can learn about the artists, where they’re from, what they do and how they do it on a bike tour of the neighbourhood with Miami’s Best Graffiti Guide, passionately led by local artists with an intimate knowledge of the area and where to find both the best known works and hidden gems.
The epicentre of the local movement, and an internationally recognised street art mecca, is Wynwood Walls, an enclosed ‘street art park’ which gives some of the world’s best street artists a wall each to showcase their work for a year. About 150,000 visitors a month flock to immerse themselves in Aztec patterns, psychedelic swirls, Egyptian motifs, writhing bodies, grotesque cartoonery, phantasmagorical creatures, fairytale-like mis en scene, shamanic images and trees and plants. In the right hands, spray cans are the tools of a particular kind of artist, who can bring the same deftness and subtlety to a piece as a watercolourist with a brush.
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HOW TO GET THERE Ireland’s only four-star airline Aer Lingus serves Miami via Dublin for Scottish travellers departing from Edinburgh or Glasgow. You can pre-clear US immigration in Dublin, avoiding any lengthy delays Stateside. Fares from £219 each-way, incl. taxes and charges when booked as a return trip. Business class fares from £899 each way, incl. taxes and charges.
WHERE TO STAY
A short block from the ocean, the Philippe Starck-designed Delano South Beach is a luxury
boutique hotel which offers fine dining, poolside luxury and a roof-top wellness centre. Its Collins Avenue location provides easy access to local shopping, restaurants and nightlife.
Downtown, the SLS Brickell, also designed by Philippe Starck, has many playful design features and a spectacular, roof-top pool supervised by a giant, synthetic duck. The nearby MetroMover station provides
free transportation to all local attractions.