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Watch out, Wynwood: Hollywood's murals are turning heads

Pink-haired mermaids with large doe eyes. A serene woman in a red dress floating in a pool of deep blue. A Mona Lisa smiling in black and white.

Hollywood’s 5-year-old downtown mural program boasts 24 vivid works of art, with more on the way. A 25th piece is expected to come to life by New Year’s Day.

It may not be Wynwood in Miami, the more famous arts district to the south, but Hollywood’s mural program is still a head turner, with its own fun style. The murals help dress up a nine-block area between U.S. 1 and Dixie Highway and Tyler and Van Buren streets.

Some are wild while others are breathtaking or funky. But all are beautifying the downtown area one wall at a time, as Hollywood officials like to say.

The artists, commissioned by Hollywood’s redevelopment agency, are required to steer clear of nudity, profanity and political content.

Free walking tours are offered every third Saturday of the month during the Hollywood ArtWalk. Tours begin at 6 p.m. at Anniversary Park on the corner of 20th Avenue and Hollywood Boulevard. Private group tours are also available by calling 954-924-2980.

We’re highlighting seven fan favorites that illustrate the wide variety of styles and techniques as well as imagery.

Famous and funky

Playful cartoon images created by pop artist Kenny Scharf greet all who walk past the optometry office at 2019 Hollywood Blvd.

“He’s a pretty famous pop artist,” says Jill C. Weisberg, project manager for the downtown mural program. “He shows internationally and is in museums as well,” including the Miami Center for the Fine Arts.

Scharf works exclusively with spray paint, drawing his inspiration from pop culture, including animated cartoons like The Jetsons and The Flintstones. His Hollywood mural contains vibrant images showcasing a wide range of human emotion.

“Some are happy,” Weisberg says. “Some are angry. Some are silly. Some look surprised. It’s really fun.”

A legend in the art world, Scharf has cultivated a reputation as an artist for the common man, Weisberg says.

“One very important and guiding principle to my work is to reach out beyond the elitist boundaries of fine art and connect to popular culture through my art,” he once said.

Sunset on the wall

Hollywood’s largest street mural took 75 gallons of paint and nearly a month to complete.

That’s because the TM Sisters, Miami natives Monica and Tasha Lopez De Victoria, used a mammoth canvas for their sunset-inspired piece: a four-story parking garage on Young Circle at 251 North 19 Ave.

Their colors of choice – blues and reds, yellows and purples -- transformed the Radius parking garage into a real stunner.

The sisters say their work is influenced by South Florida’s landscape, its energy, colors and culture.

“We’re experimenting all the time,” Monica says. “We love to play and collaborate.”

All Dali-ed up

Hollywood’s newest mural has one heck of a moustache, a trim, gravity-defying piece de resistance.

The moustache belongs to Salvador Dali, the famed surrealist who shares the wall with Frida Kahlo and Jean-Michel Basquiat.

Miami artist Fabio Onrack spent two weeks in October painting the mural at 2050 Hollywood Boulevard and Dixie Highway. He chose to feature three artists who have inspired his own work.

The mural has been catching the eyes of art lovers even before it was finished, Weisberg says.

“It’s three giant portraits of art legends done in a photo-realistic fashion with high contrast geometric graphics that surround the portraits,” she says. “The portraits are black and white but surrounded by primary colors. A big blue bar goes through their eyes and divides the compositions. Behind Frida Kahlo is a yellow halo with a red circle outlining it.”

Mermaids at play

Like sirens of the sea, they lure you in with their large soulful eyes and their long well-placed tresses.

Six playful mermaids have charmed and enchanted passersby at 2020 Harrison St. since 2013, quickly becoming a crowd favorite among mural lovers.

It took Miami artist Tati Suarez one month to complete the mural, which extends 114 feet in width and 15 to 24 feet in height.

The manes of her mermaids range in color from magenta to pink to orange to yellow green and golden yellow.

With each work, Suarez creates an enchanted yet surreal world, drawing on her Brazilian and El Salvadorian heritage. As Weisberg describes it, her subjects are exotic, frozen in lovely stillness.

Lady in blue

She peers out at all who pass by at 1918 Harrison St.

In just three days, Australian artist Rone created his beauty in blue on a wall measuring 40 feet wide and 35 feet tall. A piece of artwork that size would normally take at least a week, Weisberg says.

“I’m not convinced he’s not a robot because he’s like a machine,” she says. “He cranked that thing out so fast and it’s perfect. He’s just a super talented artist. They’re all talented. But he works so quickly. This is close to 40 feet tall and it’s a photo-realistic portrait. From a distance it looks like a printed out photo.”

Another fun fact: Rone only used 3 gallons of paint. His trick: watering it down.

His murals have brought him fame in his hometown of Melbourne and all over the world, Weisberg says.

Whimsy by the sea

She beckons you into a floating paradise with eyes that say wow.

The pastel-hued mural by South Beach-based Yuhmi Collective, the husband-and-wife duo Victor and Michelle Vasquez, is one of Hollywood’s newest.

It showcases a whimsical underwater scene with a large-eyed mermaid and other sea creatures.

The artists say they were captivated by Hollywood founder Joseph Young’s “Dream City” vision and the tale of Hollywood’s beginning, and how the city has transformed through the years.

You’ll find the mural on the southeast corner of Tyler Street and Dixie Highway at 115 North 21 Ave. – another prominent location downtown.

Happy faces

The London Police duo Bob Gibson and his partner Chaz have done their thing – crooning tunes and making murals – all over the world, from Amsterdam to Berlin, London, New York and Tokyo.

“That’s what they do, sing while they paint,” Weisberg said. “They’ll sing the Bee Gees while they paint.”

Three years ago, they set their sights on a wall at 1909 Harrison Street. When they were done, the wall sported one of their smiling “lads” making repairs to his aquarium. Yes, it’s an aquarium, not a computer — but since it is art, it can be whatever you want it to be.

Here’s what Chaz says about the Hollywood mural: “We always try to project a positive theme in our pieces. Our signature characters have happy faces and are depicted doing everyday things in the world they live in.

“In this particular piece one of our characters is making adjustments to the aquarium he is looking after. As this mural is near the sea, we threaded an aquatic theme with science and nature with an overall moral of looking after each other.”

Click here to see photos of all the murals »


-- 1925 Harrison St., artist Ruben Ubiera

-- 1900 Hollywood Blvd., artist 2Alas

-- 1832 South Young Circle, artist Michelle Weinberg

-- 1946 Harrison St., artist Rob Robi

-- 2020 Harrison St., artist Tati Suarez

-- 117 South 21st Ave., artist Molly Rose Freeman

-- 203 South 21st Ave., artist Daniel Fila aka Krave

-- 1909 Harrison St., artist The London Police

-- 2010 Hollywood Blvd., artist Diana Contreras

-- 1918 Harrison St., artist Rone

-- 119 North 20th Ave., artist Strangeways + Yenta

-- 119 North 20th Ave., artist Hoxxoh

-- 1926 Harrison St., artist Ernesto Maranje

-- 113 South 20th Ave., artist Logan Hicks

-- 2019 Hollywood Blvd., artist Kenny Scharf

-- Radius parking garage, 251 North 19th Ave., artist TM Sisters

-- 2039 Harrison St., artist Nicole Salcedo

-- 1800 South Young Circle, artist Kenton Parker

-- 2001 Van Buren St., artist Georgeta Fondos

-- 1920 Tyler St., artist Nice N’ Easy

-- 1922 Tyler St., artist Henning Haupt

-- 2014 Harrison St., artists Eddie Mendieta and Jay Bellicchi, 954-356-4554 or visit our ‘Sun Sentinel: Hollywood’ page at

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