Selections’ writer and visual artist Yasmina Nysten writes about painting in Miami during ArtBasel. Experience Wynwood, the stomping ground of street art through her perspective.
This year during ArtBasel, away from the Miami Beach buzz, a whole lot of bright colours and largess was taking place on the streets of the infamous neighbourhood called Wynwood.
Artists from all over the globe have taken to the streets claiming their walls, working through the nights, mingling amongst each other and the creatures of the night.
The entire area smelt of spray paint and smoke.
We rolled into Wynwood at sunset on the Wednesday of Art Basel week. « We » refers to myself and my painting partner in crime who goes by GorillaKill. An Oregon based artist who has made this trip 17 times to date. It was my first experience.
On night one, the area was dominated by the presence of some bold characters, the kind that look you straight in the eye as they look right through you. Protectors and supporters of the arts like Joe Ficalora, creator of the Bushwick Collective, one of the most popular locations around.
I learnt that night that he was essential to the local artistic ecosystem.
By the second day I was more aware of my surroundings, hungry for paint. We took to the street at a new location. A parallel street, manned by Tut, a local street artist who has been on the block for as long as all the art around, curating the work on those specific walls and bringing only positive energy to his artists and friends.
By Thursday, the neighbourhood was buzzing like madness. The wall assigned to us by Tut was in front of a nightclub called MAPS that happened to have DJs such as Major Lazor, Diplo and Shepard Ferry playing music all night. Painting was like fire.
Simultaneously on the same 24th street, you could find the one and only, coined godfather of street art: Ron English, the talented and sharp minded Ian Wilkinson, the Miss of all Misses Elle, Sipros and his giant expressionistic Dalí head, LAmour Supreme, Osiris and many more. All this culminated into 25th street where the museum of graffiti, held a mind bending exhibition that included some of their works.
By the end of the weekend, after all said, done and painted, I finally earned my first street art badge which was a baptism of sorts: the BEIRUT Bomber was I coined henceforth.
From the street to the moon, the fumes of Wynwood rise up in colored hues. It’s the other side of that lucky coin, the place to be during Art Basel. A word of advice: do NOT miss it.