Saturday, July 6, 2013

Home Is Where The Fantasy Is! Lady Pink & Students From Frank Sinatra High School Decorate Astoria!

The title of this brilliant, detailed mural marks the latest piece of public art from legendary artists, Lady Pink and a group of talented art students from Frank Sinatra High School, in Astoria, NY.  The colorful, fairytale like collage is located steps from the Ditmars N,Q train stop on 23rd Ave & 33rd Street.  See below the very in depth coverage from an entire weekend of work, from start to progression to finish.  With such an elaborate project, I love to incorporate as many photos as possible showing the dedication as the weekend comes to a close.   Each day, new characters are added as the fantasy comes to life.  Watching Lady Pink in action (as the students learn from her years of painting expertise), in an "experience" in itself.    
First, some Lady Pink background; If you’ve seen the classic film Wild Style (1982), you’ll recognize Lady Pink as the female lead who ran with the boys as a graffiti artist in the early days of NYC art and hip hop culture. She started as a graffiti artist in high school at age 16 and later moved into the legal art world. She eventually went on to have her pieces shown in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Whitney Museum, and the Brooklyn Museum, among others worldwide. As an Astoria resident, she has worked on several public art projects with students in the neighborhood and recently completed a gorgeous mural at Welling Court, (Welling Court Mural Project), off 30th Avenue.

Onto the mural - the piece was complete over a sunny weekend a couple weeks ago with 10-15 mid-level high school students from the famed high school, one senior joined the group as did a college student attending the university of Iowa.  Each student designed their own piece of the puzzle while Lady Pink complied it together, making it cohesive and applying the finishing touches. The themes centers around the brick lady, a character who Pink has portrayed in past murals, after which the students add their approved design for a brilliant work of art for the community. This also helps the students receive a 60 hour community service credit, which is required by graduation. This particular project is meant to especially beautiful the city in which they reside and appreciate.

A grant for the mural is also provided by the Martin Wong Foundation of San Francisco. Wong, who passed away over a decade ago, was a well respected, prominent artist living in NYC and the west coast, he specialized in paintings, ceramics and graffiti. His 97- year old mother overseas the foundation and allocates a specific grant each year for the project.
Day one, the mural begins with Dr. Kahn and the students...
Progressing on day two...
To make the last day even more enjoyable for the students, I tipped off fellow artist Dave Smith, also from Astoria, who is quickly becoming well known for covering the area with free art, yes "free - you find it, you keep it," art. He stopped by with a bag full of colorful stencil paintings to give away. The students were thrilled and to some it was their first piece of art to collect. Throughout the school year, when students are not learning painting and mural techniques from Lady Pink, they paint canvases for Project Sunshine, a nonprofit that brings art to hospitals, a project dear to Pink's heart as they value the continued opportunity to giveback to the community.
Finishing up on day three;  Artist Dave Smith, (red),  brought free artwork to the students, Anti-Crime Director, Tony Meloni (purple.)
More finishing touches with stencils...
Finished mural close-ups...
Completed views from side to side....
Lady Pink and Jane - it's finished!

The murals don't stop here, two other large pieces can be seen on Ditmars Blvd., at the last stop on the N,Q train under the bridge. Last year the group painted a detailed Greek mythology theme and across the street another mural colorfully depicts the Native American culture. Next Lady Pink plans to continue the work with students from the high school and around the city, and her work with Project Sunshine.  For more information visit:,  &, or pick up almost any street art/graffiti book or publication to learn about Lady Pink.