This past week Miami was the mecca of graffiti, and the biggest convergence of graffiti artists from every corner of the planet here to paint. Also added to the mix was Miami’s local artists, all of which made wall “real estate” about as available as an affordable artist’s loft – zilch, or at least, you had to know someone. Some artists were lucky enough to return to the “scene of the crime”, having already proven their skills, into the open arms of the building owners. Some were ingenious enough to find walls in unsuspecting places like inside new pop up stores in Wynwood, or inside empty buildings. Others were willing to share available walls, creating beautiful collaborations.
For example, on the corner of NW 2nd Avenue and 24th Street, a group of artists from Montreal and Chicago covered a building in monotones of black and white. Each artist had their own signature style, however, sometimes incorporating each other’s piece spontaneously. The result magnificent. This group of artists had met up once before in Chicago and decided to collaborate even before arriving in Miami. They tagged themselves as the @enmasseproject and individually – @jshatzart, @robotkin, @tmnk, @kevinledo, @thechamp, and @starfightera.
Another large group of artists came in from various parts of California, two from North Carolina, and two from Brasil, painting on a very large wall by the abandoned RC Cola factory West of NW 5th near 23rd Street. The 15 artists collaborated on a theme based on a TV show about ancient aliens that once lived on this planet. They tagged their group as @CBS (Can’t be Stopped) and individually as, (from left to right) @griffin, @snek, @roght, @wins, @seneca, @thanks, @tews, @haste, @dytch, @rove, @reds, @bleek, @gus, @binko, @dcypher.
On NW 24th West of SW 2nd Ave., and on NW 27th just East of NW 2nd Ave., Everfresh Studio artists from Australia collaborated, each in their own distinctive styles easily recognizable by their many fans, @r_o_n_e, @maka, and @meggs. As individual artists, they did numerous other walls, including the extremely large WYNWOOD visible from NW 2nd Avenue, near 21st Street, by @maka.
Something else most incoming artist had in common was funding – or lack of it. Some manage to get sponsors, usually a spray paint company like Ironlak, but most came up with their own funds for travel, transportation and lodging. Many of them were “paid” in paint for their endless hours in inclement weather, by flashlight or burning sunlight, to create masterpieces for the building owners, the same building owners that benefited from the hordes of art lovers flocking to their sites to take in the creations.
Another compilation of the Montreal/Chicago crew, including local artist @elgrafisto, painted blues and golds on 20th and NW1st Court, @shewasamonster, @starfightera, @kevinledo, @crush_entity, @revisecmw, and @ryebread_tce, paying for their own paints.
New this year were trucking companies who seized on the opportunity and offered up the sides of their 18 wheelers getting customized paint jobs for the mere price of the cans of paint, a win/win for the artist, not only landing a large space to paint, but a canvas that will be hitting the highways of America.
The collaborations of endless number of talented artists are too numerous to name them all. My suggestion is to get out and see them before they are painted over, and show your gratitude by photographing, hash-tagging and sharing on social media, as the recognition is all they receive for their efforts. Sometimes the recognition can translate into long lasting careers.