Hot sticky weather, and the streets of Miami’s Wynwood Arts District are flooded with people, fans, artists and opportunists from around the world. Hundreds of people walking, talking, laughing, drinking, and enjoying the continual live art in the streets to its fullest. Almost every street corner sits a police car flashing its lights attempting to exert a reminder of law and order presence. You can hardly hear yourself think and everywhere you turn you almost bowled over in sensory overload. It is the first week of December 2018 and Miami, Florida has fully shifted gears into the party mode madness known as “Art Basel Miami”!
Montana Pop-Up Shop Art Basel Miami 2018
In an event that beckons graffiti writers, street artists and muralists from around the world to create and share their work in a public arena, it makes sense that Montana Colors has established a regular pop up shop during Art Basel Miami. From sponsoring the Meeting of Styles event this year to supplying the paint for Basel House (a three-day mural festival), Montana Colors has continually grown its presence and support for the artists making the annual trek to South Florida.
Between November 23 - December 10, 2018, SprayPlanet and Montana Colors set up a temporary central base of operations in the heart of the Wynwood Arts District. Located at 555 NW 24th Street, the Montana pop-up shop sits directly across from the notable (now abandoned) RC Cola factory that now houses events like Basel House mural festival. In an attempt to make it as easy to find as possible, the Montana Colors pop-up shop bears a massive Montana Colors and logo next to a mural by graffiti legend Vogue One.
Montana Colors pop-up shop in Wynwood Arts District with mural by Vogue One
Even as a temporary pop-up shop, Montana Colors made sure to be able to cater to the supply needs of the graffiti writers, street artists and muralists in Wynwood District during Art Basel Miami. With the exception of the Montana Colors SPEED and MTN Colors PRO lines, the racks of the pop-up shop included Montana Colors major paint lines including: MTN Hardcore, MTN 94, MTN MegaColors, Montana Colors NITRO2G, MTN Colors MADMAXXX, MTN MAXIMO, and even the Montana Colors Waterbase spray paint series.
Inside view of the Montana-Pop Up shop
Full color libraries of MTN’s 94 line and HARDCORE line, including some MegaColors and NITRO2G
While a majority of the artists coming in to the pop-up shop were in search of spray paint, other items readily available for purchase included: MTN Colors dabbers, Montana Colors stickers, streaks, markers, blackbooks, gloves, caps, grinders, apparel, and even some key Montana Colors Limited Edition spray paint cans.
Limited Edition cans, grinders, and caps on display
Montana Colors pop-up shop display case: Spray paint, dabbers, markers, streaks, blackbooks, stickers, and so much more
MTN Crew train and Montana Colors coffee mug on display
A Who’s Who of Graffiti and Street Art Customers
Art Basel Miami is a time when you see a plethora of legendary artists from around the globe. From New York Graffiti pioneers to the hottest street artists from overseas – Art Basel Miami attracts them all! Every day notable graffiti writers were among the huge influx of spray paint and graffiti supply customers flowing into the Montana Colors pop-up shop. Some of the more infamous writers to stop by included: DAZE (shown below), RISK, PEMEX, MECRO, ESKAE, HOACS, TRACE, REI27, and KANE ONE. In addition, international artists were also heavily in attendance, including: PEZ (shown below), BELIN, SIPRO, KRAM, SPAINT, and SER. It was unreal to see the range of artistic talent together in one united by a single passion, with an energy that was surreal.
Daze from NYC picking up an order of paint before hitting Miami’s Streets.
Pez from Barcelona hits the blackbook
Spray Planet Recap of Wynwood Walls 2018
If there is one place you must visit when in Miami for Art Basel, its The Wynwood Walls. Established by Tony Goldman in 2009, he sought to bring public awareness and attention to street art as an artform - that he felt was not being given proper credit. He renovated an indoor and outdoor space within the Wynwood District where people could freely wander and experience murals by some of the biggest street artists from around the globe in a single location. Fastforward to 2010, several store-fronts were added adjacent to Wynwood Walls and dubbed The Wynwood Doors. Closely following the new retail space, Goldman added an open green-space named The Wynwood Walls Gardens.
Entrance to the Wynwood Walls
After the inaugural year of The Wynwood Walls (a gallery of open canvases) the installation space became in instant year-round destination hotspot for people visiting Miami. It's easy to understand why The Wynwood Walls became so popular overnight, when you look at the roster of artists involved, including: Shepard Fairey / Obey, Aiko, CRASH, FAILE, Futura, How & Nosm, Kenny Scharf, the London Police, Martin Whatson; Kobra; and Ron English to name a few!
Section of a wall by Obey at the Wynwood Walls
Mural by Norwegian artist Martin Whatson at Wynwood Walls
New mural by artist Ron English at the Wynwood Walls
Ron English and SpongeBob Grin
Mural by Brazilian Street Artist Kobra at the Wynwood Walls
Spray Planet Recap of Basel House Mural and Music Installation
Going back to the abandoned RC Cola Factory mentioned previously, located directly across from the Montana pop-up shop is home of the 2018 Basel House Mural Festival. Having grown over the years into an interactive arena, Basel House was a 24/7 seething hub of activity for all things creative for three straight days! The entire space was saturated with artists hailing from all corners of the globe painting beautiful murals, as well as tourists, vendors, food trucks, art installations, and live music. As Art Basel Miami week progressed, Basel House pulsed, expanded and culminated into a surprise concert by Kanye West, a birthday party for “Miami’s Godfather of Wynwood,” Moishe Mana, and a hip-hop/graffiti based crew battle between TCP, FDC, and VCR complete with a break dance battle.
Through all of the chaos and creativity that was Basel House, MTN Colors and Spray Planet focused their specific support on three projects within the event. Xylene Projects, OPTIMISTIM, and GlossBlack created timeless projects that will have a lasting effect on Wynwood and Art Basel Miami.
Xylene Projects at Basel House - Supported By Spray Planet & MTN Colors
Xylene Projects is a group of four artists hailing from Cincinnati, Ohio. Each of the four artists differs in their artistic backgrounds and schools of thought but came together as a collective with a shared vision. Their four specialties include illustration, design, and large-scale visual and interactive murals. This year for Basel House, the collective partnered with a video multimedia company. They designed and painted a massive mural at the Basel House festival that transformed into a hallucinogenic-type experience with the addition of lightshows and projections. Their extremely detailed and precise mural creation process over the week and then watching it all come together on the final night was truly an awe-inspiring experience.
Xylene Projects wall at Basel House festival
Woman pulls over and asks for explanation of artwork
Crushed can of Nitro2G Black lies in the gutter
Work in progress
Light projection on finished Xylene Project mural
Light projection on finished Xylene Project mural
Optimistim + PEMEX + 3AYEM at Basel House - Supported by Spray Planet & MTN Colors
Painting a large scale mural at the Basel House during Art Basel Miami with two broken arms might seem impossible or crazy, but not for artist OPTIMISTIM. After a life-threatening accident on a paying gig, he was left debilitated and unable to use his arms to their full extent. Thorugh shear willpower, determination and the help of close friends PEMEX and 3AYEM, OPTIMISTIM lived up to his name. In just two days the trio completed a large-scale mural that depicting the heroin epidemic occurring daily on the streets of San Francisco.
Optimistim and friend going in on Basel House mural
A helping hand... or two
Finished mural by Optimistim, Pemex, and 3ayem for the Basel House
GlossBlack & KlugHaus Gallery at Basel House - Supported By Spray Planet & MTN Colors
Most talented and most humble succinctly and accurately describe MECRO. An East Coast native and co-founder of the crew CDC, he focuses on bold, creatively stylistic fonts and lettering. Working with KlugHaus Gallery, MECRO began his installation work on a semi-tractor trailer with scarcely any room to breathe. With years of experience under his belt, MECRO brought the heat, painting the entire semi trailer. The truck was driven into the arena for the Basel House festival and remained there through the end of Art Basel Miami. Afterwards, the semi will be seen driving up the entire East Coast where it will find a new home!
Mecro painting trailer for KlugHaus gallery
Detailed shot of Mecro using MTN 94 can
Finished shot of truck trailer driving into Basel House arena
Spray Planet & MTN Colors - Going Going Back Back to Cali...
The madness has come to an end. The build-up to Art Basel was intense,and the overall experience was just... overwhelming. From the throngs of people on the streets of Wynwood, to the non-stop customers in the Montana pop-up shop there was never a dull moment in Miami.
The end of the trip was bittersweet.
While it feels good to be back in a familiar setting, the energy, creativity and vibes happening at Art Basel Miami and specifically Wynwood Arts District will be sorely missed. It truly is like no other experience as we look forward to Art Basel Miami 2019!
‘Til next year Miami!
Packing it up!