Dumbo Ė the explosion of ingenious energy
Suddenly, we find ourselves stuck in a traffic jam on Brooklyn-Queens Expressway. Though only a couple miles away from the wall in Dumbo, the trip seems to take eternity. Wednesday afternoon rush hour is getting onto our nerves, but everyone is cool. Finally, we find the wall and we all love it. Its location under the Manhattan Bridge and huge size make it perfect for Concrete Alchemy.
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This wall was a generous gift from Critical Massive. They use the wall for commercial advertisements. The previous mural was created as a project paid for by a cell phone company and featured pieces by Saber, Retna, Revok and Mac.
The street is quiet on Wednesday evening. We are not expecting to stay here for too long. Our plan is to get the wall ready and sketch it out for tomorrow. When we are asked to keep the sidewalk neat and clean, we have to improvise and find materials to cover it so we donít drip paint. We collect few cardboard boxes and use them for the purpose. Our good intention turns into a problem when we leave it behind overnight. Dumbo has become one of the places where businesses and landlords have to keep their property neat and sidewalks clean.
It is good opportunity to sit down and brainstorm while the paint is drying. Laughing faces turn serious and everyone gets entangled in their net of ideas and visions. It takes less than half an hour and a few hot conversations and the layout is done. Of course itís done in absence of those who either stayed in the warehouse or didnít join the tour yet. After a few hours we are leaving, entering the traffic outside of New York City. At this time we do not realize that we will be driving this route many times in upcoming days.
Thursday morning is intense. One can feel everyoneís excitement in air. After the colors are selected and truck loaded with paint, ladders and refreshments, we all are heading to Brooklyn. The trip from the warehouse takes about 50 minutes. Everyone is ready at the wall in early morning. Three people are missing. Mike Ciccotello and Cern got flu and are too exhausted to participate. Chor Boogie is still painting in China. He is joining us on Saturday.
Mr. Maxx Moses is looking at the wall for the first time since he worked in the warehouse last night and was not here when the wall was sketched out. Mild suggestions for changes quickly turn into heated debate about the wall. The passion separates our work from the rest of the walls out there. The process is more important than the final painting. If one cares so much for his art it is impossible to go wrong. Though great friends, some of the artists do not back off when talking about their work. They have vision and they need to keep it that way. Deep emotions are part of every great piece.
In a few minutes we are literally taking over the street and the intersection. Itís not us standing around or our stuff in everyoneís way. Itís our audience that wonít leave us alone for the entire time we are painting the wall. Every single person walking down the street is stopping by and talking to us. Beautiful ladies, parents with their kids, elderly couplesÖ They all love seeing this kind of work. The wall is quickly becoming so rich and so intense that people are literally reading it as a book. From left to right, from top to bottom, they process every image, every line and color.
A young gentleman walks up to us and starts telling us that the wall is nothing. We have to have political content. We have to say something explicit with the mural. We feel bad for him. Perhaps if he stepped over his own ideas about the world and learned how to see things he could read the mural too. A dad with his kids stops by and they spend a long time watching the artists work, pointing at various images on the wall. The little kids starring at it with their jaws dropped. There is a lot of positive young lively energy around the place the entire time.
The painting is over at around 2am. The wall is not finished. It is supposed to rain on Friday, so the plans are postponed for Saturday. We will be back and finalize the piece. Everyone is tired by this time and falls asleep the second they sit down in a car. We painted all day long with just a short break for lunch. The haunted warehouse suddenly becomes the main focus of the conversations. When we arrive at night, some of us spot ghosts in various places around the building and hear spooky conversations in empty halls. We are tired and we are having fun messing with each otherís heads.
Friday morning is cloudy and grey. Itís hard to get up early after last night. Slowly everyone gets into their working mood after quick breakfast of cereal and coffee. The pieces for the show tonight have to be finished by noon. At 2pm Leon Rainbow, Vyal and Peter have their truck loaded with everyoneís pieces and are ready to go get the party place ready. It is raining and cold. By 8pm the streets of Lower East Side are deserted. Suddenly TenEleven Lounge fills up with people and the cloudy cold day turns into energetic party with great music, awesome art and wonderful crowd that doesnít leave until morning.
The next day the sun is back and we are back at the wall in Dumbo. The most of us has to just touch up and finish up what they couldnít at night. However, there are still two spots kept empty. Chor is flying in today from China. He is taking a cab and he gets accidentally dropped off to Manhattan. Finally he makes it to the wall by 4pm. He just drops his luggage, puts his respirator on and is ready to paint. No sleep, no relax for us. We work hard and we party hard. Cern also shows up in the afternoon. Despite the fever he delivers. By Saturday midnight the wall is finished.
When something starts up with a passionate exchange, one can always expect a great result. We all greatly cared about this wall and we couldnít be happier with it. It is a gift to Dumbo and all good folks living there and walking by every day. Their city maze is better place now. The dirt in the cracks between the coble stone doesnít bother that much anymore when there is the colorful masterpiece of thousand stories to stare at.