5 Pointz: An Introduction

I’ve been riding the 7 train since I was a little girl. I’ve sat, content, between grandparents; I’ve stood, I’ve swayed; I’ve looked out over a ripe, yet jagged borough and I’ve lost myself, as I am so prone. It wasn’t, however, until I was accepted to Queens College that I began, however tentatively, to understand the art of 5 Pointz.

Image (c) The Village Voice Blog: blogs.villagevoice.com.

Image (c) The Village Voice Blog: blogs.villagevoice.com.

5 Pointz is art in an urban place – it is an art of the everyday. Since 1994, artists of all stripes have worked in and on 5 Pointz, a sprawling outdoor art exhibition space. Over the years, it has become an artistic hub, an institution – a central, yet wonderfully strange component of Long Island City’s otherwise dour skyline. And indeed, out from a charred landscape it appears like a bruise, a defiant mark. Faces, mythical creatures, graffiti, poetry – all of this, and more, was always visible to me from my rocking vantage point. But I didn’t see it.

Or I saw it, but didn’t understand. To tell the truth, I did not consider myself an artist until about 2 years ago; I guess I am a late bloomer. And indeed, I did not lose myself in 5 Pointz until that day, last April, on which I looked, with new eyes, into that landscape.

I was a poet. I had been accepted. But for what, and why? What made me a poet? A painter? What made me an artist?

And 5 Pointz appeared. I stared; my eyes searched its eyes; I wanted to know the how more than the why.

People – artists, humans – had taken a blown-out shell of industry and made it into a temple. How? They had worked – they had climbed, hacked, painted, sprayed, dreamed.

And I realized that art is not a leisure activity – no, art must be seized. That was what I would do at Queens College – seize my art. I would work.

Art is not a leisure activity. Art has to be looked for, chased after; art is something we do together. Indeed, I have dedicated this blog to the work of art – the chasing, the looking, the seizing. I hope that you will join me as I explore art, thusly defined, at Queens College, in Queens, and beyond.

Yours,

Elena

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To learn more about 5 Pointz,visit the official website. And remember: 5 Pointz is just a 7-train ride away!

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