Art is really happening in Miami. It’s bright, bold and in your face. There’s a big movement of international contemporary art dramatically sweeping the city. Miami is changing, and I am so lucky to be able to witness it.
I moved from San Francisco, CA in 2012 and back then art was happening mostly in The Mission district and places like Project One. Art was engraved in the multicultural streets of San Francisco. From what I’ve heard, the scene is changing due to the imminent immigration of all things tech: Google buses, coders, techies and everything in between that brought housing and rents up. Artists are moving away. I wonder if they are all coming to Miami.
The Wynwood Art District was born in early 2003, spearheaded by artists and curators such as Mark Coetzee and Nick Cindric. Coetzee initiated the idea based on a similar project called Art Night which he had started in his home town of Cape Town, South Africa. It’s now home to over 70 galleries, five museums, three collections, seven art complexes, twelve art studios and five art fairs. Every 2nd Saturday of each month a community wide Art Walk is held. Galleries, art studios, alternative spaces and showrooms open their doors to the public for art, music and refreshments.
Wynwood District in Miami is my favorite neighborhood: laid back, artsy, bohemian, walkable and happening.
Beverly and I visited the Wynwood Art fair held on President’s day weekend. The minute we walked in we sensed something big was going on. The people looked different: traveled, sophisticated, international and edgy. It looked a lot like a New York City party in SoHo. We could hear several different languages being spoken in the same room, and that already is a huge source of inspiration for us.
Art Wynwood 2014 featured 70 international galleries presenting emerging, cutting edge, contemporary and modern works with its own distinct identity and design. A unique feature was the highlight of street art, murals, pop surrealism and other genres from the contemporary underground movement. Art Wynwood was the perfect entryway to further explore the growing worldwide recognition of the graffiti movement that is now so characteristic of Miami. The fair showcased a diverse range of fresh and edgy works by established, mid-career and emerging international contemporary and urban street artists from around the globe.
We had the unique opportunity to chat with local artist Teresa Diehl, who was born in Lebanon, lived in Venezuela, studied at the San Francisco Art Institute and now lives and creates in Miami. Teresa Diehl’s art involves installation, video, sound, sculpture, and photography. Her work is a hallucinatory feast for the senses – smell, texture, sound, touch, are stretched and played before the viewer.
I truly enjoyed meeting someone who, like me, lived the art world in the San Francisco Bay Area, but now is witnessing the amazing transformation of Miami into a new culinary, fashion and art mecca. She is a perfect example of the new Miami demographics: international, cultured, multilingual and bohemian chic.
We also met one of the biggest names in Street Graffiti Art: Speedy Graphito. We saw him working live in a gigantic indoor mural. Olivier Rizzo, aka Speedy Graphito, is a French painter who was born in Paris in 1961. He is one of the pioneers of the French Street Art movement. By imposing a powerful, innovative style in the early 1980s, Speedy influenced a generation of urban artists. Though his work has evolved considerably over the past few decades, he has become known and revered for his exploration of commercialism and references to pop culture images and icons through graffiti and murals.
His graffiti, executed with stencils or with a brush, incorporates schematic and dynamic characters. His influences include America of the Fifties, cartoons and images in Maya culture. Particularly influenced by the iconography of Disney characters and video games, Speedy Graphito often turns a critical eye on our society, as his works feed off the collective memory of iconic imagery to create a new universal language.
His work, among all the other artists, is impressive; it’s big, colorful, diverse and bold. It’s a true reflection of what Miami is becoming today.