Foudroyant: Five Pointz graffiti alphabet

BY | Posted on | FILED UNDER Categories Foudroyant, Queens 

New York, 1983. My first year in the city was unending with the excitement of not having walked anywhere I would walk those days. Everything I saw I never saw before, except for tidbits on TV, film, postcards, and in coffee table books. Don’t take the subway after 8pm I was told by a caring, but perhaps also a bit jealous voice, in the week before I left for NYC. I loved and feared the subway, and therefore loved it. I loved the rebel texture, the primal imprint graffiti gave to the trains, to the city. I roamed through Soho, the Village (East & West), Tompkinsville, L.I.C., as if they were galleries in the Museum of Graffiti, snapping 35mm slides of all that writing.

I remember the Kenny Sharf shack on Spring Street, and walking past it one afternoon while Kenny and a pal were painting a Tailfin Era car. I remember paying for a Keith Haring catalogue at Tony Shafrazi’s—a Christmas gift for my artist brother—when Keith came up from the back of the gallery with a silver paint marker in the ready to dedicate and sign the book. I remember meeting Liz+Val of paintroller renown. I remember watching teens tagging a wall along a train track. I remember how unnerved they were by someone watching them. I remember Richard Hambleton’s shadow characters gracing white walls. I remember Red Spot’s red spots on the sidewalks of Soho

After each visit to PS1, the entrance becomes exit becomes frame. Each time it focuses  me on the piece I missed inside—5 Pointz ( across the avenue, the Institute of Higher Burnin’, a living collage of graffiti art covering a converted warehouse full of artist studios. The art of famous and novice graffiti artists covers the building’s facade, all done with the encouragement of the building’s owner—the Max Yasgur of the daubers and scrawlers, the graffitists, those who have given and continue to give color to New York’s FOUDROYANT underbelly.  

3 thoughts on “Foudroyant: Five Pointz graffiti alphabet”

  1. Funny enough we might have brushed up against one another back in 1983 in the East Village somewhere, sipping coffee at the LIFE cafe or wondering whether or not we were brave enough to forage across Tompkins Square Park, delighting in the soft, challah at the Kiev bakery. This whole damn metropolis seemed FOUDROYANT, explosive in the most colorful and daunting ways.

    In contrast, at that time, I had no idea how or why to go to Queens. Now I find that borough to be one of most the dynamic, living, breathing, diverse places on earth, so it seems fitting to watch your electrifying ABC creation emerge from there.

  2. An interesting use of ambient sound and still images to create the illusion of motion. If you were to expand this into a larger piece, what would you do differently? It might be interesting to vary horizontal pans with vertical ones, or perhaps linger on still images. Your choice of subject matter is a rich one and there’s definitely more your camera could explore. Very good use of ambient audio.

  3. Lynne, fun thinking of how we may have brushed up against one another back then, in our individual quests to find and participate in Loisaida’s foudroyance—where to go, where not to go, and embracing that fringe. Here I am, Z years after I arrived in NYC, and I know there are whole countries in Queens alone that I have never set foot in. Most amazingly Astoria is one of them…

    Scott… larger piece… do differently… thanks for planting those thoughts. I’m thinking I may add “getting an editing program” to my New Year’s resolutions…

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