From a writer merely observing, to being internationally observed. At least that’s how I see it. Back in 2005 I took what’s known as the’ )Hush tours of New York.’ Conducted by the Hip Hop greats of that era. This for me was the pinnacle of my passion.The actual facts, straight out the horse’s mouth so to speak, getting that up and close feeling of what I had previously only read about or listened to, visiting the origins of street art and graffiti walls. Everything I experienced there felt right. Something so alien to my Wolverhampton West Mid’s up bringing. far from where I lived and was bought up, it felt like I’d been there before in a past life. During the experience I rocked up at 1520 Sedgewick avenue, 106 and park, The graffiti wall mural Hall Of Fame, 5pointz, Rucker park you name the spot I was there. I got stuck in where ever possible managing to win a 3-point shootout on Rucker, to rapping on the tour bus to compete for cd’s and memorabilia (I won by the way) and I still got the tee to prove it!The whole Hip Hop bug was within. The music, the breakin, street art/graffiti and being a master of ceremonies. With that on my back, soul food in my stomach I returned to the UK with more determination and momentum than I thought was possible. So moving forwards to 2010, and a chance meeting with who was to become known as the Muse, Amanda an ex fashion stylist who had blown in with the North wind all the way from her adopted home Miami to return to her homeland of Wolverhampton, I was returned to New York through instigation, professional passion and invite to paint at 5pointz and link up with the legendary Meres One. This was something I couldn’t pass up. So plane ticket thrust in my hand along with a camera man I was so to speak on my way. So I make it back to New York and the hotel I rock up to is rite in the centre of queens opposite what I was told were mafia strip clubs now derelict. The service was average and room lesser so but the excitement of the scenario was enough to keep me hyped. I hit the sack and got myself ready for the next day. I get up and roll out ready to get going and search for a place to go get paint. A couple of subways across town and I’m up past china town searching for a scrap yard which is one of two places to go for a writer/street artist in New York. Load up with paint and then back to Queens. I pull up at the station which If you have been privileged enough to ride the 7 line past 5points and pull in you know where you are immediately. Met with the vision of 10+ stories high and a block wide of pure pieces. A writers dream. Bouncing off the subway I head on into the 5 pointz courtyard and seek out Meresone. After a chat with Meres and a few other writers of the time, we stroll around the side of this vast complex and I get offered the actual whole side of a wall. At first my ego was like the side street art wall, nuh uh…but then this was like test one of the matrix that is the writer’s unwritten hierarchy. So I said ” how much of the wall?” They said ” how much do you want.. ” I said “all of it”. By midnight I had it all covered. Days 2 saw me detailing it. This huge pirate ship with underwater reflective letters, a dot fill 3d that I created and haven’t seen anyone do since and some real wood effect going on. In this time frame I got serenaded by some 80’s rap groups singing for tourists and that fate bound bus tour that I had taken a few years back previously I had been part of were now snapping me! I thought my luck was up when a cop who not only looked like, Alan from the Hangover but so I was told later the actual self-proclaimed uncle of Zach Galifianakis from The Hangover! He stated that I couldn’t drink in the street but he was off duty so it was a warning ! I had a 40oz Corona in my hand like the one in Boyz in the Hood film which I thought was awesome as I had never seen one in the UK and told him so, I think being British helped me here but my luck at this point had definitely seemed to have changed.
On top of this I met a writer from china and some guys from Germany who let me have some extra paint as their trip was over. This New York bomber was into heavy duty hassling for paint whilst I was trying to create my pieces and eventually got his ass kicked by the guys all dressed in red (gang culture reference in case you weren’t following) unconventionally keeping things in good order. I should add we exchanged cultural ideas of rolling the proverbial peace pipe, respecting my Wolverhampton skill with a rolled card board filter. Anyways, in addition to that the bakery that was a part of the complex, dished out masses of waste per day into that street. So food was there and no problem for me or the bemused homeless guy who waited there every day for the best pick. So day two over with and into the evening the onsite red security were playing cards in the courtyard, and me and a German writer Dingo were having a speed painting street art contest under cover. Looking back, maybe my British enthusiasm, at that particular time was infectious to the New Yorkers as I was invited to paint with Meres and Dingo what was probably the most famous wall on the roof top overlooking the New York skyline, Cope Two (old school king of New york writer ) did his thing in this space, rocking out on the Kings Destroy video. I was in writer’s Heaven, painting the best piece of Heaven in this amazing city … New York.
Following this I painted a side wall just under the skyline. Then another 2 pieces on the opposite side of the road on the other reserved wall. I’d gone from side street art to side lining everyone else’s spot. : )
So you may wonder where are all of these documented images of this historical trip ? An experience that as strengthened my journey along the way, unfortunately the victim ?? of the Judas syndrome that afflicts the minority of low life that parasite their way into our lives at the most vulnerable of times. Two uni ‘ friends’ that documented my trip both verbally and visually tried to destroy what was a monumental moment in time, paying friends is never a good idea is it ? but being stripped of one’s personal passions is another, The film of the whole experience and any other historical footage that was so needed at the time for european and British writers, documenting for the preservation and education of this incredible art form… never got transferred into my hands, to this day I will never understand that type of alien mentality, also to top it all they robbed me of my personal and at the time ‘student’ belongings ! That being said, God is good, and a year and a half on Meres made a trip to the UK luckily we connected and we exchanged a few of the images whilst having the immense pleasure of piecing together over here. For that I am ever grateful to this amazing writer Meresone. Unfortunately, the spot has now, after so many years, thanks to bad timing of Mr Robin G, Banksy participating over there whilst there was a campaign to save 5pointz legacy. 5pointz is no more … but I’m sure my story is only just one of many of the legendary spot that was. Love, peace and loyalty to all. Sketch86
IN MEMORY OF 5POINTZ
“Never surrender, it’s all about the faith you got: don’t ever stop, just push it ’till you hit the top and if you drop, at least you know you gave your all to be true to you, that way you can never fall”
– Tupac Shakur
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