Madison Street Graffiti

Today’s watercolor experiment:

One of my challenges today was to find one of my graffiti photographs taken in 1990s New York City, in portrait (or vertical) format. I am two sketches away from completing my goal of 24 graffiti watercolors in each of two formats: portrait and landscape. The photograph I chose was not an award winner, but it met my criteria. Only after closely inspecting it did I realize how interesting it really was.

I break from my usual order of presentation of watercolor followed by photograph, to show the reference picture first:

Photograph: Graffiti on Madison Street by Manhattan Bridge

Madison Street Graffiti Reference Photo

Usually, the most interesting parts of the picture are on the lower level, which features the graffiti. However, during the sketching phase, the first thing I noticed was the street name engraved in a small cement block at the level of the middle of the lower leftmost window on the second story.  I don’t remember Madison Street from my wanderings through the city. So I took a closer look at the picture for more clues. After enlarging the picture, I noticed a triangular design of what looked like construction girders (at the level of the ‘Don’t Walk’ sign). A little to the left, I saw an arch. It looked like the one in Washington Square. I knew immediately that the building was close to the Manhattan Bridge.  I confirmed this by looking at one of the map programs.

Watercolor: Graffiti on Madison Street by Manhattan Bridge

Madison Street Graffiti
6″x4″ 140# Mixed Media Paper

Other details revealed themselves as I looked over the photograph. The bricks and the cement decorations at the tops of the windows got me wondering about what it would be like to live in that building and what other old treasures there may have been inside.

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