When the Miami-based artist who goes by 131 Projects moved into the Bakehouse Art Complex in 2009 for a residency, he realized something troubling about the place. A painter known for tightly woven, almost frenzied abstract canvases, he cut his teeth in Miami's quasi-legal street art world. And, to someone with a background in dashing through brightly painted alleyways, the Bakehouse walls looked pretty empty.
But the inside of the complex, a nonprofit studio and gallery complex in Wynwood, already contained one mural, a 2003 work by the late Overtown-based painter Purvis Young. So 131 decided to expand on that -- and over the next three years, cultivated an organically growing maze of works by some of the top local and international artists in the scene.
"I noticed my working environment looked a little gray," says 131. "I first started painting walls myself, and at some point whenever another artist would come visit my studio I would ask if they were interested in painting a wall."
By 2012, some 14 other artists had shown up to hit a wall at the Bakehouse. Set to move into his own studio, though, 131 realized he should preserve it all somehow. The whole point of street art is its ephemerality, after all, even when it's legal and indoors. Voila, this clip that squeezes three years of collaborations into just two minutes and 16 seconds, helped along by live drumming from 131 friend Ogeee, a percussionist who plays with area groups like Llama Beats.
As for 131 himself, you can see his work in the video at 0:10 and 1:30, in a couple of boldly colored works he describes as the synthesis of everything he liked while growing up here. "If you were to grab old school nintendo graphics, letter fills, science and Miami," he says, "and throw all those ingredients into a blender, those murals would be the end result."
Check it out below, or, in full Miami style, attend the release party for it tonight at Chalk, 1234 Washington Ave., Miami Beach, where Ogeee also performs live alongside DJs Immortal, Keen One, Louie Arson, and more. Admission is free and open to those 21 and up. Call Chalk at 305-532-8662 or visit chalkmiami.com for more details.
Here's the full list of artists whose works appear in the video: