Art Basel Shines Spotlight On Graffiti Artists

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Wynwood Walls (Source: CBS4)

Wynwood Walls (Source: CBS4)

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Vanessa Borge began her career with CBS4 News in 2009 as an assignment...
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MIAMI (CBSMiami) — Dario Gonzalez takes hundreds of art lovers on bike rides through the Wynwood District amidst giant colorful canvases known as the Wynwood Walls. Once just warehouses and storage buildings, colorful creations and cartoon characters now cover the facades.

“The first tour we did was 40 people and the next was over 100,” said Gonzalez from Magic City Bike Tour.

During Art Basel, there’s a local graffiti artist painting his passion.

Trek 6 got his start at an early age, defacing and vandalizing property, but Trek used it as a way to avoid getting in with bad crowds.

“At the time where we lived at had lots of gangs and since already knew how to draw as a way to stay out of trouble,” Trek said.

So how did tagging up buildings and vandalizing property with graffiti, turn into masterpieces, commissioned by art lovers?

Miami Dade College Professor Alberto Perez Triff said modern graffiti began with social needs.

“It began with the need to express oneself in the ghetto, in poor neighborhoods,” Triff said.

Professor Triff believes today’s interpretation of graffiti is commercialized.

“In the sense that they have lost the edge, in the sense that they aren’t risking anything, in the sense that this is now not a criminal activity, it’s take away a lot of the authenticity of the form,” Triff explained.

It’s now trendy to use graffiti, in fact the new Louis Vuitton store in the Design District commissioned a graffiti artist to draw on the store front

“They believe they are consuming culture when they go through Wynwood, and they are. It is culture, but it’s culture driven by the forces of the market,” Triff said.

Are these graffiti artists compromising their art for money?

“I’d say this is a water downed version of what writing really is,” Trek said.

With thousands of art lovers visiting Wynwood this weekend for Art Basel, whether they see art or vandalism on these walls people are looking.

If you’d like to see more of Trek 6’s works, go to www.treksix.com.

You can also check out the Wynwood Walls on bike, Dario will be leading a free bike tour on Saturday starting at NW 25th Street and 2nd Ave.  More information can be found on the Miami Bike Scene

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