New York Series Paintings    Gallery 1 Paintings Gallery 2 Studies      
A Bronx Block is a series of paintings of a former meat processing plant (Ferris Stahl-Meyer) in the Bronx that has become a graffiti mecca. For the past ten years, the company's president, Guillermo O. Gonzalez, has encouraged local graffiti artists to use the walls of the factory as their canvas, which led to the site being used for the filming of music videos, fashion shoots, and by skateboarders, photographers, graffiti artists and me. The property was sold, so it's just a matter of time before this very dynamic place in the Bronx is demolished.

Ferris Stahl-Meyer has been the Bronx for many decades and was famous for their all-beef hotdogs that at one time were sold at all of the New York area baseball stadiums. A major redevelopment of the area is planned that will totally transform the neighborhood, and while many of the changes are welcome, something magical will be lost. Where others may see blight, I see the creative energy and vibrancy that are important parts of this community. Gonzalez left an enduring legacy by encouraging local artists to showcase their art on his building. He saw their art as a positive force, not vandalism. It is a testament to his vision that so many people still come to shoot videos and photographs a year after the company moved.

I began painting on location there in the spring of 2012 and plan on finishing the series by the end of 2013. Being on site while painting this series has given me a unique opportunity to experience the day-to-day life of this city block and to be inspired by the many artists who have worked there. But more importantly, I am extending the creative collaboration between patron, community and artist that is such a vital aspect of urban life.

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   Bronx Draw Bridge, Painted by Valeri Larko
Ferris Stahl Meyer Diptych by Valeri Larko