Since 2009, when an enterprising developer invited street artists to decorate Miami’s derelict warehouse district, Wynwood has transformed into one of the city’s trendiest destinations
When developer Tony Goldman created Wynwood Walls back in 2009, he proved to be a visionary – in just a few years, his street art concept literally exploded, spurring the creation of fantastical murals across an entire Miami neighbourhood and transforming what was the derelict warehouse district into the city’s trendiest and most vibrant destination.
Initially, Goldman invited innovative street artists – Swoon, Os Gemeos, Futura, Kenny Scharf, Shepard Fairey – to create murals on rundown building walls. The success of the venture led to the creation of Wynwood Doors in 2010, as more international street artists descended on Miami to spray graffiti works on 176 feet of roll-up storefront gates.
Like a dream in brilliant Technicolor, the art continued to spread across Wynwood: In 2013, Jeffrey Deitch co-curated Women on the Walls, a project that celebrated the contributions of women street artists by incorporating nine new murals by the likes of Lady Pink, Maya Hayuk and Sheryo. The following year Wynwood Walls introduced The Art of Collaboration, which saw various teams of two artists, each with their own unique style, come together to create something never before imagined.
Artists who have transformed Wywood include French-Tunisian artist eL Seed, who incorporated Arabic calligraphy into his work to come up with his own style: calligraffiti. There are also works by New York artist Crash, who started bombing subway cars when he was just 13. Chilean artist Inti radiates his country’s culture onto the walls to create engaging, folkloric artworks.
Wynwood’s dazzling murals encouraged over 70 art galleries and museums to open in the neighbourhood, along with shops, restaurants and bars. The area has also become one of Miami’s most beloved neighbourhoods, as locals and visitors alike descend upon Wynwood to take photos of the gigantic graffiti walls and bask in the glow of colourful street art.
A version of this article appeared in print in Selections, The Urban Art Issue #37, on page 62-63.