5Pointz was the voice of a community. The 5Pointz artists, aerosol or graffiti, legal or illegal, represent the collaboration of disparate voices coming together in harmony. 5Pointz Aerosol Art Center was an outdoor art exhibit space in Long Island City, New York, considered to be the world’s premiere “graffiti Mecca,” where aerosol artists from around the globe painted colorful pieces on the walls of a 200,000-square-foot factory building.
In late November 2013 the owners of the building whitewashed the facade and it’s legacy, erasing over a decade of graffiti and street art. Our Assistant Program Director David King reflects on riding the 7 train passed one of his “homes away from home”:
I was a Brooklyn kid heading to family in a humble borough
A Flatbush kid unaccustomed to daylight and the subway
It didn’t make sense
Riding on a redbird, I broke free from the cauldron
Struck dumbfounded by colors gratuitous in nature,
Images my mother would never let me see
Film or screen.
I bore witness to perspective and culture
Tagged freely on an abandoned looking thing
My source of comfort
Both gritty and ugly, pretty in some parts
I couldn’t look away
Not even if you dared
Thank God no one ever did.
It was 5 Pointz and Shea Stadium
My transient homes away from home
My introduction to an understanding
That things came before me
What they meant
How it was all relevant
Why it mattered
Only means more now
Because another part is clipped
But still painful as a fading memory
5 Pointz doesn’t die in the minds of those it fed
Just keep watch for the young ones
Malnourished in a sea of glass.