Over the weekend I got lost in Long Island City’s spray-painted alt-universe, 5Pointz. The exhibit space is a legitimate jaw-dropper, showcasing graffiti marvels from artists all around the world.
The heartbreaking story most visitors solemnly whisper to each other from within the brick walls is that the abandoned factory building will be torn down soon and turned into condos. Capitalism at its finest, guys.
But there might be an equally heartbreaking question here: Where are all the lady graffiti artists?
The installations change frequently and it’s hard to tell who authored certain murals. I was so impressed with what I saw that I scrambled home to click through the 5Pointz site. Disturbingly, the first seven featured artist interviews are all with dudes. Google didn’t help clear things up much—I had a tough time finding the chicks behind the spray cans.
Graffiti has been long prevailed by guys in hoodies, but there’s plenty of women who have proven they can play in this man’s world. Lady Pink started tagging before it was cool, and Margaret Kilgallen left lovable folk-art inspired cartoons and drawings all over New York City trash cans, trains and walls in the ‘90s. Swoon is responsible for some of the most intricate and genuinely moving murals I’ve ever seen in my life.
We’ll all be shattered when the walls come down at 5Pointz—but it’ll be even sadder if not enough females got to contribute to the tremendous effort. We’re not saying there haven’t been any—in fact, Luna Luna wants your help. Send us names of some paint-wielding women who have contributed to the effort in the comment box, and we’ll happily profile them.
While I couldn’t find any women from this August’s crop of murals, I did find a few who have brought their art to the space in the past. Here’s to their intricate, baffling and beautiful work:
Alice Mizrachi: She lives, teaches and works to empower girls in New York. Mizrachi’s murals are earthy, drenched in color and depict women as gorgeous deity-like beings—a rich style that is a little reminiscent of Gauguin’s primitive oils bursting with vibrancy. Her piece for 5Pointz emoted a peaceful utopia of welcoming women you’d want to cross paths with in the city.
Toofly: This girl’s a straight-up legend. A co-founder of a nonprofit called Younity (run with Alice Mizrachi), the Queens artist draws directly from her NYC roots and Ecuadorian background for pieces entrenched in culture. They’re equal parts sassy and tough-as-fucking-nails. She sprayed at 5Pointz with Meres, one of the founders of the space, in a piece that combined old-school tags with the image of her “love warrior”—a mesmerizing blue-haired siren.
Shiro: A Japanese powerhouse inspired by Manga and hip hop, Shiro has been all over the 5 Pointz walls since 2012 (thank god). Her work is bright, cutesy and sexy—she paints bosomy, full-lipped chicks surrounded in swirls of pink hearts. But it isn’t overboard kitsch; the aesthetic value is undeniable and it works in a way where you recognize the talent immediately—and take it very seriously.
Julyssa Lopez is a writer who lives in D.C. Her first loves are long books and even longer pieces of writing, but she also can’t resist dreamy ambient music, tiny art galleries, or ice cold lemonade. She comes from a loud Nicaraguan family and constantly has that dream where your teeth fall out.
<—This is her at 5Pointz.