When I was out tagging in ATL, I met this kid from NY, who in the course of teaching me more about he history of graffiti, told me about this place. A place where the Kings and Legends of graffiti met. He said if you ride the7 train from Queens you could see them all, and it was awe inspiring of the amount of talent could be in one place. That place was 5 Pointz Institute of Higher Burnin’ and Aerosol Art Center in Long Island City, New York. On the early morning November 19th the owners of the building, like thieves in the night, made it vanish. All the walls painted over white, all the artwork destroyed, all the colors gone. The building itself will be demolished soon, and replaced with high-end condos.
Although I have seen it in pictures, 5 Pointz seemed like a place I had to see for myself. A place where an Artist with enough skills and street cred can go and put his artwork up with some of the best to ever do it. 5 Pointz was a virtual Hall of Fame for graffiti writers, and a museum of history, for those who appreciated the art. Writers, artist and ordinary people from all over the world flocked to see this landmark and admire the talent and creativity.
Next week I will be traveling to New York, the birthplace of graffiti and Hip-Hop for the first time. With the thought that I would have had a chance to see 5 Pointz before it was torn down, so I can see the artwork up close, and appreciate it first hand. This makes the news of the buffing of the building a particular stinging blow. But, I understand this was business decision made by businessmen, who for along time were taking a loss on property that had monetary value because they did respect the art.
I know there have been a lot of emotional responses to the loss of 5 Pointz, but I am taking this as a lesson, and that lesson is to experience and appreciate the beautiful things you see everyday because they might not be there tomorrow. That statement holds true for how I also feel about Street Art. Street Art has a short shelf life and needs to be appreciated in the moment, because there is a good chance it won’t be there tomorrow. The loss of 5 Pointz is a big blow, however, the legend of the 5 Pointz Institute of Higher Burnin’ and Aerosol Art Center will live on. The purpose of showing the beauty of the graffiti and recognizing the talents of graffiti and street artists will continue. And of course, the Art of Graffiti will never, ever be stopped. So, I rest easy knowing that one day, 5 Pointz will rise again and hopefully I can do something to help make that happen. RIP 5 Pointz, Long Live the King.