In the Bronx, Painting Together at an Open-Air Gallery

TATS Cru put out the call on Friday.

“Yo, Goldie’s in town. Want to paint?”

That was all it took to summon more than a dozen of the city’s best-known graffiti artists to an otherwise-desolate stretch of Hunts Point that in recent years has been turned into a 200-foot-long open-air canvas. From Monday morning into the late afternoon, aerosol artists like Crash, Daze, Ces and Sade, among others, joked and jostled as they laid down thick coats of color.

In the middle of it all was Goldie – born Clifford Joseph Price – who has been friends with TATS Cru since they visited the United Kingdom in 1985. In the intervening years, he has gone on to garner success as a graffiti artist, musician and actor. Currently on tour in the United States, he came to Hunts Point on Monday not for money or fame, but something more elemental.

“This is just something I had to do,” he said. “Twenty-seven years ago, these guys turned me on, and that changed my life.”

He showed an easy camaraderie on Monday. As he filled in part of his mural, he let out an exaggerated groan as one of his spray cans ran out of paint. He wandered over to Bio – whose real name is Wilfredo Feliciano – and implored him like Oliver Twist.

“Please sir, can I have some more?”

The resulting exchange cannot be printed. (Though he did get another can of paint.)

The open-air gallery – on Drake Street just south of Spofford Avenue – has been a playground of sorts for TATS Cru since 2008, when the owner of the sprawling warehouse enlisted them to paint murals in order to keep vandals off the walls. Since then, the Bronx-based mural crew and friends lay down new designs for fun every month or so.

“This is the equivalent of the guys getting together for bowling or hanging out in the man-cave,” said Hector Nazario, known as Nicer. “This is where we get together with old friends who used to go out with us painting subways.”

Not that these artists have to do that anymore. Many of them have exhibited internationally. Others have licensed their designs for clothing, sneakers and even suitcases. Yet there is still a bond they feel among one another that goes back to the days when they raced through train yards.

“Bio and I always get together once or twice a year just to paint,” said John Matos, known as Crash, who is perhaps best known for painting electric guitars owned by Eric Clapton. “All of a sudden, this just exploded over the weekend. This is the culture we knew as kids. But to have us come together now to do this, it’s just a massive outpouring. It’s pretty intense. This is what we were born to do.”

As the day wore on, Goldie seemed ever energized. Earlier in the day, he and the others were graced with a brief visit from Henry Chalfant, the photographer and documentarian whose book “Subway Art” influenced many of them.

“When I opened up ‘Subway Art,’” Goldie said, “it was like opening the Ark of the Covenant.”

Decades later, he sees an unbroken line between his love of graffiti and music.

“It has colored my music,” he said. “What’s an arrangement but shape and color in sound? Sound and color, to me, are the same thing.”

Powered By | Full Text RSS Feed | Amazon Script | Android Forums | WordPress Tutorials
Go to Source