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Now You See It, Now You Don’t: Wynwood’s Evolving Street Art

Credit Julia Duba / WLRN
Street artist Kazilla works on her mural for ABC Costume Shop.

If you’ve wandered around Wynwood, chances are you’ve noticed all the murals. And if you wander around there months later, you'll probably notice a lot of them are gone.

And when Art Basel comes around, Wynwood is like a whole new place.

“It’s temporary. It’s just for the moment just so you can feel it and breathe it and do it and then you let it go,” muralist Kazilla says.

She’s painting a piece on the front wall of ABC Costume Shop, a store on Northwest 24th Street near I-95.

She thinks it’ll stay up for about a year, the average time business owners keep murals on their walls, according to some artists (two years if the piece is really good).

Kazilla says no matter how attached you might get to a piece, that’s just the way it is. She suggests taking a picture of these pieces.

Credit Julia Duba / WLRN
Miami-based photographer Andrew Kaufman holds his new book "I'm in Miami B***h! The Disappearing Street Art of Wynwood".

And that’s what photographer Andrew Kaufman did last year between November and December: He documented a lot Wynwood’s street art and published in the book “I’m in Miami, B***h! The Disappearing Street Art of Wynwood.”

“Basically, the entire book will be redone in the sense that by Dec. 15, every wall in that neighborhood will be repainted,” says Kaufman.

There’s a page in his book that shows a Lincoln Continental parked in front of a freshly buffed wall. The next page shows the same wall with about 10 different graffiti pieces, all done in about a week’s time.

Robert de los Rios spearheaded another project that documents Wynwood’s evolving street art. It’s the site WynwoodMap.com. (Check out a widget of the map at the end of this post.)

The map's clickable pins display pictures of walls' current street-art displays, along with the murals that used to be there.

“This whole block is brand new,” De los Rios says. “They just did this. And next year it’s probably going to be somebody else.”

Credit Julia Duba / WLRN
Robert de los Rios takes a photo of street art in Wynwood.

De los Rios goes to Wynwood every day to photograph the changing art. He snaps photos with his iPhone, goes home and works with a friend to pin them to the map.

And it’s important, he says, because if people don’t acknowledge the art, gentrification can push it out of the neighborhood.

Kazilla agrees. She says people need to seize this moment when street artists are free to do their work on Wynwood’s walls.

“In the next two to three years, there’s going to be very few places that are remnants, like relics, of the area because so many places will be bought up, built on and torn down,” Kazilla says.

She’s working with an all-female graffiti crew for her next piece on a building across the street from ABC Costume.

Until they get started, the building is covered in other graffiti.

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