Sunday, December 20, 2015

Wynwood Murals

Wynwood Murals

Wynwood is a neighborhood, just north of downtown Miami, which had a lot of warehouses
and small factories.  It had fallen on bad times and become a derelict area.  When Art Basel
appeared and drew large numbers of people to Miami, a community planner suggested ways
of bringing the area back and attractive.  Primarily this was by getting property owners to
agree to allow graffiti artists to paint huge areas of empty wall space.  They then went all over
the world and invited the most famous graffiti artists to come to Miami and create
outdoor murals.   The program has been enormously successful.  This year there were
grtaffiti artists from 26 countries and they covered 80,000 square feet of walls.
Independent local artists painted more.

This is the side wall of a small apartment building, painted by a local artist.

A beautiful butterfly decorates the wall across from St. John's Community Clinic.

A wall of the clinic offers advice.  While I was there, they were giving free vaccinations,
and the line of mothers and children stretched all along the block.

Some murals have social and political messages.

But most morals are fanciful, realistic, or abstract.

This is the wall of a restaurant along N. W. 2nd Avenue at 25th Street.

Cartoon characters from many countries appear.

Several courtyards were once surrounded by tire warehouses.  The courtyards now serve as
places for families to come and have a snack or meal and enjoy the art.

A number of murals show traditions and images from the Middle East and Far East,
where there are many famous graffiti artists.  I talked with a couple, and many are highly
skilled in technical abilities.

A playful image facing the courtyard.

I don't know whether this is a script which can be read, but it certainly is a
beautiful geometric image for the wall.

Some of the buildings are now restaurants and snack bars; this is the wall of one.

Super-realism is a highly regarded style.  This fantastic elephant-octopus was
huge and amazing.

This was the wall of an art gallery. and the artist was obviously a very skilled technician.

A fancifully painted wall in pseudo-Arabic script.

Across the street were portraits of famous graffiti artists Jean-Michel Basquiat and Andy Warhol.

A fantasy reclining figure was probably 50 feet long.

One artist combined painting with plastic flowers.

And of course they painted the question all visitors ask: "Is it art, or is it vandalism?"

Around the corner is the entrance to he art gallery, of which this is the 2nd Avenue wall.

Science fiction subjects are popular.

Some of tghe graffiti artists proudly sign their names; others prefer to remain anonymous.

This mural was on the wall of an art gallery which sold prints of the above can.
Commercialism and art are nearly synonymous.

This Art Nouveau style wall poster was by "Inkie," who seemed to be
quite famous and had a number of signed murals.

On weekends, it is now popular for Miamians and tourists to come to Wynwood
and walk around and enjoy the murals and have lunch at one of the many outdoor faces.
The double-decker tourist buses drive along the street and drop people off until
a later bus picks them up.  There were many tourists from France in the courtyard today.
Tour guides led groups of people through the courtyards.  It was fun.

If you are interested in the names of artists and more examples, there is a great 
deal of information on the internet under "Wynwood Walls."


Wednesday, November 4, 2015

My Sister's Neighborhood in Autumn

Last week I visited Chicago and had time to walk around my sister's neighborhood on the
N.W. side.  Chicago was once famous for its majestic elms, but they are all gone now.
But in spring, these streets are now lined with white and pink flowering trees, and in
autumn, they show off maples, oaks, beeches, and other brilliantly colored trees.
These sugar maples are across the street from the Lutheran church.

Many houses in the neighborhood display chrysanthemums, either in planters like this
or in beds in the yard.  This is a beautiful urn with Copper Garden Mums.

One of my sister's neighbors specializes in dahlias, and has more than a dozen special varieties
planted in the back yard and along the fence.  "Siren's Song" is more than a foot in diameter,
high on a tall stalk, and is magnificent.

"Patty's Petticoat" is a beautiful pink and white dahlia.

"Hot Spots" Cactus Dahlia was striking.

"Lucy's Dream" was in pale lavender.

"Mariachi" flowers were about 10 inches in diameter, on tall stalks.

A cluster of "Mariachi" dahlias.

"Icy Frills" was a beautiful white thistle mum.

"Mint Julep" was a two-toned pink dahlia.

"Sassafras" is a bold yellow dahlia.

"Peach Melba" is another giant mum, more than a foot in diameter and on a tall stalk.

"Peppermint Patty" is a red and white dahlia.

"Lillian's Love" is a pale peach thistle mum.

"Firebushes" were in many of the yards and brilliant red.  I was fortunate to see them
before wind and rain knocked all the leaves off.

This area of Chicago is famous for decorating its yards and houses extensively for
Halloween, even more than for Christmas.

Maple trees were in full leaf and ran the gamut from green to yellow to peach to orange
to red.  They were on every block and splendid.

A pot of yellow anemone mums.

Pale orange anemone mums in a pot.

White garden mums.

Pale purple garden mums.

Copper colored garden mums.

Pale pink mums in front of the Lutheran church.

Pale Blue Milka Asters

"Coral Reef" Anemone Mums

Pale Pink Anemone Mums
Some houses have all one color in their flower beds, and others try to show off
as many colors as possible.  These came from a multi-colored bed of flowers.

Red Maples made a beautiful contrast to the sugar maples.

Lawn decorations were colorful.

Pale Orange Sugar Maple

"Antoinette" rose mallow, about 8 inches in diameter.

Pink Geranium

Red Geranium

Autumn "Queen Alexandra" roses.

Autumn "Princess Margaret" roses.

The front stairs of one of my sister's neighbors.  They are very creative.
In spring, they have all different flowers and colors.

Pink and yellow lantana

"White Queen" hydrangeas

One rather large house had only marigolds of many kinds and sizes all along the front.

"Double Ruffled" Yellow Marigold

The street where my mother used to live now has these beautiful maples.


I hope you have enjoyed a virtual stroll through a Chicago neighborhood in autumn.