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Brooklyn Street Art

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Chris Stain in Church, Museum : 9/11 Mural With “Living Walls: Albany”

Posted on September 8, 2011

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The Street Artist Creates 40 Foot Mural Marking 10th Anniversary

brooklyn-street-art-chris-stain-andrew-franciosa-living-walls-albany-09-11-web-4Chris Stain (photo © Andrew Franciosa)

Living Walls with Chris Stain

Words by KC Orcutt
with photos from Andrew Franciosa, Frank Whitney, and Ken Jacobie

Working in the monumental landmark of St. Joseph’s church, the focal point marking Albany’s Ten Broeck Historical District, everything echoed. The shake of the spray paint can, Chris Stain’s soft but direct voice, friends casually eating out of take-out containers and the sliding of a huge ladder against the wooden floor echoed against the high, detailed ceilings of the church, breaking the silence in what felt like both a privileged and private setting to be working in.

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Samson prepares the wall at St Joseph’s church for Chris Stain (photo © Ken Jacobie)

This portion of the “Living Walls: Albany” project directly faced the challenge all artists face: make something out of nothing. For the organizer, Samson Contompasis, that challenge was making a 40 by 16 foot wall out of 20 wooden pieces for Chris Stain to create his contribution to the project. Challenge met. Next.

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Chris Stain (photo © Andrew Franciosa)

As Chris Stain humored me in talking about Albany, the culture of zines and independent art books, doing his art homework on the train up here and how the quietness of the church was peaceful, he worked very swiftly. With one can of spray paint on deck in his back pocket and one in his hand, he got to work on his installation piece, depicting a scene of firefighters, an American flag and slanted city buildings, working with the ‘perfect’ red and an assortment of spray paint cans aligned like soldiers ready to go.

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Chris Stain (photo © Andrew Franciosa)

The finished piece alongside the ornate details of the church allowed for a natural moment of silence, soaking in what Stain sprayed before us, ready to be taken apart and installed in the setting of the New York State Museum the next day as a part of the new exhibit, “Reflecting on September 11, 2001.”

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Chris Stain (photo © Andrew Franciosa)

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Chris Stain (photo © Andrew Franciosa)

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Chris Stain (photo © Andrew Franciosa)

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Chris Stain (photo © Andrew Franciosa)

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Chris Stain (photo © Andrew Franciosa)

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Chris Stain (photo © Andrew Franciosa)

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Chris Stain’s mural being installed at the New York State Museum (photo © Frank Whitney)

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Chris Stain’s mural being installed at the New York State Museum (photo © Frank Whitney)

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“Reflecting on September 11, 2001” opens at the New York State Museum Friday 10.9.11. Please click here for more information.

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