Photographer Eric Lau contacted us after seeing our coverage on the recent whitewashing of 5Pointz and shared his photographs of the final B-Boy Battle at 5Pointz on October 6, 2013. He told us that a few friends of his are street artists and paint frequently at 5Pointz, so he documented a lot of art and events at the aerosol art mecca.
Shot on black and white film, these images capture so much of what was magical about 5Pointz–how it transformed the visitors. There are faces of amazement, laughter, elation. Most importantly, you sense the collective nature that 5 Pointz actively supported. The crowd is diverse, in more ways than one, and there’s even a pregnant woman and a baby in a stroller right in the mix.
These images gave us the chills (and inspiration to ditch our DSLR cameras):
5Pointz was a much a canvas for aerosol art as it was a tribute to hip hop culture, where you could find on any given day DJs, breakdancers, MCs on site. This year, 5Pointz celebrated its 10th year with a 4-month tribute called “Summer 2013: Celebrating 40 Years of Hip-Hop.”
Eric explains that in the B-Boy Battle, the breakdancers form teams made up of three people on each. They go back and forth, so team A goes first, then team B, and they perform 3 times each alternating teams. He says, “Usually in the first two rounds they will go individually, or at least not involving all of the teammates at the same time, and the last round they will do a more collaborative final sign-off style. The judge will make a decision of which team wins, depending on their own judgement and I am sure the reaction of the crowds play a role as well.”
We’ve received many comments on both sides of the issue since our first post breaking the news. But more than the art, this collective spirit is what has been lost with the recent whitewashing. That also means that it can be recreated elsewhere, and hopefully it’s just a momentary setback for 5Pointz.