5 Pointz – home to street art NYC graffiti art – it’s a graffiti art gallery. This is where some of the best New York graffiti is at. Come with us to meet renowned graffiti artist, Meres One, as he shows us murales by famous graffiti artists including Cope2 and Lady Pink, as well as his own iconic Joker graffiti.
What’s good everybody, this is Meres One. We here at 5 Pointz, Long Island City, the largest aerosol exhibit space in the world for legal graffiti art. Basically, I’ve been here now years. It’s a five-floor industrial building. It’s one city block and it’s covered top to bottom with about 400+ pieces.
We have people that come here from all over the world, as well as all over the United States, and showcase their artwork.
The way we run it basically is that the people that do a piece, last anywhere from a day to a month, depending on the level of artwork, depending on the level of traffic. Productions that are thought out with backgrounds will last up to a year or two years depending on the level. And that’s pretty much how we do it.
On top of the fact that we have graffiti on the walls though, we are community-based, and there are people here on any given day – hanging out, signing black books, there’s old-school teaching the young, young teaching the old, we have MCs that come, we have break-dancers that come, and tons of tourists, at least one to three tour buses a day, as well as bike tours and foot tours. So it’s definitely one of a kind, and a community, and we plan to expand and to cover even more of the building.
Looking up, you can see on the side, there are some of the artists that have passed away on this side as well. Crowns this side of the building written in orange. I had the honour of painting with most of them, and knowing most of them. Dondi who I didn’t get to meet or paint with was probably one of my top writers in the entire world, and it’s cool that we have that. We’re going to have to add this year Dare. He passed away as well, which is a shame. One of my favourite writers in the entire world. We’ll add him up there too.
This wall is pretty much brand new. We built it with money that we raised through a fundraiser. I was pretty much the first one to do it. I did my name across it. I also did a Joker character. This wall will be changing some time probably in the next month. Cycle and Ernie are going to be doing it over and I’m looking forward to it, they do an amazing job.
This wall right here is Goonie’s wall, done by me and several members of my crew. It’s been here now going on two years. As you can see, the wall right here tends to start chipping through the weathering. So this wall is due to change this year, we’re going to scrape it down, repaint it, and it will be done over. It easily falls apart so it’s something that we have to deal with, because in New York, in winter it rains and stuff.
This used to be an area where we had beginners paint. For the summer, we decided to start doing exhibits in here, due to the fact PS1 goes on across the street, we thought it would add a nice touch to it. We’re still in the process of transforming it, and it needs a little work to go. We’re going to do another coat of white on the walls, we’re going to clean the roof, and we’re going to paint the floor industrial grey after we sweep it out and everything. So come the end it’ll look pretty presentable. It isn’t a gallery but it’s adding a little extra touch to it and it’ll allow people to walk away with a piece of artwork, as well as see the artwork. This Saturday will be the first day, we look forward to it.
Walls like the one straight over here, that’s temporary. That’s going to be a full, elaborate production. What we try to do is by the winter time have every wall like the Joker wall, with the full background, thought-out idea, and worked out. So we still have quite some walls to go.
Right over here we have a wall that was just done. These artists came from San Francisco and came out. Some veterans from San Fran. And did that wall over the weekend. This is a wall done by myself and Cortes. Cortes did the majority of the background. It’s still not done but very close. He’s an amazing artist as well as a comic book style artist. This is one of the stronger walls at 5 Pointz. I’m looking forward to finishing it and getting a beautiful photo. The wall to the right of it was done by two other artists, Bose and Fes, and that’s on the theme of Alice in Wonderland. That’s pretty much going to stay for the entire winter and change next spring. It came out really good and vibrant. We try to encourage different styles, different themes, so it’s interesting to see what people choose to do.
This wall over here was done by several artists. Myself, Dizum, who obviously runs 5 Pointz, Zimad, an old-school writer from the Bronx and a member of my crew, and Dingo, an artist from Germany, and also a member of my crew. This wall is not done yet, it’s almost done. Due to the heatwave we’ve been waiting to finish what’s left of the wall.
This is an example of a wall that will stay up for a year. It has a full, thought-out, elaborate background, and the concept is there, so this is something that will be staying. Looking up, you’ll see the drainpipe, there’s a purple piece that’s kind of beat up behind the drainpipe over here, where the bird is sitting. That piece is done by an artist named Chile, that’s the oldest piece on 5Pointz at this moment. He’s no longer with us, he passed away. We keep his piece there as a memory of him and his art. On top over here we have another artist, Cope, who’s one of the most famous writers active in New York. He’s from the Bronx and we have one of his pieces, which is good to have. It’s one of the crowd favourites at 5 Pointz.
Here we have another example of graffiti art, which is stencilling. Stencilling is a newer form which I love a lot. It’s a lot of detailing work and time consuming work that goes into making these stencils. These are some samples. We like to incorporate everything here. I don’t really have any re-pastes at the moment. Re-pastes don’t last as long, but stencilling does and we have some examples of stencilling around the building.
This artist is from Japan. He’s pretty much here to learn English, but while he’s here he stops by at 5 Pointz. To him it’s like his second home and he loves this place. We have a lot of artists that come here that feel the same way. It’s like a temple for aerosol art and the level and magnitude of the building and the art, especially when you walk into the loading dock and you look up, is overwhelming for a lot of people. He’s one of those people that’s here pretty much every day.
Over here we have a wall that the artists wanted to put up – Stop The Violence. Kind of sending a message to the youth. It’s pretty cool. Every one person you change is a positive thing, so even if this mural affects one person, it’s done its job.
Across the street – it’s nothing to do with 5 Pointz, it’s a business – but I did that wall for them. It’s basically an example of photo realism, which is making a flat image look dimensional. We try to keep all the businesses across the street relatively clean – there’s no tagging or graffiti on them. We try to look after our neighbours, because we have to live by them, we have to all work together on making the surrounding areas as nice as possible. We try to do that to the best of our ability.
This right here is a sample of another style of graffiti, which is three-dimensional. It’s where you do a piece with no hard outline. It basically gives it the look that it’s coming off the wall. It’s a newer style that is popular and expanding and taking it to new levels, a lot of people are starting to do three-dimensional.
Here’s another sample of stencil work. Our neighbour runs local projects, they’re a gallery, they do a lot of shows and activities and interesting work. We try to coincide with them as much as possible. We’re for what they do and they’re for what we do.
I believe this artist is from Spain. I’m not 100% sure, but it’s a beautiful example of photo realism mixed with illustration and abstract. I’m really feeling this piece.
Here we have another example of a stencil, done by a lady who’s actually just getting into stencilling. It has to do with the airports and the searching, and how it’s getting more and more extreme, what we have to do to fly. So she did that.
Looking up, we have a piece of artwork done by one of the most famous graffiti artists, and probably the most famous female graffiti artist in the world, Lady Pink. She did a piece pretty much symbolising Mother Nature and oil, and how it’s destroying our planet and stuff. We’ve had that piece up there for a couple of years now. It’s an honour to have her up there. She deals a lot with youth and works with them on school and mural projects throughout New York. It’s very good to have her as part of 5 Pointz and what we’re doing.
The lightbulbs we have up here, my logos, my little characters, they become part of my identity, and people know that I do them. I also have a shirt line out that have those lightbulbs on them. I continue to come up with new ones and ideas for it.
This is a portrait of Rihanna, done by an artist from Europe. You can see that this wall is pretty beat up. We’re going to have to scrape it down soon and start from scratch. This paint will be flaking off by winter time.
This wall has been here for quite some years now. A Japanese artist named Jin. 2007 he did this. This wall is definitely due for a change, it’s starting to get beat up. Within the next month or so these will all get redone.
This is Jean-Michel Basquiat , done by an artist visiting from New Zealand named OD, who’s actually back again, and he’s going to re-do a portrait over this guy.
This is an artist from Mexico, Rio 77. He’s just started getting into photo realism, this is one of his earlier works. A very nice guy.
Here we have another portrait of Al Pacino, by artist Neo. I can’t quite remember where he’s from, but it’s one of the crowd favourites as well.
We will be hosting the Meeting of Styles, coming in September. At that point, all these walls going down the entire side of this block will be redone, at the Meeting of Styles, as well as some of the walls on the other side. That should be amazing. We’ll get some of the best artists from all over the world coming.
The pieces right here with the stripes are done by two old-school artists, one is Whisper and the other is KR1, who’s been writing since the 1970s, as well as Mike79 over here, another old-timer. These are guys that are still active today, from back then. Talented artists as well.
These walls will be the main wall at the Meeting of Styles. From the window down to the floor, end to end, where some of the most concentrated work will be. It’s going to be a really beautiful mural, a collaborative of several artists who come together at that moment to create the idea on the spot. I can’t wait to see what they come up with.
If you see across the top of the building, they’re all silver names, end to end. These are artists that passed away that have been some of them friends to me, some of them inspirations to me, and we wanted to pay homage to them and do a crown across the top. On the other side we have the same thing as well, with the names being done in orange. There have been several more people that have passed away over the past year that we need to include on the top, so we will be adding a few names.
Done by CORTES, an amazing artist, definitely one of my inspirations early in the graffiti game, and also a partner of mine doing murals, we do a lot of collaborative work together. And another artist from Queens as well.
Some of these walls which are the siding are a little more difficult to paint, but will be full with productions by the end of the year as well.
Up here we have one of the main walls facing the train, it’s one of the best real estates on the building. We plan on trying to cover that up sometime in the next year or two, and having it completely covered, so that when trains come by it’s amazing – an amazing collage of colour and lettering. So it’s something we’re working on now.
This right here is what we call the old-timers wall, where we have, every time we have an old-timers day, the original train writers and pioneers of graffiti come out and do their pieces over here. You can see straight ahead a piece, the yellow one, which is done by an artist named Danger. He’s displaying there a ‘70s style of piecing. And then we have some more, newer, younger artists that are doing some younger styles and newer styles. It was a collaborative of young and old on this event, but sometimes we have just the old-timers that come. We usually have a barbecue as well as a paint, and then a deejay, so it makes for a great day. The guys that did the trains, to be able to paint here and have the trains go by, is the next closest thing to doing the train itself. Another piece, Roger, who’s done it in an older style from the ‘70s, which today would be simpler and possibly even classified as a throw-up, but then was a masterpiece, an elaborate piece. Over the years, graffiti has evolved to a level where people are doing three-dimensional pieces now, and wild styles, which weren’t around at that point, but it is due to them that it has evolved to this point and we can do what we do.
This work is a collaborative so far of three artists, myself with the lightbulbs, Sofia, who did the lady, all done in brush with no spray paint, and this is another piece done by an artist from Puerto Rico using spray paint, and it’s been one big collage that we’ve been putting together. There’s a little bit more work in it, then it’ll be done.
This is another artist, an old-school artist, by the name of OUI, and once again doing a piece there from the ‘70s style. Here we have an upcoming artist, by the name of Jekyll, who’s only been writing for a couple of years. He shows a lot of opportunity to grow but has also gone a long way in a short time.
This wall was done by an artist named Shiro from Japan. She worked on the majority of the background. I did some of it as well, but it was her idea to do. It’s based on a comic character from Japan which I’m not familiar with, but the project was thrown together, and we did it I believe a year and a half ago. Some of the paint that has dripped on is when they re-did the building, they re-painted it, so some it has got slightly damaged, but for the most part the mural is intact. This is an example of a mural that was done and how the weather conditions make it so that the mural peels apart. This young artist here in the middle is going to be doing a portrait on here. We’re trying to get it so that the wall is as scraped as it could be, and that it’ll last for as long as possible, so we don’t have to change it. You can see some of his work on the website, he did the Biggie Smalls piece, and he’s planning on doing a couple of portraits here, so we’re looking forward to it. So once again, I just want to say that this is 5 Pointz, we are the only legal outlet in New York where people can come and paint. Regardless of your skill level – if you’re an expert, if you’re a beginner, if you’ve never touched a spray can in your life and you feel you want to try to give it a shot, you could come out and we could set it up where you could do a wall. Workshops are available, I do teach workshops, We are open 12-7 Saturday and Sunday and weekdays by appointment only.
Meres One. Peace.