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Whenever Storms Strike, So Do Graffiti Writers

Storms like Jonas bring much more than snow, they also bring an explosion of graffiti.
Sefu and Staino, shot by Bassfaced.

When New York City ventured out from shelter to see the damage Winter Storm Jonas left in its wake last week, they found a city covered in more than a layer of snow — it was also blanketed with a fresh coat of graffiti. Whether it's a blackout or Xday, you can expect writers to use the time in productive ways.

The draw is pretty obvious: Travel bans empty the throughways, shuttered train stations present unfettered paths, and the heavy snow creates a mask to hide behind.


Graffiti writers go nonstop through entire storms, as videos all over the internet will attest to. One of those clips followed Chicago's Amuse 126 who, along with Merlot, put in some heavy work during the height of the storm.

"I have never seen Chicago shut down to the extent that NYC had in this past storm," Amuse tells The Creators Project. "I was amazed at not only the rapid accumulation snow, but the overall urgency to clear the streets of the public and basically shut itself down fascinated me. Streets that normally have bumper to bumper traffic, crowded sidewalks, and overly policed areas suddenly became deserted.” He says it was the worst storm he’s ever painted in.

There were so many writers out that they were bumping into each other, all with the same idea of hitting the spots that are normally too hot. After this snowstorm, we found throwies rallied back to back (to Bak) in honor of fallen family, big stompers wrapping around corners, and even tags caught directly on the snow itself.

The fact that all the above ground trains were taken out of service, along with some of the underground stops, made hitting trains or stations open game. A couple clean trains were posted online after the storm, including a Long Island Rail Road panel that actually ran and was seen in Queens, but it’s hard to say with full certainty that they were all painted during the storm. There were probably others that weren’t posted publicly, since the repercussions can be pretty severe.


For the most part, writers left behind tags and quickly filled throwies, more concerned with covering ground than anything. Most of the names up are those we’re already familiar with, storm or no. (Fresh Paint NYC is wrapping up some of that here.) Probably the most prolific, at least in certain areas, was Bak, a Brooklyn writer that passed away recently whose name lives on through those who knew him.

But some people started hitting up handball courts again, where the majority of pieces were to be found. The city buffed them pretty thoroughly for years, so it had fallen out of favor. Ces, an older head who's more known for his legal work these days, was inspired by the weather to drop a spontaneous simple style on one of these walls. It's that type of rare event you need to take advantage of, and he recommends doing it while you can, because "it gets tougher as we get older."

“New York City storms have always had a profound impact on writers coming off,” he continues. “It's like a free pass. Why not go for the extra points?”

via Freddy Mack


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