MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — A huge bust of Hall of Fame Dolphins coach Don Shula that appears to be chipped from a stone and brick wall. Splashy swirls of graffiti spray-painted two stories tall along half a football field. A photo of Miami’s cityscape at night, reimagined with layers of texture and colors.
These and many other works of original wall art await football fans at refurbished Hard Rock Stadium when Miami opens its home NFL season Sunday against the Cleveland Browns.
The project to install large, eye-catching pieces of color and design throughout the stadium resulted from a visit last year by Dolphins owner Stephen Ross to Miami’s Wynwood neighborhood, which is known for its vibrant street art, said Jessica Goldman Srebnick, CEO of Goldman Global Arts and curator of the stadium’s works.
“Wynwood kind of created that mentality that anything can be art,” Goldman Srebnick said. “He loved the idea and that was it.”
Only a few of the 29,000 square feet of installations are sports-themed, including a piece by the Portuguese artist Alexandre Farto, known as Vhiles, that depicts Shula on a chipped-out wall of brick and stone near one of the stadium’s bars.
Former Dolphins quarterback Dan Marino, also a Hall of Famer and now a Dolphins special adviser, said Shula will love the piece.
“It looks like Coach when he was kind of upset at games sometimes. But the artist did a really great job and I know Coach will enjoy it,” Marino said in an interview. “To put art up in places that would be kind of bland in the stadium I think is going to be great for the fans. It’s really unbelievable.”
Artist John Matos from the Bronx, New York, who is known as CRASH, explained his approach from a lift platform on the stadium’s first floor, where he was spray-painting an enormous wall in a distinctive, colorful graffiti style. He said he doesn’t pre-plan his pieces, but rather does them by eye and feel.
“It just happened. It’s totally by accident,” he said. “If I would have planned it, it would have been a disaster.”
All told, 18 artists from 10 countries have participated in the project, Goldman Srebnick said. They include German twin brothers How & Nosm, Australia’s Fintan Magee, Chile’s Dasic Fernandez, and Eli Sudbrack and Christophe Hamaide-Pierson, a Brazilian/French team that works in tandem as “assume vivid astro focus,” all lowercase.
Their curator said more art will be added in the future and some will change over time, just as in Wynwood.
“The boundaries of art are changing,” said Goldman Srebnick, who created the Wynwood Walls outdoor street museum and co-founded Goldman Global Arts with artist Peter Tunney.
The Fernandez wall painting, titled “All The Way,” depicts a helmeted football player, eyes fixed and determined, with rainbow-colored hands and a backdrop of stars, blue sky and clouds. Fernandez said the idea was to show how dreams can become reality with hard work — in this case, a player finally realizing his goal of stepping onto the field.
“It’s about the process to become anything you want to be in life,” he said. “It talks about all the process before you actually make it.”
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