The murals of Wynwood are really cool, pero like, what are they? Who painted them? Where are the artists from? Which ones are by locals? Doesn't anybody know what's going on?
Calm down street-art lover, one man wants to explain. All you need is a bike and an hour to kill, because local artist and bike enthusiast Ryan the Wheelbarrow is offering daily Wynwood art tours Tuesday through Sunday beginning at noon - and it's at no charge to you.
Mr. Wheelbarrow, or Ryan Ferrell as his mother knows him, first moved to Wynwood in 2003. These days, he works at the Wynwood Walls, and though he's watched commercial art tours pass by, he thinks they only scratch the surface.
Ferrell's Wynwood Mural Tours covers more ground and digs much deeper into the history of the neighborhood and all its many faces. He's been around long enough to pick up the facts, and he's passionate.
"I bike everywhere and love to talk about graffiti," he said. "Being that I've been in the neighbor and watched the transformation, I said fuck it and just started doing bike tours."
Over the course of about an hour and a half, Ferrell takes cyclists to a dozen or so "vantage points" where "you can see six to seven different countries of artists at once." He shows off works by international and local artists, classic Wynwood staples alongside little-known hidden gems. He gives some background about each piece, as well as some history on the artist, and how each building may be affected by the ever-changing landscape and increasing commercial interests.
"I like to explain to people there's that blend of natural, raw, organic graffiti right next to a commissioned wall by Heineken or one of those big companies," he said.
Don't go on this tour expecting to be droned at with some memorized script. Ferrell sees the tour as "an open-ended conversation." We all have something to add, and that's the sense of community he hopes to capture.
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The tour is byob (bring your own bike), but it doesn't cost anything - at least not in its early stages. In the future, he hopes to expand with different themed routes, perhaps by region or style. He also wants to get more local artists involved in leading tours. But for now, he's just focused on bringing the art and the people of Wynwood together one bike ride at a time.
"It's not even about making money and charging people $50 to walk around with a horrible logo on your vest," he said. "Let's ride around on bikes, talk about these artists, find out where the good ones are hiding, cover more ground, and promote bicycle awareness."
Wynwood Mural Tours, Tuesday through Sunday at noon. Tour begins at Panther Coffee, 2390 NW Second Ave., Miami. Must bring your own bicycle. The tour is free, but tips are appreciated. Call 305-799-3166 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.