In the days leading up to Art Basel, and throughout the weekend-long revelry, you couldn't take a step without tripping over an artist making their mark on Wynwood. We're not complaining, as the usual Miami Art Week street additions have been not only impressive but spread to other areas like Midtown and the Design District.
An even more refreshing piece of public art is the Few and Far wall, a collaborative mural produced by an all-women street art collective.
Few and Far is a female-led artist collective, whose membership continues to grow but features a solid base of 20 with 15 painters. In town over the weekend were Agana, Deity, Dime, Hops, Jenn Ponci, Kazilla, Ksera, MeMe, Toofly, Ursula X Young, and 179.
The core artists, plus guests Mavel, Ms. Kee, Rachel, Sliver, and Sour, created an underwater theme on 297 NW 27th Terrace. Mermaids, fish, badass sea ladies, and more now swim on the wall. Founded in 2011 by artist MeMe, the organization began in Oakland, California, with a group mural, leading to collaboration with friend Que Sera, who brought more women to the project.
Alongside the large public murals, Few and Far organizes and participates in all-female skateboarding events nationwide in an effort to further the empowerment of women and girls.
"We realized after painting this wall we had such a great time," says MeMe. "We were all used to painting with men, we love painting with men, but...painting on this large of a scale with that many women was something I'd never done before, so it felt great. There was a bond, there was a great understanding, and everyone worked so well together."
Members of Few and Far hail from Los Angeles, San Francisco, Oakland, Sacramento, New York City, Miami, Seattle, New Jersey, Great Britain, Ecuador, Mexico and Australia, and more.
"Many times working with men they're very stubborn, they don't want to be told what to do, and women are more willing to work with you," MeMe says. "It's less ego."
MeMe has been painting in Miami for about four years. Though the community is supportive, she recalls a very different time in her early tagging days.
"When I started I got picked on, I got jumped because I'm a bomber, I do a lot of illegal graffiti," she says. "I just had to keep going, keep pushing myself.... There were times when the negativity was really bringing me down, making me feel like I can't do this anymore...Men are telling me I'm not good enough, I'm not feeling good enough, everything I'm doing isn't good enough. Once I started meeting women who were like-minded, it gave me a little hope."
Few and Far has grown to be the largest female crew in the U.S. MeMe adds that, though the crew doesn't accept painters of all levels, they're willing to teach and mentor those artists who put in the time and effort. MeMe and the crew conduct children's workshops in different cities, instilling lessons of confidence and perseverance.
"If you just practice, practice, practice at what you want to do, you can master it," she says. "You can become something. Nowadays, there's a business in street art, there's a business in fine art... People are more receptive to it. I think things are changing and people can find careers and jobs in this stuff."
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This year makes Few and Far's third time painting during Art Basel, with their ocean-themed space being the largest female-painted wall in town. "I handpicked each person, down to our video woman," MeMe says, adding that every step is done in-house, from putting together scaffolding to running the lights and lifts. "It's nice when our guy friends help out, but we woman this whole thing."