Trek6 on Wynwood Life Festival: Something Classy, Something Special
It may be the case for many that Wynwood on the weekends has become somewhat blasé. Between art walk here and there, and the regular routine of a few hours here and there at Wood Tavern or Gramps, it's easy to understand how the place that was the most exciting piece of the city may have begun to feel a bit stale, a bit like going through the motions.
Well screw that. Wynwood is about to have new kind of weekend with a full-on street festival on NW Sixth Ave., and it's called Wynwood Life.
The weekend will be brimming with music, art, and fashion; with vendors and shows strewn along the old warehouse district, surrounding the Wall of Fame and the penit it encircles from 24th to 22nd streets. To make it just a bit more legit, the organizers of the festival got together with one of Miami's most beloved graffiti artists, Trek6, and they came up with a commemorative poster for the event's first year. According to the artist, it's really going to be something special.
Trek6, who was awarded New Times' Best Street Artist in 2013, has come to be one of the the real heroes of Wynwood, wall by wall. His work is a fantastic sampling of the increasingly bold, increasingly exquisite array of murals around Wynwood and the City of Miami. Along with his credibility and local notoriety, Trek6 brought his fair share of vision on how the image he would create could play into the overall perception of the festival.
"I was invited by Tony, who's running the festival" Trek said. "Originally, the idea was that I was just going to do a poster for it, but as we were talking, he said that he wanted to do something really classy. Back home [in Puerto Rico], we have the Heineken Jazz Festival, and they have a one-off limited edition poster that they have a local artist come out and do for the festival every year. People shell out pretty good money for the poster, cause it's a take-home."
While this may seem like a really cool idea, the brainstorm wasn't quite done. Before too long, Trek was back on the phone with Tony, going deeper into the rabbit hole.
"I brought that up to him, and he loved the idea, and then he calls me back up right after," Trek laughed. "He says 'I got something better.' And I say 'what's that?' 'OK, we're still going to do the poster, but I'm going to build you a wall - you're going to paint the wall, and that painting is going to be the poster, and we're going to offer the first 300-and-something prints with a piece of the wall. So he built the wall and brought it to my studio, and I painted the wall. That's already said and done, and we're going to make prints of it. I'm going to have a booth there with some merch and some prints, and a couple of originals."
For those familiar with the area, reading that Trek6 would be painting a wall that would then be disassembled and sold off with 300-plus prints might breed a bit of unrest, considering that one of the city's most famous, talent-riddled walls is located right along the strip that - the Wall of Fame. For those unfamiliar, the Wall of Fame is that wall you see to your right when you're driving up I-95 North between the I-395 exit and the I-195 exit. Yes, that wall. As a local street artist, Trek was obviously respectful of the wall's significance and made it very clear he wasn't down to cross anyone out simply for the sake of this poster.
You mean, this poster?
Courtesy of Wynwood Life
"They were thinking of having me paint over it, but I advised against it," explained Trek, "and I also told them that on their roster of artists showing at the festival, they should list the people with pieces on the wall. And the way their organizing it, which is great for the artists and great for the festival, is that their setting up all the booths on the side of the street that's against the fence. So, when you walk through, you'll be able to enjoy all the artwork on one side and have the vendors on the other."
In reality, this little stretch of Wynwood is a bit off the path many Miamians are used to trekking - that slew of attractions, bars, and restaurants between NW Second Ave. and North Miami Ave. For the most part, people only come this far west if they're doing business, looking for parking, tagging, or going to Wynwood Brewery. The way Trek6 sees it, it's precisely that popularity that's going to change the dynamic.
"I think, over the next year, you're going to see a lot of motion in that direction, because the stuff on 2nd ave is just becoming very hard to ascertain," Trek said. "Now, you have to go through all the permits and dealing with the people who own the properties. Plus, you have Wynwood Walls there, so they're a lot more picky about the projects they involve themselves with. Whereas a little further down, it's still ... I don't want to say hoody, but it's a bit more dilapidated. I think this year, you're going to see a lot more people moving in that direction, 'cause it's easier to get a wall, it's less of a ... you know what I'm saying?"
It was clear throughout the conversation that one of the most exciting things to Trek6 was the mindset of the festival's proverbial father, Tony Ablelo, and the way he's approached the task of bringing something new and exciting to a place equally maligned and marveled at.
"Tony has been very proactive with all of this," he said. "He's trying to make this festival something that makes a statement. He's not just throwing things out there and 'whatever, who cares.' he's very mindful of the artists and the community, and he's working to build something that will hopefully be an annual thing, not just a one-time pop-up festival."
Come this weekend, we'll see just how likely that hope is to last. For what's it's worth, it seems to have the backing of a whole slew of Miami talent, and hopefully, it should be enough to bring the city's cynics, searchers, and street urchins out in force to try something new.
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