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Os Gemeos

When you only have one night in Miami – and you’re there for work – you still want to make the most of it. And with the Paris Marathon just around the corner, I found that, in actual fact, the best way for me to do a lot was to run around. Literally.
As a fan of street and spray-can art, going to Wynwood Walls has been on my bucket-list for some time now. So as soon as I got to the hotel, with a podcast of an interview with Kevin James – the reason for my trip to Miami – loaded on my iPhone, I ran the 3 miles to the walls, and then spent another 2 and a half running from section to section, trying to soak it all in. There’s not really a natural path to follow to see it all, so I just weaved in between the streets, whenever I saw something that grabbed my attention, I’d follow it and go look at it up close. Google Art has this incredible street art programme where you can use Street View to look at pieces of art from all over the world, which is great for preservation too, but there’s nothing like seeing the tall, towering pieces in person.
There were a few I really wanted to see, the rest, outside the walls, occupying the surrounding area, I just wanted to stumble upon in whatever way I was meant to find them. Faith47, one of South Africa’s finest artists, most certainly as women go, has a few pieces up. One is from 2013, titled Multum in Parvo, that was actually the first piece I found, after taking a wrong turn – although I think in this context there was no such thing. It’s incredibly moving to see, and there is something about the scale of seeing an image like this on such a large canvass that really just shifts a whole lot of emotions inside.
She also has a smaller piece inside the Wynwood Walls complex, and this other beautiful piece I wish I had taken a better picture of. A collaboration with Alexis Dias titled Eros, it’s a magnificent meditation on sensuality, and if you look at the snake, it comes apart beneath the woman’s body. The detail, as always, it what makes it so striking.

Swoon is another one of my favourites, who first started out by placing her life-sized portraits of friends and family around NYC, and I also took in the Lady Pink piece – a treat given she is the only woman considered capable of competing with the guys back in the day when she used to paint subway trains in the early 80s.

Stumbled upon this familar face, and found out it was Nicholai Khan, who painted Madiba’s face for his Be Your Own Icon series. Unfortunately the part where Nelson Mandela’s hands are resting on his face has been tagged over.

Other familiar faces, or at least tags…
Anthony Lister

Kobra

Case Maclaim    

Dal East x2
     
Os Gemeos
And found a few new names to keep a look out for in the future…
like Miss Van

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Mr D 1987

and Abstrk
I tried not to feel overwhelmed, but it still happened. The fear that you won’t see everything has to be accepted. You aren’t. It just makes for the perfect reason to return to Miami. That, and the glorious weather.
Featured pic: Lakwena 

Since moving to New York three years ago, I’ve come to appreciate the corner of Bowery and Houston, like many fellow street art lovers in this city.

The mural that exists at the spot where the streets intersect has been covered up for a few months – leading to fears it may be in jeopardy, with all the construction and development going on.

It turns out the space will still be there, as it has for the past 32 years (making the Bowery mural as old as this here writer), even as the area continues to develop. It wasn’t always a mural for street art, but once a real estate developer donated it to his artist friend in 2008, it became a place for big pieces to shine – and attract tags from other artists – in NYC.

Keith Haring first painted the mural, back in 1982, together with fellow artist Juan Dubose, according to ComplexHistory of the Bowery Mural. The spot is as central now as it was back then, in the middle of the burgeoning downtown arts scene, right on the path of artists walking back and forth between SoHo and the Lower East Side.

Since 2008, the space has seen the likes of Shepard Fairey, JR, Aiko Nakagawa and more. On Tuesday night, an Os Gemeos piece was unveiled, from 2009. The piece by the Brazillian twins Gustavo and Otavio Pandolfo had been protected and stored and is now back up for a limited time. Quite fitting too, that it was done on the eve of it being a year since Banksy made NYC his playground with his Better Out Than In street art scavenger hunt. The brothers collaborated with him on a set of Village Voice covers, one of which it seems the producers of Homeland may have seen too…
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Os Gemeos have gone on to develop their scope and style, as their incredible recent 360 degree piece in Vancouver shows, but their Bowery mural is a pleasure to behold for those of us who weren’t here back in 2009. And perhaps those who missed it the first time around. The whimsical piece is full of colour and detail – I particularly like the over-full N train. The vibrancy and life within the piece, much like that which the mural space itself represents, is most welcome back to the area.

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