Best Mural - 2013
The Universal Aloha Wall by Estria and Prime
There's a tropical oasis in the middle of Wynwood. The grass there is typically patchy and gravelly. The neighboring buildings look stark and boxy. But gaze upon the east-facing wall of a warehouse just one block from the heart of the Second Saturday Art Walk, and you're transported to a sci-fi version of a lush, mountainous island an entire continent away. The Universal Aloha Wall, created by Hawaiian artists Estria and Prime, with an assist by local street artist Trek6, was completed during Art Basel 2012 as part of Heineken's Open Your World Mural Project. But it quickly became one of the most widely viewed walls in Wynwood — a big honor in a neighborhood slathered in graffiti murals. That's partly owing to Heineken's promotional efforts, hosting a pop-up party at the site on the busiest Second Saturday of the year. It's partly owing to Fabolous' music video "Life Is So Exciting," a love letter to Art Basel in Miami that shows the rapper hanging out with an entourage of sexy ladies in front of the mural. But it's also owing to the trippy design of the mural itself. Estria and Prime painted a Hawaiian landscape, sure — but they also included a colorful blue-and-orange lava spill on one side and a giant burning sun that looks like an eyeball on the other. The sky undulates from a sparkling, purple-tinged nighttime scene to a clear, blue, sunny day and back again as your eyes scan from left to right. And on top of it all, imperceptible up close but obvious when observing the wall from across NW Third Street, there's an outline of the word aloha overlaid across the entire width of the piece. It's not a traditional Miami welcome, but it's still a welcome sight.