Sometimes, NYC subways travel above ground and when this happens, the darkness of tunnels is replaced by stretched out buildings, rooftops and the carefully sprayed graffiti tags dying buildings from brick to illumination.
As I travel from Brooklyn to Manhattan to Long Island City, my hazel takes in one of my favorite sites: the protected art of graffiti masters called 5 Pointz. Colors climbing into their brightest hues. The aliases of brilliant spray painters. Rappers immortalized. Women wearing…their nude or flaunted curvature. Poetry. Lyrics. This is art in its finest moments because it is alive on these buildings.
Graffiti is controversial, but it is where Jean-Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring began. Find them now at MOMA or fancy gallery in Chelsea.
It spans continents and socio-economic classes, and graffiti’s history is just as exquisite as its imagery: born in prehistoric cave paintings. Some languages even grew inside the womb of graffiti. Through this art, we have knowledge of other cultures and traditions. It’s how we have documented war and memorials.
So, when I am trapped inside cylindrical transporter called subway train and I am searching for words to suck on because I just finished reading another book and I have no snacks left in my backpack, I look up for a moment and breathe in the fumes of this art.
This is when the words exhale.