Graffiti is something that can really bring a dichotomy of responses from people. Some like it, some hate it. Some see it as art, some see it as vandalism. My wife, Cheri, is of the former. As she works on her PhD in Rhetoric and New Media, her main area of study currently is that of street art – graffiti, wheat pasting, stickers, and other guerrilla art.
While we were in New Jersey this past Thanksgiving weekend, we both decided to take an excursion into New York City the day after Thanksgiving. We both had a few places in mind we wanted to visit. Being a photographer, I wanted to stop by the B&H Photo Superstore and the Impossible Project Space. Cheri wanted to use some of our time looking at real graffiti up close. We managed to do both.
I only really wanted to view some graffiti as long as we were in a safe part of town. Being the little researcher she is, Cheri found out about 5 Pointz in Long Island City, Queens. 5 Pointz is a self described aerosol art center. In other words, its a place where graffiti artists can legally, with permit during painting season, paint on the walls (interior and exterior) of a large five story warehouse. Artists from around the world are invited by the curator to exhibit their talents in a safe environment where they don’t have to be chased off by police.
Unfortunately, the center is only open to the public on Saturdays, thus we weren’t able to go inside. Luckily though, the entire exterior takes up a complete city block and it is covered with some amazing artwork. Its safe to say that I easily ate through a 36 exposure roll of film while we were there.
To document the visit I brought my Nikon FE with a Nikon 35 mm f/2 lens and loaded it with Kodak Portra 400 film. Below is the first (of two) sets of my favorite pieces we saw. I’ll post the second set later this week.
Do make sure to give 5 Pointz a visit next time you are in New York City as it looks like it may be torn down to build a high-rise luxury apartment building within the next year. Cheri and I will probably re-visit this Spring during the painting season.