Tuesday, July 14, 2009

July 2009: Os Gêmeos in NYC

This weekend was completely surreal. After Will tipped me off to Os Gêmeos painting on E. Houston and Bowery, I literally ran down there to check it out. When I arrived, I was speechless (probably due to oxygen debt). In front of me, Otavio, Gustavo, and the rest of their crew shook cans of MTN 94 and picked out stencils. As I stared there gaping, I mustered the courage to ask Otavio if they'd be there the next day. He said yes.
On Friday, I spent a good two hours sitting on the curb watching them paint. The best part was being able to sit and chat with passersby. From little kids to grandparents, everyone thought that the mural was beautiful. Some were a bit concerned that the 'Keith Haring' mural was being destroyed, but I explained that it was actually a reproduction. Once their fears were assuaged, they were pleased with the replacement.
I also met some serious street art heads. I spoke with Mike, who told me about a school in SoHo that I need to photograph. He's been all over NYC photographing graffiti. Then there was Bob, an artist who loved Os Gêmeos and The Five Obstructions. People who knew the twins were thrilled. In between spraying and assessing the mural, they signed autographs and took photos with fans. A group of women invited them over to their apartment for dinner. ONE MORE.
Some heavy-hitters showed up, too. Jeffrey Deicht, the owner of Deicht Galleries, stopped by to say hi. He did the Haring reproduction and commissioned Os Gêmeos for this new project. In addition to the wall, he brought by a truck and had them tag it up. Some of their friends tried hanging off the back of the truck to tag the side facing traffic. Later on, legendary graffiti photographer Martha Cooper showed up to snag some shots. By this point, I was completely starstruck and incapable of speaking.
Today, I stopped by just to say hi. Yesterday, they tagged up the Bronx. Otavio and I had a chat. Apparently, they're enjoying their time in NYC (whenever they get a free minute). Gustavo offered me a water before I had to leave. Each time I visit, I see a new little facet that impresses me. From the patterns on the jackets and pants to the wisps of hair on the woman's head, their attention to detail is impeccable. Once they complete the mural, I'll post a full-length shot.
Watching the twins paint had such a calming effect on me. While I spent two hours sitting on a hot sidewalk, it didn't feel like that long at all. As other people obliviously passed by, I wanted to explain what was going on. I felt like I was in on a big secret. On the postcard I wrote to them, I said, "Even when you leave, your mural will remain. It will feel like you're still here." I'll miss them when they leave, but I'm beyond pleased that I spent a little time with them.

No comments:

Post a Comment