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Best Public Art Miami 2012 - Brandon Opalka's Semitruck

As a street artist, Brandon Opalka has been using Miami's façades as his canvas since moving to town in 1996. Without the urban sprawl, Opalka would have no medium, but paradoxically, it's the natural world that inspires him. His latest massive mural, Changing the Way We Breathe, completed in late 2011, reminds us to take care of our silent organic friends and highlights the sacrifices that come with modern living. Brilliantly colored and intricately detailed, this 115-foot masterpiece has a prophetic and ghostly quality, as if telling us to care for our planet as a means of caring for ourselves. Engulfing the length of a wall, the painting features a swirly, almost trippy semitruck belching fire and smoke while toting a chopped-down redwood on its way to the mill. The background is just as colorful and chaotic, meant to give the impression of an "apocalyptic world without trees," according to Opalka. It's inspiring for its attention to detail and breathtaking to behold, a gorgeous addition to Wynwood's colorful neighborhood. For Opalka, whose work is featured at Wynwood Walls and the Dorsch Gallery, it's also a triumph of nature as street art.

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