Posted Mar 15, 2013, 12:13 AM
New Yorker for life
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Borough of Jersey
A Tour of 5Pointz Aerosol Art Center
by: Rachel Alban
March 13, 2013
Child is the oldest piece at 5pointz, probably dating back to the early ’90s.
This weekend I had the opportunity to take a SideTour experience of 5Pointz Art Center, an outdoor art exhibit space in Long Island City, Queens where artists from around the world paint on the walls of a 200,000-square-foot factory building complex. Our guide was Meres One, a talented artist and the curator of 5pointz, which is nicknamed “The Institute of Higher Burnin.” Meres is an engaging guide, and has a way of making the artwork come alive as he shares stories of artists, often with themes of personal loss and overcoming obstacles such as medical illness that effected the creative process.
Throughout the 2-hour tour, Meres proudly talked us through the incredible range of subject matter, styles, and methods utilized at 5Pointz by artists from around the world. Meres makes an effort to allow different styles of art. We were shown examples of classic old school graffiti, “graphic design” graffiti, modern graffiti with clean shapes and lines, street art with distinct meaning or message, stencils, stickers and wheatpaste. They all come together to form a kind of collage which changes and evolves over time.
The loading dock feels like the heart of the art center. Despite the food carts and trucks coming in and out of the garage, there is a vibrant and exciting energy and during the summer they host many parties and events here. Next to the loading dock, there is a small, indoor gallery which at the time of our visit featured canvas paintings. As we discussed the art around the loading dock, Meres explained that some of the highest pieces were done with the help of a crane that was onsite during construction. The pieces across the top – from PC Kid to Dondi – are names of graffiti artists who have passed away. Artists are lost, and other artists step up – literally as high as they can go – to make art in their honor.
At 5Pointz, most of the pieces stay up for six months to two years. However, one piece by has been here a lot longer. In the photo below, under the window and next to “5PTZ dot COM”, the faded pink “Child” is actually older than 5Pointz itself. It dates back to the days of Phun Phactory, the non-profit which operated the site starting in 1993. In 2002, Meres took over and renamed it 5Pointz, suggesting a place where the five NYC boroughs come together as one. The Child piece was there at that time, and Meres has outlined it twice since then.
You’ll need to get to 5pointz soon, for this tour or for a self-guided visit because the future of 5Pointz is uncertain. In 2009, NYC Buildings department ordered the largest building closed after a stairway collapsed, seriously injuring an artist. Now there is a dispute over what to do with the complex. The owner announced plans to redevelop the property and build high-rise residential towers. Meres has publicized his desire to convert the building into a graffiti museum and possibly open a school for aspiring aerosol artists. During our tour, he seemed cautiously optimistic, acknowledging that the future is uncertain, but also mentioning that he has been in talks with the Long Island City council to expand to another site.
Sey One, a wheelchair-bound artist, was hoisted up 2 stories to do this blue green piece.
Salvador Dali mural by Zimer
Slot machine themed mural by Italian artist Mr. Blob. There are 5 symbols on the front of the machine – one for each NYC borough.
Beauty & the Beast” Mural by Esteban del Valle, a Brooklyn-based interdisciplinary artist originally from Chicago.
Collaborative mural by The Yok and Creepy.
Pointillism portrait by James Cochran.
Shiro, Demer, Meres Collaboration
MCA of the Beastie Boys. RIP
Meres gave a live demonstration of how he creates his own works of art.
The view from under the 7 train featuring a flower by Michael De Feo, Notorious B.I.G. mural by New Zealand’s OD, and Meres’ signature light bulb character.
NEW YORK. World's capital.
“Office buildings are our factories – whether for tech, creative or traditional industries we must continue to grow our modern factories to create new jobs,” said United States Senator Chuck Schumer.