When local graff writers in Queretaro, Mexico heard that New York’s famous photographer Martha Cooper was going to be in their town for a new exhibition they decided to welcome her in the best way they knew how: A graffiti jam on a train.
With the help of the organizers at Nueve Arte Urbano, the local kings and queens scored a long wall on a busy major avenue that they could paint subway cars on and convert to an NYC train. They hoped Martha would feel at home seeing this and it looked like she definitely did.
It’s a fast-growing major city without a subway, even though it could definitely use a more inclusive and efficient public transportation system since its quick growth has swelled to a million inhabitants. Scores of multi-national corporations left the US and set up shop here since they wrote the NAFTA trade deal and now employ this highly educated population. Many universities, lower wages, and an easier regulatory environment have brought the big companies here as well as the fact that the city boasts an attractive protected historical area that was declared a World UNESCO zone. Now they have a subway, at least a temporary painted one.
The neighborhood where the wall is located is called “San Francisquito” or Little San Francisco – a sort of sister city for many of the folks who have family in that US city as well. Rich in character and history, the neighborhood retains a distinct connection to indigenous culture: For example this is the home of Los Concheros, a group of native indigenous people in Mexico who have roots in the Chichimecas, Aztecs and, Mexicas who perform traditional dances dating back to the early colonial period.
Mostly residential, with narrow cobblestone streets and family-owned small business and grocery stores, we saw many locals who appeared pleased for the industry of local youth in a mural that stirred some excitement and pride.
They stopped by and commented on the new works and wondered where the action was coming from as aerosol lettering and characters began to populate the train sides.
was an interlude of serendipity that the visiting New Yorkers were not
expecting – a sunny day full of love and art. Martha happily obliged to
requests for photos, to write tags in black books and thanked each of them for
their gifts of t shirts, stickers and even a miniature portrait of her drawn in
We start 2010 with a bag of sea-shells and this bounty of inspiring Street Art images from warm sunny Miami – which was a break from the bitter coldness of BK for a bit. Heartfelt gratitude to Typoe for showing us what’s up and who, together with a dude named Books, has built the one-of-a-kind Primary Flight show on the streets of Miami’s Wynwood District over the past three years during Art Basel.
With a vision that speaks to the next decade of public art, these guys have coordinated with local businesses, galleries, graff/street artists, and the City of Miami to clear the way for what is turning into a global gallery on the street. Without self-aggrandizing rhetoric, these peeps are developing a model for building an art scene while keeping the edge and encouraging experimentation. So far the “collection” doesn’t risk the blanding that can happen when bureaucrats, committees, or self-appointed art critics insert themselves, or when corporate sponsors commodify the spirit.
It’s worth mentioning that this is just one more case of artists revitalizing abandoned blighted areas of the urban landscape, of their own volition, with grit, determination, and vision.
During a whirlwind tour last week of Primary Flight sites (and many others who have jumped into the game) we witnessed a diverse, energetic mix of graff, old-school, art school, graphic design, sculpture, illustration, surrealism… all part of the developing Street Art vocabulary that we’re witnessing in Brooklyn and NYC at large. Thanks to Typoe and Giovana for their kind hospitality and insight.
We hope you enjoy the Dade County Bounty: a past and present explosion of art on the streets of Miami.