Street Art at the World Trade Center to brighten up the last construction area!22 January 2020
It may seem anachronistic to find out large and colorful Street Art at two steps of the World Trade Center. But it was not the idea of New-York and New Jersey authorities. In 2018 they asked Silverstein – owner of the WTC- to animate the last active construction area of the district. Over 21 500 Sqft of corrugated iron has been painted by selected artists. This project give life back and colours to this very special place.
Monumental frescoes in bright colors completely mask the area !
I accompany you to take a quick tour of this gigantic metal installation which hides with panache a work area and technical rooms which should previously have been unpleasant to see. My visit begins with the most successful wall; and this is by not a coincidence! As the American artist who painted it, Todd Gray says, he samples what great Pop Art’s artists like Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein have created before. Its walls is a huge patchwork of iconic images that are instantly recognizable.
In a completely different style; but still very colorful, this huge fresco by an artists duo from Brooklyn Boogierez composed of RiiisaBoogie and Rezones. This fresco pays homage to the childhood imagination and combines superheroes, video games, cyclops and floral motifs. I don’t know what it really looks like in pictures; but we really take full eyes! Geeks should love the two moron rabbits included in the fresco!
Even more infantile, almost naive; these scenes of lives painted by John Arthur Carr are only combining pastel colors. For him ; his wall represents Love, Peace and Unity. He made a voluntary choice of soft colors in order to contrast with the past of the place.
The fresco that caught my attention; thanks to its vibrant color spiral and its halo of interside light is the one done by Ben Angotti. It is representing the model Emoni Baraka with an incredible background. I don’t know if it’s the giant Oculus skeleton in the background; but the work appears to be mystical in this particular place!
Going around this corrugated iron building; I noticed that many young talents had left their signature there; perhaps a deliberate choice of Doug Smith, commissioned by Silverstein to carry out this artistic project. It is also a way of looking to the future. Also it was my surprise to discover, finally, the work of a New York Street Art’s pioneer of. Hektad! From the age of 12 in 1982, this pioneer, a native of the Bronx, used the bomb on all the walls of the city. After a break in his career he came back in force in 2013 and continues to distill colors and hearts in New York City! So finding his palette of colors at the World Trade Center was a real pleasure for me!
As you can see in this last photo, Street Art at the World Trade Center is not limited to the corrugated iron building!
Sidewalks, concrete studs,… are also covered with Street Art at the World Trade Center!
As you can imagine; this whole area is under high protection! It is therefore completely surrounded by these famous concrete studs in order to avoid any attack by car! The artists who were not included in the project of the monumental frescoes therefore came to affix their works to these horrible studs.
Among the artists, we can find out the positive messages from Ajlavilla, a Filipino who now lives in Queens. His messages are aimed at young generations and children and invite them to pursue their dreams without ever giving up. He covered a large part of the studs with his colorful messages: “Dream big” “Make Art!” or “Never give up”. Messages that at the World Trade Center have a very special resonance.
More floral in this ultra-modern concrete universe; the Sokoki Studios composed by Sébastian Mitre and Maria Chinon dressed the concrete tubs. Multitudes of colorful flowers accompany you all around the building and also decorate some of the murals. The atmosphere would almost become “Peace & Love”!
I will not list in the article all the concrete blocks of the World Trade Center; because you can of course see all my photos on Instagram 😉
What thinking about so many colors around the World Trade Center?
I will not hide from you that the first time I returned to the World Trade Center after September 11; I found the shopping center in this incredible Oculus monument, quite shocking. At the time there was no Street Art and the Memorial being extremely refined and powerful; the atmosphere was freezing blood. No, the arrival of Street Art has not revolutionized the place, absolutely not. The memorial with its gaping hole is still just as oppressive; but I admit that after meditation a little color and life do a lot of good. It seems that New Yorkers also appreciate that life has resumed its course without forgetting the victims and their families. All the Street Artists interviewed during the project also expressed the honor that had been done to them and the very troubled feelings that had invaded them during their productions.
My discovery of Street Art at the World Trade Center ends, but if you want to continue walking around New York, you can find Hektad and Ben Angotti in my article on Manhattan, or go for a walk in Queens to discover the Wellington Court Mural Project or discover the great classic of Street Art lovers: The Bushwick Collective in Brooklyn.
If you enjoyed this little visit, leave me a little comment or share as you wish. It’s always a pleasure!
See you soon for new Street Art’s adventures!