El Mac and Retna, Mural Masters of Miami

Not only is Miami’s Wynwood Arts District home to four art museums and over 50 galleries, according to the Wynwood Arts District Association, it’s the epicenter of street art for the city. In this former warehouse and factory neighborhood, graffiti art and murals mix on garage doors and stucco walls. Some of the most amazing murals you’ll find in Wynwood are created by El Mac and Retna, two street artists who grew out of the graffiti culture.

El Mac and Retna work together to create large, masterful urban art portraits that showcase everyday people. Most of their murals feature one or two people, such as a young boy drawing, a mother and child, or a young woman in a hoodie. Surrounding the figures are vivid colors and intricate pattern work that showcase this mural team’s skill. Included in this pattern is an alphabet that Retna developed, which pays homage to Chicano culture, Egyptian hieroglyphs, and Maya language. Both artists were inspired to take their graffiti skills and turn them outward, feeling like graffiti art and the tradition of tagging are more egotistical than murals, which celebrate something external to the artist. The two still create graffiti, so you may see El Mac or Retna tags as you explore the Wynwood District. They adapt each mural to the specific location and size of the wall, demonstrating flexibility perhaps learned from urban art culture.

As the Wynwood Arts District exploded, slowly transforming from a forgotten factory landscape to the art area it is today, Miami visionaries decided to curate a vibrant mix of street art murals in Wynwood to build upon the murals and tags already existing. El Mac and Retna were asked to contribute a mural, alongside other street art pioneers including Shepard Fairey, Swoon, Invader, Nunca, and other street art pioneers. Extending from factory walls and doors on 25th and 26th Street to additional locations in the Wynwood District, these murals tie the neighborhood together and showcase the talents of some of the best street artists in the United States and beyond.

Anyone that visits Soho Studios will notice the various art murals and tags across the urban landscape. The events at Soho are attracted to the mix of industrial space, artist vibe, and Miami chic style that makes up the Wynwood area.

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