Phun Phactory 10 Years Later, a Reunion on The Street

Last weekend the Phun Phactory returned to New York’s streets for an aerosol infused celebration of Old Tymers – and a promise for the future.

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The original graff spot of the same name was founded in 1993 by Pat DiLillo and the pioneering aerosol artist Michael “Iz The Wiz” Martin, who recently passed away. Created as a safe place to promote legal aerosol art in New York City, the Phun Phactory allowed many a newcomer to practice and perfect their skills in a supportive environment, frequently working side by side with veterans. The Queens factory building in Long Island City across from MoMA/PS1 became a free public outdoor art exhibit and is considered a landmark. The original site, now known as 5 Pointz, passed from their hands by the end of the decade.

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Saturday a large corrugated metal wall, 3 sides of a block in an industrial site in North Brooklyn, feted newbies and old skoolers to “Old Tymer’s Day”, a gathering of aerosol artists who began riding trains and spraying tags during a time in the city’s recent history when the hand-lettered graffiti style defined the urban environment and spawned an international youth culture infatuated with all things New York City.Brooklyn-Street-Art-WEB-Phun_Factory-June-2010-copyright-Steven-P_Harrington-L1090275

Because of we’re kind of ignorant about graffiti at BSA, rather than concentrate on too many individual pieces and artists, we wandered the scene meeting people and listening to the DJ beats, soaking in the sun, and feeling a little bit of the magic.  It was a hot and humid day and most people moved slowly to endure the heat, enjoying  hanging out, trading stories, talking about technique, walking over to the barbecue, and taking a seat behind the wheel of a classic convertible.  The vibe was nice and the feeling of community and creativity was in the air.

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Jeremy Vega, the Director of the Phun Phactory, says that very soon a new Phun Phactory will headquarter itself in Williamsburg and will make available more than 500,000 square feet of public space for artists of all mediums to showcase their artwork legally.  Judging from the number of young people we saw hanging out Saturday, the new generation will be in attendance.

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This crew of stylish people spontaneously jumped together for a photo as soon as they saw the tripod. In front of this piece by CANO were Boltism, KCONE, Atom, CANO, Vic, and Chino.

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Sitting on a loading dock, these two stayed cool and did tags in a black book.  They said their names are Mary Kate and Ashley.

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The barbecue was open and working, and one guy was making mixed fruity drinks in a blender! Sharp knife too.

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Had a really nice conversation with this guy, who was waiting for his 18 year old son to bring by his paint so he could start his piece.  His name is Zord AKA ZD, G+F, TDT, Tns, R+W, MPC.  He  said he was the king of the BMT, J and M lines circa 1985-1990. We discussed his Kiss action figure collection that got thrown away, Satanism, addiction, opinions on the differences between graffiti and street art, film school, and peace and love.

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This was an impromptu (and shaded) area for blackbooks, which people brought to be signed and traded back and forth discussing.

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Nothing like a robot dance and some heavy metal air guitar for fun on a Saturday.

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(all images © Steven P. Harrington)

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