We have contests for anything and everything so drawing shouldn’t be any different, right? Last night a battle of epic proportions went down in Astoria/Long Island City, Queens. Hosted by the Paper Factory Hotel (a nice boutique oasis in the middle of a very industrial neighborhood) Secret Walls gathered fifteen New York City artists in a showdown for the ages (and this was just a qualifying round).
What is Secret Walls? It is an organization that promotes drawing “battles” all over the world. Simple rules – always and only black on white (it really shows off the competitors true skills) and a 90 minute time limit. A panel of judges and the audience pick the winners.
The anticipation builds before the beginning of the war.
And… WE ARE OFF!
Amazing works of art begin to appear as the challengers battle in the cold autumn air. Some of the best street artists in NYC and a couple of newcomers gave it everything including (and in no particular order): Lamour Supreme, Chris RWK, Miss Zukie, Martha Alicia, Abe Lincoln, Jr., Sasha Fay, Wizard Skull, Scott Liam Walker, Cosbe, Mastro, AdrianKart.
All and all a fantastic evening and real gathering of talent, right here in Queens 🙂
This weekend an exhibit opens up blocks away from the whitewashed ghost of 5pointz, featuring many of the artists whose work was destroyed in the middle of the night without warning. The exhibit called “Whitewash” attempts to answer the questions of the immediate impact of the loss on the artists and their feelings going forward. I have included links below and if you are in the NYC area make a point of coming out to see the work and support the artists.
Now back to my lead in… it could have been any saturday, that was the beauty of 5pointz. On any weekend during the year the place was alive with color, sound and inspiration. The ever changing canvas made it worth visiting over and over again. It was on one of these weekends that the shots below were taken. Nothing special, just another weekend, now forever just a memory. Sadly when I came across these the other day they brought a tear to my eye. Such a sad shortsighted shame…
So make the trek out to Long Island City and see the show. Take one last look at the area before it disappears forever into a sea of steel and glass.
A beautiful day in the city. Hope for spring is here. Decided to stay in Queens today and see what the city might give and as so often happens I was rewarded. Stumbled on to the Wallnuts Crew working on 21st. in Long Island City.
Some of the people that came by to watch brought snacks.
For more information about the Wallnuts be sure to check out their facebook page at
I will probably write about 5pointz many times. I still really haven’t been able to figure out how to put all of my feelings into words. Of course there are the easy things that can be said. The irony of how something can be such a large part of its own demise. Reality, if 5pointz didn’t exist MoMa may never have come. If MoMa hadn’t come, maybe the hipsters would have stayed on the other side of Newtown Creek for a few more years.
And no, I really can’t define “hipster” but I am using it here as a catch all for the shiny people in fake vintage wear who exit Courthouse Square in droves on the weekends. The people who figured out how convenient Long Island City really is to the rest of the world. Some say that is the natural progression of a city and I suppose it is, but progress is not always positive, no matter how the package is sold.
Promises were made that have already been broken, the owners acted in bad faith and with epically stupendous short-sightedness. I guess I am a dreamer, but there were many visions that could have been profitable for all involved but as is the nature of our society the need for instant gratification, greed and arrogance won the day.
I can pretend that business will be hard going forward, but with friends in high places and an ever hungry market, money will still be made. So if such a thing as Karma exists, I have many suggestions for re-births. Maybe as a cochineal scale, to be ground into a pigment, mixed into a paint and applied to a wall celebrating the 100 year anniversary of the 5pointz movement!
So let the gentrification continue, but don’t think for a moment that street art will somehow disappear into the sea of glass and steel.