When crowds of football fans descend on Miami for Super Bowl LIV festivities on the first weekend in February, a 27-story downtown building with a mural celebrating our connection to each other will greet them. The stunning work, created by Dasic Fernández, is part of a collaboration between the NFL and Goldman Global Arts. As part of it, five artists to create works seen across Miami and during the day of the game. Four of them will create murals and sculptures, and the fifth artist will illustrate the game day ticket and commemorative program.
For Fernández, being able to take on this opportunity in a city that has meant so much for his career was exciting. “I feel like I was living in New York for around 10 years, and I feel like Miami is either my second or even my third city in the States now,” he says. “Because I always felt the love of the people for my work in general and for my person, too. If I had to pick a place to do diverse [artwork], I think that’s going to be Miami.”
It’s saying a lot about his love for the South Florida city considering his work has taken him all over the world. Fernández is a Chilean muralist who is inspired by hip-hop culture and graffiti. He studied architecture at the University of Chile, Santiago, where he realized he preferred being outside making art than being stuck inside in a classroom. So during his last year of college, he began dedicating more of his time to art, which led him to Rio de Janeiro, Buenos Aires, Montevideo, New York and Miami. More than a decade after this turning point, Fernández’s art will now be showcased in the city hosting one of the biggest sporting events in the world.
Ahead of the Super Bowl, we spoke to Fernández about the meaning behind his mural and why he decided to take part in this project.
What is the inspiration behind your mural?
[At] some moment, while I was pursuing architecture, I got my first camera for photographs, and I started to paint photographs on the walls. I started to develop without knowing it. It was just very natural, I started to develop certain techniques with the spray can. And I just fell very in love with the impact that [these characters] had in the street, on the people, with the people and the amount of attention that we started to have.
So I started to focus a lot on the people, on their expressions, and I used a lot of portraits. With many different techniques.
The mural for the Super Bowl used a lot of people and that actually is the connection that we had with the NFL and my work; they wanted to show a piece that talks about the fans. The people that [are] around the football, around this sport.
What challenges did you face with creating a piece that speaks to such a diverse group of people?
My challenge was to express this passion and these feelings and how we can be connected to the same passion and through [something like] football. But in general, it’s the connection that we have. Feeling the same type of energy and my challenge for this art piece was how to create something that looks like just one piece but it has many characters in – kind of reflected [in] feeling the same type of energy around what we love, which in this case is the American football.
Are you focusing on any specific groups of people?
No, the piece, in general, would look to be very universal. It doesn’t speak directly to one type of community or one way or one type of people or a niche city or culture or age. I tried to be very universal. Something that anyone in the world can see and can feel and [see themselves reflected]. Because I believe that no matter from where we are, we are all connected through the same feelings. We experience very similar feelings to similar stimulation. Family, sports or whatever we believe in, we kind of have this connection through the same or similar feelings.
As opposed to murals that are painted on walls, can you break down the digitalization of this piece?
This is a painting that is being digitalized. It’s being vectorized, and it’s going to be printed. It’s like a big print, an art print that is going to be attached to a building in downtown Miami. It’s a 27-story building and it is going to have this huge artwork attached to the building because the setting of the building is just windows. So it’s impossible to paint it. We are doing this big print that is going to be wrapping the building.
“I feel a lot of love for Miami. It’s a city that since I stayed there the first time I fell in love with this warm feeling.”
What drew you to this project?
I think it’s a very big surface to speak to people, to meet the mission with art. My personal mission through art is talk to the people is to remind people what we are, where we are from, where we come from, what we are made of and we are all the same.
So if I have the opportunity to have this huge surface to speak directly to the people, to their souls….We know that everything is run by passion, by tradition, by culture, by memories and everything.
What does it mean to you to be able to do this in Miami – a place that has been important to your career as an artist?
Honestly, I feel a lot of love for Miami. It’s a city that since I stayed there the first time I fell in love with this warm feeling. I don’t know if [it’s] the Latino community with the American community. I don’t know what it is, but it’s a very warm place. I have a lot of good friends there… I always love to go there every year to do a mural or whatever artwork I had to do there.
So I feel like I was living in New York for around 10 years and I feel like Miami is either my second or even my third city in the States now. Because I always felt the love of the people for my work in general and for my person too. If I had to pick a place to do diverse music and artwork I think that’s going to be Miami.