Tag Archives: Marie Cecile Flageul

5Pointz artists to transform hallways of August Martin HS in Jamaica

| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo via Instagram/@queensdreamers

The spirit of 5Pointz will be reborn this weekend, as over 150 artists from near and far are expected to come together to bring life to the hallways of one Jamaica high school.

On Saturday and Sunday, a team of students of the nonprofit The Future Project Dream Team at August Martin High School called “Operation Skittles” will team up with 5Pointz curators Jonathan “Meres One” Cohen and Marie Cecile Flageul to cover the hallways, elevator doors and staircases with one-of-a-kind artwork exploding with color.

“To us it’s kind of like making the pass to knowledge attractive and exciting,” Cecile Flageul said.

For the two days, more than 150 aerosol artists, all invited by Cohen, will volunteer their time and paint to transform the interior of the school, located at 156-10 Baisley Blvd.

According to the curators, this project symbolizes a “rebirth” of 5Pointz with a large number of people gathering together to create art pieces that will tell stories.

The Long Island City home of the graffiti mecca was ordered to be whitewashed by the property’s owner in 2013, just days after artists and supporters held rallies looking to save the site and requested the site be landmarked. Since then, the entire building has been demolished.

“It’s really awesome and symbolically it’s in Queens, it’s our initial borough. It’s kind of like a tribute to the spirit of 5Pointz and I don’t think we could have picked a better place than this school,” Cecile Flageul said.

5Pointz curators Marie Cecile Flageul and Jonathan Cohen with August Martin High School Principal Gillian Smith (center). (Photo courtesy of Marie Cecile Flageul)

5Pointz curators Marie Cecile Flageul and Jonathan Cohen with August Martin High School Principal Gillian Smith (center). (Photo courtesy of Marie Cecile Flageul)

She added that the response from participating artists has been intense and positive, with many wanting to continue having a relationship with the school and students even after the project is complete.

“To me it is incredible to be part of this project,” she said. “To be able to connect with those kids, help this school and start this relationship.”

The artists all want to inspire the students, help them achieve their dreams, and bring beauty to a school that some have called “the worst in Queens,” according to Cecile Flageul. Some artists have offered to participate in workshops for the students, and the 5Pointz curators also hope to continue being a “part of the family” with the school.

“Isn’t it ironic that what they call the worst high school in Queens and the so-called vandals of Queens are collaborating for something to better the future of the youth,” Cecile Flageul said.

In addition to the 20 kids from “Operation Skittles,” other students and teachers will also be volunteering their time during the weekend.

Although the painting on both Saturday and Sunday is closed to the public, the completed project will be revealed in June with a large art show.


5Pointz artists share their ‘whitewash’ experience through work in LIC exhibit

| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photos by Orestes Gonzalez

A group of 5Pointz artists have put their emotions and experiences on canvas, reflecting the day they found their graffiti mecca hidden behind white paint.

The artists, including 5Pointz curator and CEO Jonathan “Meres One” Cohen, have come together for an exhibition called “Whitewash” at the Jeffrey Leder Gallery, located at 21-37 45th Rd., just one block away from where 5Pointz once existed.

The show, which begins Saturday, features eight 5Pointz artists, who had major pieces on the building before it was covered in white paint, and two photographers, for a total of 58 pieces.

Each artwork dives deep into the emotions and experiences each individual faced on November 19, when the owners of the property on Jackson Avenue and Davis Street, the Wolkoff family, ordered the building to be painted white overnight.

Gallery owner and 10 year Long Island City resident Jeffrey Leder said that although many people question why he decided to showcase an exhibit featuring aerosol art, he said he wanted the artists to be recognized and to show visitors that their works are considered art.

“It was a sad end to an era here in Long Island City and I think the story needed to be told and the best way to tell the story is to create artwork,” Leder said.

Along with Cohen, the other artists included are Auks, Cortes, Jerms, Just One, Shiro, See TF, Topaz, Zimad and photographers Orestes Gonzalez and Hans Van Rittern.

Marie-Cecile Flageul, curator of the exhibit and 5Pointz spokeswoman, said they had wanted to do a “whitewash” show and keeping it Long Island City was important.

“I think it is extremely impacting for people exiting or coming to the gallery to…see a building that is still standing after four months, so you’re putting it in context,” Flageul said.

The show served as a method of healing and letting go of pain and looking ahead to the future, she said.

Cohen, who dealt with the loss of 5Pointz and his mother all within one month from each other, said although some of his pieces express the anger and frustration he felt when he woke up November 19, the process of creating the pieces for the show was also therapeutic.

“The exhibit to me was a good closure and way to vent, so I found it helped me to relate my feelings to the people that knew of 5Pointz and are devastated by its whitewash,” Cohen said.

He took his signature light bulbs, which normally are yellow and known to be funny, and made them white for the show to depict the “ghoulish” tone of the whitewash.

One of the last pieces he finished for the exhibit was a colorful collaboration between him and artist Shiro, which shows one of the female artist’s iconic characters blowing light bulb bubbles expressing hope and a happy look into the future.

“This is how we communicate best. This is what brings us all together and it did again,” he said. “Over there the walls were what helped tie us together and here are the canvases that are tying us together.”

Each piece in the show is on sale, including wine bottles, donated by Gianna Cerbone-Teoli of Manducatis Rustica, featuring labels designed by Cohen. “Whitewash” will run through June 8.



5Pointz artists bring aerosol art to Long Island not-for-profit center

| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/ Photo by Angy Altamirano

Two months after the 5Pointz building was whitewashed overnight, the artists are still going strong now presenting their artwork at a Long Island not-for-profit art center.

The group of artists, including 5Pointz curator and CEO Jonathan Cohen known as “Meres One,” have come together for an art show called “WALL WORKS: The Art of Graffiti” at the Gold Coast Arts Center, located at 113 Middle Neck Rd. in Great Neck.

The opening reception for the show was held on Sunday, which marked the two month anniversary of what 5Pointz spokesperson Marie Cecile Flageul calls the “criminal whitewash.”

“Today is two months following the criminal whitewash and nothing has happened to the building, so to us it’s a way to keep the light on as well,” said Flageul.

5Pointz was whitewashed overnight on Nov. 19, after owners of the property on Jackson Avenue and Davis Street in Long Island City, the Wolkoff family, ordered the action.

The artists were invited to present their art at the not-for-profit organization and thought the location made perfect sense because 5Pointz is also a not-for-profit group and had a lot of programs inclined to children just like the Gold Coast Arts Center, said Flageul.

She also said there are numerous art shows by 5Pointz artists planned for throughout the year.

The Long Island art show, which was curated by newly appointed gallery curator and Long Island City resident Jude Amsel, features aerosol art on small to large canvases, walls of the gallery, subway maps, real street signs and many more. The show also features a white sculpture by Hunt Rodriguez called “Rest in Power 5Pointz” which people can sign, leaving a piece of them with the art.

“I don’t think the reach of this culture has fully gotten out to Long Island,” said Cohen, whose pieces in the show include a series of five different canvases each depicting one of the boroughs with elements that stood out to the artist. “5Pointz is on a pause state right now, but it will start again. It is a positive program, so it’s good to let people see that there is some artistic ability and talent that go into this and it isn’t the perceived negative thing that everyone thinks.”

All the pieces in the show are for sale and 35 percent of the sales go to the Gold Coast Arts Center, with the remaining amount going towards the artists.

“WALL WORKS: The Art of Graffiti”  also features works from Carols “See TF” Game, Luis “Zimad” Lamboy, Shiro, John Paul O’Grodnick, Veronique Barrillot and Kid Lew. The show is on display until March 2.