Graffiti, to some, is the hideous work of vandals tormenting city buildings and streets. For husband and wife photography duo James and Karla Murray, it’s a world of art ready to be bound and displayed on your coffee table.
The Murray’s new book, “Miami Graffiti,” takes a detailed look at Miami’s street art, features interviews with the artists and establishes Miami’s own graffiti style. Well, of course we have our own graffiti style. And you’ll be less than shocked to know it has everything to do with bold, garish colors.
"The main thing that differs in the graffiti in N.Y. vs. Miami is the colors the artists use. Miami artists often use tropical, vibrant, candy colors reflecting their environment,” Karla says. “This is what caught our eye from the moment we first saw it. Their art also often incorporates bits of palm trees, marine life and Art Deco architecture found in Miami.”
Apparently our obsession with green, pink, orange and the like is just born and bred into the Miami folk. We’re guessing it, along with the desire to wear Spandex and complain about temperatures under 70 degrees being cold, is just in the genes.
Karla and James have other books documenting graffiti, all covering N.Y.’s street scene. “Miami Graffiti,” due out in April, marks their first look at Miami. And it was the location of Miami’s graffiti that most shocked them.
“The thing that most surprised us about Miami graffiti was that it was often done inside abandoned factories and along trackside buildings, where the public would not often see it. Most graffiti in New York is now done on the streets,” Karla says.
So who is the duo’s favorite Miami street artist? “One of the first graffiti pieces we photographed was done by an artist [named] ATOMIK inside what was known as the Hialeah Penit, an abandoned warehouse site,” Karla says. “ATOMIK had this wild style and used lots of bright, tropical colors which immediately drew us in.” And the rest, as they say, is history.
With all this attention going to the graffiti artists, we expect to see a lot more tagging of the city’s warehouse walls, underpasses, bridges, overhangs etc … We’re just hoping it motivates the Murrays to produce a sequel rather than causing the city to enforce a spray-paint ban.