After probably a year of people mistakenly thinking that this piece was organized through The L.I.S.A. Project NYC and participating with in a collaborative wall for us late last year, we’ve finally had the chance to get Buff Monster a solo wall with The L.I.S.A. Project NYC. Late last month, he painted this piece at the corner of Mulberry and Broome streets. As I’ve said before, one of the things I love to do with our murals in Little Italy is find artists whose work supports the heritage of Little Italy and the businesses there today, but still looks like something you wouldn’t expect to see. I think Buff Monster’s mural fits that. It’s definitely unexpected and bold, but it also features some Neapolitan ice cream and there’s probably 3-4 local spots within sight of the mural to get some gelato.
After Buff Monster finished painting, I was speaking a bit with with about this piece and his work in general. We got to talking about cities, and I really love a point he made about putting up street art, particularly his brand of brightly colored characters. Frankly, I can get a bit tired of the many street artists out there painting and wheatpasting smiling cartoon-ish figures, but Buff Monster reminded me of what should always be obvious: A bit of color in the grey city (especially when it’s not overtly trying to sell you something), can be invaluable. While plenty of street artists and muralists may just happen to make the world a more colorful place, the state of the city is something Buff Monster is consciously thinking about and letting inform his work, which I really respect. I got the sense that this wasn’t just an afterthought for him. It’s not “I like pink, so I’ll paint it on walls.” It seems closer to “It’s depressing walking around and seeing all these gray walls everywhere, and pink walls with fun characters are the opposite of that, so I’d better put some up.” I love that attitude.
Also, if you’re a fan of Buff Monster, definitely check out the Kickstarter campaign that he’s got going on right now. He’s crowdfunding a second edition of his Melty Misfits stickers/trading cards. I’ve got a few packs from the first series, and I love them. The Kickstarter campaign has been wildly successful so far, but the more money raised, the crazier series two will be.
Photos by Rey Rosa for The L.I.S.A Project NYC