Little Italy Street Art in an Instant
On a busy Labor Day in Little Italy, I went looking for street art on Mulberry street, between Kenmare and Canal. Wiping some dust off of my Polaroid SX-70, I took it out into the humid air with a fresh pack of Impossible Project’s color film loaded up. It seemed appropriate to use a historic camera at such a historic location. The place was packed with tourists and locals, so finding murals hidden amongst outdoor restaurant tables and umbrellas was quite the chore. It wasn’t until I came across a fenced empty lot between Hester and Canal, I started to get a glimpse of some of the art I was actually looking for. Ron English’s now popular “Temper Tot” a.k.a “Baby Hulk” stood on a side facade in all its glory. And on the other side of the lot was “MonaLister” by Anthony Lister (shown above).
These works of street art is the result of the L.I.S.A Project, an acronym for “Little Italy Street Art”. Almost three years old, this project invites street and pop artists from all over the world to the culture and history heavy Mulberry street. Founded by Wayne Rada and RJ Rushmore of vandalog.com, their artistic influence spreads beyond Mulberry to the surrounding streets.
When planning a tour of the street art in the area, carefully schedule your visits. Trips to the area during peak hours will make it difficult to capture the whole piece without the occasional and unintentional photo bombing by passing pedestrians.
If you’re traveling south on Mulberry, don’t forget to check out Solus’s mural (or what’s left of it) near the corner of the intersection shared with Kenmare street. Much of the original mural is now covered by a newsstand from Mulberry Iconic Magazines, but you can still enjoy the mural. This piece titled, “Punch Above Your Weight”, is a tribute to Irish and Italian immigrants.
A bit further down the street before the corner of Broome and Mulberry is a delicious looking mural by Buff Monster. Due to its colorful and comical nature, it is rather easy to spot.
Just across the street at Caffe Roma is a colorful interpretation of “Audrey Hepburn” by artist Tristan Eaton. Found on the Mulberry side of the building, it is wedged between the side entrance to a cafe and an ATM. During peak hours it is usually covered by tables and seats, but you can still get a good look at it.
After crossing Hester street, you’ll see the mural titled “Jerk of Steel” by artist Jerkface painted on a door between Giovanna’s and Anthony Shops.
The final mural I find worthy of immortalizing on an expensive piece of Polaroid film is another piece by Tristan Eaton titled “Liberty.” It can be found on the side facade of the building Cha Cha’s which, Boca Al Lupo is in. If that doesn’t help, look for the Most Precious Blood church. The art piece is found directly on the right side.
There are a handful of murals that are not mentioned. That is due to running out of Polaroid film and local businesses covering the art. Still, every piece is worth checking out. So, get your ass down to Little Italy, enjoy a cannoli at Caffe Palermo and check out the art on almost every corner.