This Is The Story Of Wynwood’s Robot Monkeys
Dan Walker is a street artist, but he doesn’t paint walls or do graffiti. Instead, he makes toylike animal sculptures and hangs them on powerlines and light poles in Wynwood for people to find. Panther Coffee is a spot where the bizarre critters often turn up, dangling and peering at passerby from above.
Walker’s mischievous street sculptures often get snatched up the next day and sometimes moved to other locations, depending on how hard they are to get to. But that’s OK with the Miami artist. “Someone told me they saw one in Aventura. I encourage people to put them out again,” he says. “The street ones aren’t meant to sit in your house. It’s more fun that they’re outside.”
He collects found object materials daily and has a studio stocked with a rainbow of laundry detergent bottles, knives and power drills. His finer pieces like the The Mighty Phoenix of Wynwood take him nearly 15 hours to complete. But he can whip one up within a day. For Walker, the street is his sketchbook and a place to get silly. Walker admits he enjoys the ‘WTF’ quality his artwork brings to passerby. “I like when people notice and don’t notice them,” he says. “It amazes me how oblivious people are of things hanging right over their heads. Most people don’t look above one story.”
When he moved to Miami from New York in 2009 to work with other artists, he got turned on to street art and graffiti. He wasn’t skilled with spray cans, so he combined his toy background and installation skills and voila, and got to work. The idea started when he was back in New York working for a toy company where he made radio-controlled soccer-playing monkeys.—Andrea Richard
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