Graffiti Artists Protest 5 Pointz Closure by Painting Plastic Wrap Walls
WILLIAMSBURG — Graffiti artists who say they have no legal space left to work after 5 Pointz closed are taking their message to temporary walls made of plastic wrap.
Two advertising students are inviting street artists to spray-paint pop-up "walls" made of Saran wrap at locations across Brooklyn as part of an initiative called Save The Walls, designed to draw attention to their plight after losing 5 Pointz last fall.
“There’s just no safe place to put street art,” said Jeff Tepper, 31, who launched the project with Phil Pagliaro in Williamsburg on Wednesday.
“This is to show people that there aren’t enough legal walls for graffiti artists to use. We want to bring 5 Pointz back, and if we play any part in that, I’ll die a happy man.”
Tepper and Pagliaro, who are in their first year at Miami Ad School in DUMBO, started by stretching plastic wrap between two lamp posts at Bedford Avenue and North Eighth Street Wednesday afternoon to create a transparent wall.
As soon as they were done, a 21-year-old Bed-Stuy graffiti artist who goes by Fridge One quickly scrawled the "Save The Walls" message in black and yellow spray paint. Fridge One then bolted, fearful of getting caught.
“Graffiti is something you usually do at nighttime,” said Fridge One, who declined to give his real name. “I’m not used to doing it with a bunch of people watching. It makes me feel pretty uncomfortable.”
The group reconvened at Bedford Avenue and North Seventh Street and repeated the art project, drawing a crowd of passersby who stopped to take pictures and ask questions.
“That was amazing,” said 26-year-old Kew Gardens resident Bobby Amodia. “It’s cool because even though that’s not going to stay up as long as if he had drawn it on a wall, there’s a message behind it.
"The people who just go bombing walls with random stuff are ruining it for the real artists who are really looking for legal walls to do their work," Amodia added.
Tepper and Pagliaro plan to continue recruiting graffiti artists to participate in their project and do more pop-up plastic wrap walls across Brooklyn over the next several weeks, or possibly longer.
They’re hoping to hit some locations in Manhattan too, but they're worried they will run a higher risk of getting caught there.
“It’s such a major crime in New York,” said 28-year-old Pagliaro, who lives in The Bronx. “It’s much easier to get away with what we just did in Brooklyn.”