Legal Graffiti at 5 Pointz
On a recent trip to Long Island City, PSFK stopped by 5 Pointz, the famed graffiti building where every single square inch is covered with paint. We’ve been hearing about the spot for years, and even past the building a couple of times en route to P.S.1, but until now, never really taken the time to walk around and examine it closely.
The building is a commercial factory that covers almost an entire block. Inside, about 90 artists rent studio space. On the outside, artists from around the world come to do their art – but it’s not just a free for all, everything is painted by permit and the placement of each piece is assigned by Meres One, curator of 5 Pointz and fellow street artist. The placement on the building is decided by the quality of the artist’s work and the length of time the piece stays is determined by how much time was put into it.
5 Pointz is able to exist with a blessing from the landlord but is funded strictly by Meres, his volunteer staff, the artists themselves and donations. Recently though, in an attempt to offset some of the costs, Meres has started teaching young people the tricks of trade in exchange for a couple hours of work – preparing walls and generally maintaining the property.
Their website has a nice description of what you might find on any given day at 5 Pointz:
Over the years a community of like minded artists has developed including dancers, film makers and fans of the culture. On any given day you can expect to see Emcees (rappers) and B-boys (break dancers) practicing in the loading dock area, photo shoots taking place, videos being shot, artists mingling and sharing thoughts, kids exchanging black books (hard cover sketchbooks) for each other to sign and for veteran artists to autograph along with beautiful aerosol art pieces being done by any number of people in various locations on the building.
Current TV also has a nice little feature on the building that aired a couple years back.