Miami’s Wynwood Walls


Miami’s Wynwood Walls

Where street art climbs to a whole new level

By Richard Varr

PH 189If these walls could talk… but they do.

In this winding maze of street art, bold patterns and colors scream with passion and fantasy, with raw emotion and imagination. I see luminescent cityscapes, quirky figures bathed in cool colors, and the faces of enormous caricatures expressing a jumble of foolishness and frivolity.

I’m touring Wynwood Walls, Miami’s open-air art museum that has helped breathe new life into a once-decaying urban neighborhood. It’s where the thin line between street art and graffiti fades, and where some of the world’s most famous artists have left their mark on old warehouse walls. Themes range from creative abstract designs and pure figments of imagination to artworks with strong political messages.

“Wynwood Walls is a great place to have a full art experience,” says guide Kasey Billitz, of Wynwood Art Walk, which offers weekly and monthly tours along the Walls’ several dozen murals. “You see the fun-loving art that’s not really rooted in meaning or depth and thought, but just fun to look at and that makes you feel good. And there are pieces that will make you stop, think, and question.

“Street art is one of the most powerful forms of art because it’s available to the public,” she adds. “It’s not exclusive or shut behind closed doors. You don’t have to pay and it’s open to everyone.”

In one mural, jagged bands of surreal yellow, orange and purple hues — like a kaleidoscopic dream — streak around a green baby creature rippled with muscles. The artwork by Texas-born artist Ron English has been appropriately called “Hulk Boy” or “Little Hulk.”

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