Miami Marine Stadium Renovation Moving Forward, Invites Famed Graffiti Artist Stinkfish
Miami has her fair share of graffiti haunts and paint-saturated penits where local and traveling bombers alike have decorated streets for decades. Few are as iconic, though, as Miami Marine Stadium.
All photos by Travis Cohen
Declared structurally unsound after the widespread devastation of hurricane Andrew, the abandoned stadium has been "off-limits" for nearly a quarter of a century. But graffiti loves a challenge, and "off-limits" means "perfect hangout" for fence hoppers, midnight drinkers, restless youth, skaters, and most obviously, taggers.
Now, the stadium is on its way to a new life thanks to the Friends of Miami Marine Stadium. The group plans to renovate and reopen the venue, and that's expensive -- $30 million expensive.
One of their first prospective means of fundraising is to sell a series of pieces by renowned and respected graffiti artists, both foreign and domestic. The first of these was recently completed by Bogotá artist Stinkfish, and we got a chance to watch as he did his thing on a perfectly sunny albeit windy day on the Biscayne Bay.
Stinkfish is an incredibly cool guy. The prototypical ultra-chill Colombian, he's easy-going, soft-spoken, grounded, and thoroughly likable. His increased exposure has done nothing to cull what got him where he is today, which is simply the joy he finds in painting.
"I started 11 years ago, in 2003," he explained. "I had this group that we started, just to do little things, just for fun. Everybody starts doing this for fun in the street, and it became bigger, and bigger, and bigger. We became an important group in my city. Then we split, and I began working by myself and with other friends. One thing leads to another."
"You always know where you can go out and paint without a hassle in your city and where the best walls to work are," he said.
But traveling takes a man to far off places where he can see so much. Stinkfish has developed a strong fondness for traveling and working abroad, and he takes something new from ever venture.
"My first time traveling outside Colombia was in 2007," he noted. "I went to Mexico, and it was really important for me because I know my city and I really like it, but when you travel to other places, you get the chance to see a lot of people and different techniques and styles. When I travel, I'm mostly focused on the work, looking for spots to paint, looking for people to work with. I think, for me, it's best to travel all the time. In the last two years, I've traveled a lot."
Before painting, Stinkfish explained that the portrait at the stadium would be of a Nepalese girl he saw while on a recent visit to the country. Almost all of his pieces start with a candid photograph of an anonymous stranger on some street. He fleshes out the stencil of the portrait as the focal point, then proceeds to paint freehand lines and shapes that radiate from the stranger's face. The tapproach yields a beautiful combination of stripped-down photo-realism and brightly-colored abstraction.