Renowned street artist Shepard Fairey's new East Village mural aims to enliven and inspire the neighborhood's younger set.
The artist best known for the Obama "Hope" poster has taken to the side of the former Schnitz restaurant at First Avenue and East 11th Street to render an old image of his 3-year-old daughter — who is now 11 — in bold, bright strokes of red and yellow.
The founder of the street art initiative partnering with Fairey on the project said the goal of the undertaking is to supply some brightness and positivity for the locals wandering below — especially the children coming and going from neighboring elementary school P.S. 19.
"The title of the piece is 'Rise Above,' and its meant to be an uplifting image, a positive image to make people smile or to make New Yorkers look up," said Wayne Rada of the Little Italy Street Art (L.I.S.A.) Project.
"Little kids, middle school and younger, kind of see themselves in the mural, which is awesome."
The project was slightly stalled due to Friday's rainy weather and some health issues — Fairey suffers from diabetes, and was absent on Friday to rest up while his assistants continued work on the mural — but the goal was to be done by the end of the day, said Rada.
This isn't the first time Fairey, a former East Village resident, has teamed up with the L.I.S.A. Project, which has brought dozens of works of art to walls, doors, and rolling gates throughout Lower Manhattan since Rada founded the project two years ago with Rey Rosa.
Fairey in 2014 worked with the project to bring an equally positive mural to the side of 161 Bowery in the Lower East Side.
In years prior, Fairey created a massive mural on Houston Street that became increasingly overrun by graffiti from vandals.
But Rada said he isn't worried about any potential marring of the artwork — in fact, if graffiti pops up on the piece, the community-oriented art project just might leave it be.
"Today's graffiti kid is tomorrow's artist," said Rada. "If someone puts a tag on it, we'll fix it. But if someone puts a cool tag on it, we'll keep it."