MTO and “The Wynwood Family”

Street Artist and muralist MTO spent the entire month of December in Miami. Sounds terrible right? The photo realistic painter also brought his family – or maybe you would say he left them.

“The whole project is called ‘The Wynwood Family (2014)’,” he tells us, and in customary MTO fashion he is using his art to put forth his opinion on socio-political matters.

The mother, father, and son are each rendered in stark black, white, and red – each are visually arresting and effective for different reasons.  MTO tells us a little about the background for each of these, and you’ll have to figure out the rest. Suffice to say he’s not throwing compliments around very freely.

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MTO “The Son: No Art For Poor Kids” Wynwood, Miami. December 2014. (photo © MTO)

The son resides on the side of a school just north in the Wynwood District, the well known arts hub that has been visited by international Street Artists over the last decade, primarily during the first few days of December when the Art Basel events are taking place. As has been recounted here and elsewhere, the ironies multiply quickly whenever there is a sudden influx of art, followed by fans, galleries, real estate interests, trendy culture, and brands (not necessarily in that order) in a neighborhood once neglected by the dominant society.

But frankly, talking about gentrification in Wynwood is like discussing Mitt Romney as a viable candidate for president in ’16. It’s a soulless pursuit and you sort of end up where you started, now feeling slightly nauseous.

But if there is more money being generated in a community, that means there must be a larger tax base. So it didn’t make sense when people learned that the local junior high school had cancelled arts and music programming four years in a row.

Wynwood has 100 walls crammed with art but the local kids don’t have art class? Right.

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MTO “The Son: No Art For Poor Kids” Wynwood, Miami. December 2014. (photo © MTO)

That changed this year when a determined visionary principal and a few big supporters created a program called RAW to raise funds and entice artists like MTO and many others to come paint the campus. The campus has been transformed and hopefully so has the arts programming. In this case at least, a wrong is righted. After all, like J.J. Colagrande in the Huffington Post said, “How can the most burgeoning art neighborhood on the planet have public schools that don’t teach art or music?”

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MTO “The Father: La Muerte Del Barrio” Wynwood, Miami. December 2014. (photo © MTO)

The Father is a little harder to locate on a dead end street on North Miami Avenue but from the first impression you register a biting critique of hipster fashion and the art of Shepard Fairey.  With a name like “La Muerte del Barrio,” this mural is taking a position on the gentrification of “Little San Juan”, as the Wynwood District was once called.

A moustachioed hipster skeleton holds his OBEY coffee and retro film camera in his lumberjack plaid while a corporate branded wall drips down over the graffiti work below. MTO uses the mural to point fingers at who he thinks is responsible for wrecking a culture with the subtlety of a WWF wrestler, but at least you don’t have to wonder what he’s getting at.  Away from the central commercial hub, this mural may last longer than if it was across from “Wynwood Walls” but we’re guessing that the buff clock is ticking on this acidic slam.

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MTO “The Father: La Muerte Del Barrio” Wynwood, Miami. December 2014. (photo © MTO)

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MTO “The Father: La Muerte Del Barrio” Wynwood, Miami. December 2014. (photo © MTO)

And finally, mom.

The mother is a foxy babe and if you are wondering what she is doing, MTO has entitled this bikinied death Barbie “Selfie … Oh Wynwood Selfie …”

“It’s another perspective on the same topic as the other murals,” he says, and you might guess that it is not meant to complement the swarming beauties who teeter on stilletos after dark at art openings with little dogs on their arms. It may be about class, or behavior, or the fact that many in attendance at these hyped up events during Art Basel seem to care more about getting a good shot of themselves than appreciating the art they are celebrating.

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MTO “The Mother: Selfie… Oh Wynwood Selfie”. Wynwood, Miami. December 2014. (photo © MTO)

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MTO “The Mother: Selfie… Oh Wynwood Selfie”. Wynwood, Miami. December 2014. (photo © MTO)

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MTO “The Mother: Selfie… Oh Wynwood Selfie”. Wynwood, Miami. December 2014. (photo © MTO)

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MTO “The Mother: Selfie… Oh Wynwood Selfie”. Wynwood, Miami. December 2014. (photo © MTO)

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MTO “The Mother: Selfie… Oh Wynwood Selfie”. Wynwood, Miami. December 2014. (photo © MTO)

MTO would like to note that the graffiti around “Father” was done by MEKS, INK187 and DEST (the color children) and the graffiti background of “Mother” was improvised by G3, MTO, Abe and his sons.

He would also like to extend his thanks to Robert, Leza, Ron, Taissia, and Guillaume for their help, support, and inspiration.

 

The Wynwood Family (2014)

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MTO: The Wynwood Family”. Wynwood, Miami. December, 2014. (photo © MTO)

 

 

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