Street artist Kepos graffit art on a back on a jean jacket. 2010

Street artist Kepos, graffiti art on a back on a jean jacket. 2010

Growing up in the early 90’s in Miami was an exciting time. As for me, I happened to be at one of the most memorable stages in person’s life, Middle School. Miami in the early 90’s was a fast developing city. It had just recently gotten a basketball and baseball team. The influx of New Yorkers was significantly influencing our cities culture. While in middle school, it seemed every new student that arrived claimed to be from New York. Local fashion trends were as iconic as were the Bell Bottoms of  the 70″s. Can you say Z.Cavarricci, Drakkar, Edwins, M.C. Hammer pants? Cavarricci’s (ka-vah-ree-chi’s) were a must have for every middle and high school student that wanted to be part of the “in” crowd. But most of all, during this era Miamian’s character and will power was tested by the most devastating natural disaster to hit our city and nation to date.

But the early ninety’s was a time in Miami’s history where the art of Graffiti was at its highest point. The streets of Miami were saturated with tags (calligraphy), throw ups (typography) and pieces (murals) from now legendary street artists. In my opinion, the epicenter of this movement radiated from one of the most ethically diverse section of this county, Cutler Ridge. Or what is now known as Cutler Bay.  This would include the sub-neighborhoods of South Miami Heights and Goulds. Along with Graffiti being popular, it was also fashionable. Not only was owning a pair of Cavarricci pants the “in” thing but so was an airbrushed  jacket or pair of jeans. And if your attire was airbrushed by one of Cutler Ridge’s infamous street artists of the time such as Meer or Kepos, that gave you a bit of pep to your step at school the next day. Meer is a legendary street artist of the era. What made him famous was that he was everywhere. And also that he took leadership in influencing others to keep the graffiti movement alive through recruiting and teaching. Some of the most famous crews of the time came from Cutler Ridge: WOW, STV,FH,FA,AIM and others. Eventually Kepos came and took the lead in the graffiti scene. Other infamous graffiti artist from the time were Mice, Ener, Ovs and Mek.

cavaricci pants miami

Z.Cavaricci pants

At the end, it came down to a battle between graffiti writers and the counties newly created Graffiti Task Force. And though it took them a couple of years, by 1994 the GTF (part of the Gang Unit or GIU) had won. Graffiti was almost eradicated by the GTF. Other factors contributed to the demise. The nature of graffiti is that of a competition. Who can “get up” the most and how to prevent another from “getting up” more than you. It’s a hater’s mentality. And with that frame of mind, no movement or aspiration of movement can survive. Ever heard the phrase “divide and conquer?” Which should be a lesson to the current and flourishing art scene in Miami. The final dagger that halted the movement was hip-hop. West coast hip hop to be exact. With the launch of  Dr.Dre’s “The Chronic” in 1992, the trend had now shifted from “Who can I be the most famous graffiti artist?” to “Who could become the next baddestt M.C. to represent Miami?”

Here are some pictures that have outlasted the actual artwork and capture a glimpse to that historic point in time. You can call it a dark history or what ever you want but it was history and the people of Cutler Ridge are witnesses to that. This post is not to glorify graffiti but an attempt to chronicle a time in this city’s past that was historic and that would probably never be matched again. Although you can argue that since then, Miami has had heavyweight graffiti artists that have taken the city at siege such as Chrome, Cope and Typoe. As a movement, the early 1990’s will never be matched. Or will it? For that to happen it would need the help of some attributing factors. Just like a bacteria, in order for graffiti to thrive it needs the perfect environment. Stay tune as I will explain.

All picture in gallery courtesy www.miamigraffiti.com



  1. TMS:AIM says:

    Yo! Whoever wrote this article needs to check their facts. Nothing in it is accurate. You shouldn’t speak about history if you don’t know history.


    1. Art of Miami says:

      Please specify. I see the article as a personal blog entree reflecting to the 90’s not history lesson.

  2. Don Gutierrez says:

    This is accurate. I grew up in homestead/ cutler ridge during this era. Was part of a smaller crew THC (TONEONE)… never got as much fame as the others but was very tuned into the Miami grafitti scene from an early age 13 or so. I’m now 42. I can remember each and everything mentioned above as well as each artist. Nice tribute to the part of history. “Getting up” with that kind of dedication I do not think will be matched in the technological age. People are too busy these days on gadgets. Back then time was spent outdoors.

  3. Don gutierrez says:

    Do I remember “Wow” ( world of writers), “STV” ( specialize to vandalize), “AIM” ( artist in motion), “FH” (Flying high.. or Fu*#! $! High”), “FA” (free agents)… should we talk about low rider mini truck clubs next LOL.. I was in them all..

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