It’s been a couple of weeks since the notorious white-washing of the 5pointz building took place. Since then I’ve had some time to contemplate and think about what this means to photographers and filmmakers in NYC. Though I haven’t been to 5pointz myself since I heard the news, many street artists and 5pointz supporters have flocked to remember and pay their respects. Many outraged but all definitely saddened by the news. The neighborhood isn’t the same, that’s for sure. The owners plan to demolish the site to make way for luxury apartment buildings.
So what does this mean for those of us who enjoyed the graffiti haven? It’s a known fact that many came to 5pointz to photograph the spray-painted artwork on its walls and use it as a backdrop for countless independently made music videos and films. And though the owners promise that the new building(s) will have a dedicated wall for artists there is no doubt that the tradition at 5pointz is tainted. Or has it?
In my opinion there are two ways of looking at the new picture this all has painted. One is to continue our outrage and voice our opposition to the greed that has led to the construction and now destruction of the 5pointz building. Another is to move forward and look for new backdrops to photograph and shoot. One must realize that now that 5pointz is gone these artists will (hopefully) return to their roots and take their craft elsewhere. Or perhaps more people like Josh Bowen, owner of John Brown’s Smokehouse, will open their doors and walls to bridge the gap that was left behind by the Wolkoff’s decision to take 5pointz down. And who knows, maybe other cities will follow suit and create new and amazing locations for artists to erect spray-painted murals the likes of ArtBattles who have a gorgeous exhibition adjacent to Bryant Park. Perhaps more artists groups will form to create amazing projects like this one from SOFLES.
What to you think will happen to this long underrated medium? Do you see the destruction of 5pointz as the end of an era or the dawn of a new one?
Have you ever photographed or shot a video at 5 pointz? Share your comments, memories and/or links of 5pointz with our readers in the comments section below.