Yesterday, I railed against the scores of graffiti and street artists who went to Art Basel and didn’t create a single tribute to any of the victims of police brutality despite all the protests — or, for that matter, do anything controversial. (Sorry fake dick guy, you don’t count.) Alas, I was wrong. There were at least two murals — TWO — painted in Wynwood that offered some social commentary.
Graffiti writer DISTORT and crew — TF Dutchman, NTEL, and Gabe Tiberinio — painted a wall dedicated to Mike Brown, Eric Garner, Israel Hernandez aka REEFA, and others who have been killed by police or vigilantes. DISTORT, who is from New Jersey, explains why they decided to alter their original plans:
We were going to do graffiti pieces but it felt trivial. I have had this subject on the mind lately and when it was suggested by a stranger on social media, and many people agreed before I could even respond, it became clear that we should paint this. As an artist we end up having to hold back on a lot of public or commissioned projects and then you sort of sink into mildness being the default. We need reminders about the more important things
New York City graffiti writer turned fine artist, Greg Lamarche aka SP One, said he changed up his plans after hearing the news about Eric Garner. He wrote on Instagram:
The day before I was supposed to paint a mural with QUEEN ANDREA for REVOLT TV in Miami the verdict came down in the Eric Garner case. So I was compelled to scrap my original idea and incorporate his name instead.
And, while he didn’t do something police-related, Plasma Slugs (interviewed here), did feed homeless people, which is a lot more noble than the majority of humdrum walls.
(Photos: DISTORT and Greg Lamarche)