Now one of the most popular sites to visit in Miami for its massive, colorful, elaborate outdoor murals, the old inner-city neighborhood of Wynwood wasn’t always such a sight to behold. In fact, if you last visited prior to 2009, you would have found a desolate and drab warehouse district outlined by working-class housing. But that all changed when developer and “community revitalizer” Tony Goldman had the idea to turn the massive walls of the empty industrial buildings that line the streets of Wynwood’s warehouse district into canvases. In doing so, he hoped that visitors would be more likely to walk around and explore the neighborhood’s fledgling restaurants and retail offerings. Thus, the artsy enclave of Wynwood – and its aptly named Wynwood Walls – was born. Since 2009, more than 50 artists from 16 countries have used more than 80,000 square feet of walls for their murals in a celebration of American and international creativity and expression.
While you can book all kinds of tours with Wynwood Art Walk to see the murals up close, if you’re strolling through the district on your own, here are five artists’ murals that we suggest you make time for.
Ecuadorian-born but New York City–bred, Lady Pink is considered the “first lady of graffiti” as she was one of the first women active in the tagging culture in NYC in the ’80s. While she has since branched out into fine art, painting on commission for collectors and museums around the world, she still sticks with spray paint as her main medium. In this piece, a half-building, half-woman being is depicted as lying down, with the city and nature all around her, with window eyes, a drainpipe mouth, and an entrance through her midsection.
Known as one of the best graffiti artists in France, Miss Van (Vanessa Alice Bensimon) is most distinctly known for the characters depicted in her work she calls “Poupes.” With masks on their faces and horns on their heads, the feminine creatures are alluring and, at the same time, vaguely menacing, stopping passersby in their tracks as they consider the Poupes’ intentions.
The work of Maya Hayuk is distinctly bold, symmetrical, and geometric, but the Brooklyn-based painter doesn’t just dazzle with color – her work is done with fine attention to detail that holds up upon close inspection, which is why she’s been featured in one-person exhibitions at venues like UCLA’s Hammer Museum and The Museum Of Contemporary Canadian Art. Here, the pink and blue hues give this psychedelic grid a measure of dimension that demands a long look.
Twin brothers Otavio and Gustavo Pandolfo, who go by Os Gemeos, got their start by painting graffiti back home in São Paulo, Brazil, and have worked their way around the world, including Lisbon, New York, Moscow, and Athens. While they don’t explicitly say it, their thought-provoking piece at Wynwood Walls may be depicting immigrants who reach Miami’s shores via boat. A consistent theme in the brothers’ work: characters with yellow skin and colorful clothes.
Tristan Eaton’s winding career includes a period when he was creating street art as a young teenager to designing a toy for Fisher-Price at just 18 years old. These days, he’s back to his roots, painting murals all over the globe, including this one that he created in Wynwood Walls in 2014. He often draws from sources of bright, vivid imagery as inspiration, and here, you can see it in his use of advertising and comic book lettering.