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Staten Island Artist Creates Cutout of the Borough From Sandy Steel

By Nicholas Rizzi | February 5, 2014 10:01am
 Graffiti artist Kevin Mahoney created "Staten Island Steel" using materials damaged in Hurricane Sandy.
Staten Island Steel
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STAPLETON — A Staten Island artist has found a new life for steel damaged by Hurricane Sandy.

Then storm water flooded into MakerSpace, a community work shop, making sheets of steel worhtless, but graffiti artist Kevin Mahoney, 34, found a new use for them.

He decided to use the ruined metal, hand-cutting it in to outlines of his borough, attach them to a shadowbox and selling them online. Half of the proceeds go back to the space.

"Pretty much on the spot I got the idea to cut out the outlines of Staten Island and mount them in a shadow box," Mahoney said.

"[It] takes what was once worthless materials before and makes it valuable and representative of this kind of shared experience."

Mahoney, a founding member of graffiti group and website Robots Will Kill, put up a post on his blog selling the pieces for $65.

So far, Mahoney said the response has been great and the pieces have been selling — some destined to hang on walls as far away as Chicago and Germany.

"These kind of displaced Staten Islanders may be a little homesick and want a piece of it on their wall," he said.

The Front Street MakerSpace, a nonprofit community workshop that gives instruction on various crafts, was formerly the metalworking shop of co-founder Scott Van Campen.

To make the 5-by-7-inch metal cutout of the forgotten borough, Mahoney puts outlines on a long sheet of steel and hand-carves them with a plasma-cutter.

"It's really intense because it's cutting with almost like the heat of the sun, cutting it out by hand," he said. "They're all incredibly different."

Each piece is unique, with many showing rust and other damage caused by the storm.

"It's beautiful devastation," Mahoney said.

So far, Mahoney has made 20 of the pieces.

"I plan on making a lot more," he said. "We have a lot more damaged steel."

For Mahoney, who grew up in Great Kills, his art serves as a reminder off what many residents faced in the storm, and how they came together to help each other.

"We got hit pretty hard, I had a cousin who lost their whole first floor, friends who lost everything," he said.

"It's a reminder of an unpleasant event but something where we all helped each other and rebuilt."