“Five-points,” as it is known to grafitti artists around the world, is a large factory in Long Island City where it is legal to spray paint the walls. The owners of the factory allow artists to paint the walls as long as they seek permission first. The building, which fills an entire square block is covered from the ground up mostly in “wild style” grafitti – much different from NoLa Rising’s more mural-like Aztec inspired work, something Mike was initially nervous about. Mike, two other artists from New Orleans, the executive director of NoLa Rising and a photographer ventured out to Queens to tackle a large estimated 10 by 10 foot wall with spray paint cans and a ladder. I met them there while they were scouring the large dumpsters outside of the clothing factory for some left over fabric to use as scarves.
Around 3 p.m. the man who was in charge of allotting painting space led the crew to the wall they’d spend the next five hours covering with what Mike later considered his best street work ever. By 8:30 Mike and the other artists finally finished and they headed back to Manhattan for some tourist activities. Check out a picture of the final product below.
The day before, I met Mike and his fellow artists in Brooklyn at one of their friends’ house where they covered the back wall of the apartment with a depiction of the Virgin Mary and baby Jesus. The fumes of the paint and standing in the cold gave me a bad cold but the time spent getting to know the artists was worth it. Having spent time in New Orleans and falling in love with the city myself it felt great to be with people who, I felt, really represented the city’s unique, artistic and relaxed attitude about life. Below: NoLa Rising graffiti in Brooklyn
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