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  • Grahame Menage

Life Imitating Art in Miami

since relocating to miami several years ago I've fallen in love with the city's art scene. discover what this tropical art mecca has to offer.

Wynwood Walls mural by a street artist.
Wynwood Walls mural by urban artists Pichi & Avo

As a specialized decorative artist and muralist, my work runs the gamut from large scale murals and intricate designs, to restoration of antique French and Italian painted furniture, to commissioned paintings. Across thirty years of experience, I've worked as a scenic artist for legendary venues like The Welsh National Opera and The National Theatre of Great Britain.

Now, in addition to Master Muralist, I can now add the title ‘Miamian’ to my repertoire. Soon after moving to the Magic City, I realized there was more to the city than most tourists imagine.

It’s so obvious to me now that the city is much, much more than beach, nightlife and entertainment,

Less than a year after moving to the Magic City, I quickly realized that there is more to the city than most tourists imagine. It’s clear to me that the city is much, much more than a beach, nightlife and entertainment. Miami has a burgeoning art scene which I've dubbed the 'tropical Mecca for the art world'.

falling in love

I'm still new to Miami life, but that hasn’t diminished my desire to immerse myself completely in the city’s art culture and scene.

I plan to fully become a part of the institution, with a reputation to suit! I like to feel that I have joined artists, collectors and blue-chip art dealers who have fallen in love with the locale and turned Miami into their own playground.

There are many reasons that make Miami so magical. It’s difficult to exactly put your finger on exactly why you are drawn here. The clear skies, sunsets, passion, vibrancy, music and the proximity of the ocean. All of these and more!

Progression of Miami art-scene & culture

Over thirty years ago, when violent drug cartel battles, skyrocketing murder rates and the Mariel boat lift fiasco rocked the city, a Time Magazine cover story dubbed Miami “Paradise Lost". Fascinatingly enough, despite turmoil, stigma and a general sense of hopelessness, the city still managed to birth one of the strongest artistic and cultural communities in the world.

A coalition of arts visionaries, civic leaders and benefactors bravely fought to open galleries featuring artists like Andy Warhol, Frank Stella and Christo. Street art proliferated. With a couple hundred cans of paint, three self-described 'street kids' initiated a wasteland’s radical re-birth and put street art back onto the world stage, transforming barren industrial zones into the city’s best known art and design districts. At the epicenter is a dreamland of sorts which we now fondly call Wynwood.

Now Miami is the home to one of the world's biggest art shows - Art Basel - which takes over Miami Beach for one week every December. It's an opportunity to see up close significant work from masters of Modern and contemporary art, as well as the new generation of emerging stars.

coming home

Just as an incoming musician feels at home in New Orleans, I have found that in Miami I am in my element; relaxed (but not too much) and surrounded by inspirational art and artists of all genres.

Thirty years ago, the number of venues where you could go to see contemporary art was extremely limited. Miami today has amazing venues for all the arts, and is a city that is constantly changing; an evolving art renaissance that has now completely emerged from the ashes of the city's darkest era.

Gallery: Photos by Grahame Menage. Artwork credit for Wynwood Walls - various urban artists.



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