Ah, Queens- the borough that is least respected (Staten Island doesn’t count) and the borough that is least visited (once again Staten Island doesn’t count). But Queens holds a secret right in Long Island City, and that secret is 5 pointz. Sick of MoMA or Chelsea gallery hopping? It’s time to get on that 7 subway line, head out to the first stop in Queens and visit graffiti mecca.
Established in 2002, 5 pointz is an outdoor art space that exhibits the newest of the graffiti world to the old heroes of the street art form. Lucky for me, my friend Miriam is interning at 5 pointz this summer and agreed to take me around last weekend to show me some of the new pieces going up. Miriam is also a Parsons Illustration student and she’s going into her sophomore year, but unlike some other illustration students she really likes to stencil. She took this internship, although it’s non-paying, because she gets to learn from the greats of graffiti- as soon as I arrived she immediately took me to her first dumpster painting. Let me just say she is really learning from these guys, because it looked absolutely fabulous!
Miriam led me around the building showing me everything from the great big spray painted mural of the Notorious B.I.G, to the tags of the graffiti greats, and then led me to some of the newer work. The great thing about 5 pointz is that it changes almost weekly. New artists are always coming in and painting over old tags or paintings. Some things don’t change like the bigger murals towards the end of the building and tags from the old school graffiti artists, but there’s always someone going at a wall creating something new. Personally my favorite mural of the day was Australian graffiti artists The Yok and Spooky. They are two collaborating artists create separate pieces that eventually come together. You can see some of their videos on their vimeo channel here: http://vimeo.com/37146690. They are a bit more illustration based than the straight up old graffiti taggers, but still it was pretty awesome.
If you’re ever looking for something new to check out, or are just on your way to P.S 1 stop by 5 pointz. Not only do they have great street art, but they also have break dancing competitions, tours and live tunes. It’s great to see a place breaking out of the traditional gallery mold so well. So stop by, go see Miriam and check out some really great art (finished and in progress) in Queens.