“I felt always like I was part of a larger thing, that would encompass a lot of people. And all of those energies of all of these individuals and all of their unique talents and unique contacts is what came together to make that thing happen.”
When Joe Ficalora (pictured left) brought me to the roof adjacent to Alicé Pasquini’s wall he said, “only family comes up here.” The deep personal connection I felt looking over a year’s worth of accomplishments with Joe and Alicé is the feeling that both individuals are trying to instill upon the community surrounding this intersection. A close Italian family who emigrated to Brooklyn only generations ago, the Ficaloras welcome any person to the neighborhood who shares their passion for beautification, like Joe’s grandmother who is always quick with coffee and snacks on cold days.
Although the nexus of this project was marked with personal tragedy, these losses became the impetus for change. Starting during Bushwick Open Studios last year, the area quickly became the Brooklyn hub for visiting muralists, which gave Yok and Sheryo some of their first walls as well as other notable visiting artists, such as Nychos and most recently Alicé Pasquini.
For her first visit and wall in the United States, the artist worked through the wind, which at one point toppled her ladder, to complete a deeply personal mural for the area. The wall that the Italian artist was given previously belonged to Jim Avignon, the yellows of which were incorporated into the space’s latest iteration. The figures in her piece, titled “As Much As You Can,” bustle around the streets of Alicé’s imagined vision of New York City. Having never previously visited the city, the artist imposed the dreams and ideologies of her imagined characters, who represent the beliefs of the many people who come to this city for a new life. Being aware the Ficalora’s roots in her native Italy, the artist painted this piece as a tribute to not only all immigrants, but specifically for his family.
From the sense of family I felt when standing on that roof to the kindness that the Ficaloras extend to any person who finds their way to the neighborhood from the Jefferson train stop, Alicé has distilled this sense of belonging into her mural. By reflecting the vibrancy and closeness that occurs in the small neighborhoods within New York City, one would think she had lived here her whole life, rather than a first visit.
Photos by Rhiannon Platt