Graffiti. I like it. I like it a lot. When the location for the White Box Challenge was locked in for episode two of HGTV Design Star, I was happier than a snippy Pomeranian during a FedEx delivery. Why? 5 Pointz, that’s why. Located in Long Island City, it’s often referred to as a New York “Graffiti Mecca” where spray paint artists from all over the world come to create urban works of art on the premises of a 200,000 sq. ft building.
Its conception was always for a good purpose; 5 Pointz was created as a formal place for aerosol artists to showcase their talents instead of vandalizing public spaces. As the official location for season six’s White Box Challenge, it was the perfect juxtaposition to the stark white drywall rectangles the designers would have to bring to life. In the show, this threw the contestants for a loop. Here, they show up at this gritty, colorful setting, only to learn this is, in fact, the dreaded White Box Challenge.
Nestled between industrial buildings and elevated train tracks, 5 Pointz could easily have been a producer’s worst nightmare. Why? Deliveries from trucks with loud beeps mixed with constant stops and starts from train cars which shake the buildings is insanely disruptive after the director yells, “quiet on the set!” Miraculously, these city sounds proved to be a non issue. (Guess who once shot an entire makeover in a neighborhood nestled between a field of cows and a busy international airport? Yep, me. But I tend not to go into detail about mistakes I made at age 28, okay?)
Shooting the exteriors was a camera man’s dream and a clearance producer’s nightmare. From random words and messages to iconic pop culture references, the entire building from the ground to the ceiling, all corners and doors, is one huge chunk of colorful eye candy which the camera loves. On the other hand, there are dozens of graffiti creations which may or may not have copyright issues. Thankfully, there is a producer 100% dedicated to artwork clearance, Kyle. And let me tell you something: running around Manhattan getting clearances for artwork when almost every square foot of the city is covered in art is NOT the easiest job in town.
While at 5 Pointz, I couldn’t help but notice the details that go into creating these works of aerosol art. Each artist organically incorporates the 3D elements of the building structure such as molding, doors, structural bolts, floors, soffets and electrical panels into the scope of their project. Try using painters tape for THAT. Ha!
If you love the look and graphic feel of graffiti and wanna incorporate it into your home, I recommend you check out the work of artist Greg Mike. The installation and graphic artist’s graffiti-esque aesthetic is available on canvas and also in the form of painted soda cans, paint cans and T-shirts.
So do you gravitate to the graffiti filled landscape of 5 Pointz or are you more at home in the stark white walls of the White Box Challenge.
Tell us in the comments below.