New York's Graffiti Hall of Fame, 2009...Schizo!
East Harlem is where the graff painters congregate to collaborate and show off their skills. But, the event is still something strictly for painters and their crew. Oddly, it's not a community event even though it's in a school yard...that seems like a step back in the evolution of graffiti. Compare this to the downtown scene at Helenbeck Gallery where artists have embraced the gallery scene (see my other post.)
I read that this Hall of Fame was started in 1980 by community activist Ray Rodriguez along with DJ Kayslay (aka Dez) and Part 1 TDS and has been an annual affair ever since. Martha Cooper said on her blog that the schoolyard has lost its "gritty, urban feel" in recent years. One of her production assistants (there's a new interactive project coming from Martha and Henry Chalfont) said that the Hall of Fame has lost a lot of its momentum since one of the organizers parted ways. After all these years I've still not met Henry Chalfont, but I had a near miss (Maharishi Gallery, London.)
M.J. R.I.P. 1958-2009 When I arrived in New York news of Michael Jackson's death filtered across the city. That breaking news was reflected on the walls of the Hall of Fame. Below, are some pics of the tribute pieces that were painted over the weekend.
Uptown, Downtown I went uptown on Friday when only a few heads were painting and got inside the yard to take a closer look. Then I went again on Saturday and Sunday to see Tat Cru paint, but still no sign of them! All I got was this teasing mural and a couple of thunderstorms!
"I miss the old New York" As I reflect on my first visit I have to say I probably won't go again. The writers want to get up, but some of them don't want to be seen doing it. It's taking the adage "I miss the old New York" to an extreme. The old skool cats (~50 years old) are happy to chat, but the 30+ year olds still think it's the wild west out here. They hate the bloggers, the photographers, the videotographers. Aka me. And if they find out you're not from New York...oh man, get outta here!
Big up to Ink76, Band1 and the man James Top for giving me some camera love.