- Street artists found new canvases across New York City during the coronavirus lockdown.
- When restaurants, stores, and museums boarded up their windows, people filled the plywood with words, pictures, and scribbles.
- Some pieces reflect emotionally charged moments during the pandemic and the Black Lives Matter movement.
- These photos show what it’s like to walk through the streets of New York City right now, full of murals and messages.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Many businesses boarded up their windows when they closed for the lockdown, Ben Yakas wrote for the Gothamist.
Some looting broke out in May and June amid Black Lives Matter protests in response to the killing of George Floyd in police custody. To protect their stores, more businesses boarded up their windows. It’s unclear if there is any connection between the vandalism and the protests.
Source: Reuters, Business Insider
Defined by the NYPD as marking up property with “intent to damage,” graffiti is illegal.
Source: NYPD, The New York Times
A street artist named EASY who painted in the 1980s told The Times that today, it feels safer. Back then, people thought graffiti writers in certain neighborhoods were painting secret messages about endangering others, he said.
Source: The New York Times
Wearing a mask is normal during the pandemic. This makes it easier for street artists to hide their identity around any potential surveillance cameras, NYT reporter David Gonzalez wrote.
Source: The New York Times
The NYPD told CNBC that fewer people are complaining about graffiti this year than they were in 2019. Graffiti complaints in 2020 were down 11% as of May 10.
Some artists in the Bowery neighborhood told Reuters that they asked businesses for permission to paint on their boards.
A former graffiti artist, Eric Felisbret, told CNBC the art reminds him of the murals that followed September 11, 2001 — intending to spread “harmony instead of discord.”
Felisbret said that New York’s mostly empty streets were an ideal environment for street artists because they can paint without being seen by many.
Arts & Culture
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