When Clayton Patterson Tagged the Graffiti Wall

Posted on: January 21st, 2011 at 6:38 am by

With Bowery gentrification at a near tipping point, interest in the now-iconic graffiti wall is at an all-time high. Each new commissioned art piece, from the Keith Haring revival to Os Gemeos and Kenny Scharf, has been the subject of intense local media coverage. The Villager sounds off this week on the Tony Goldman slab, revealing an interesting story dating back to 1990.

This image has been archived or removed.

[Photo Credit: Clayton Patterson]

In the summer of that year, Lower East Side documentarian Clayton Patterson decided to paint a non-commissioned mural, reactivating interest in the site.  And along comes Chico:

Once I activated the site again and made it energized, people got the wall,” Patterson said. “It was like taking back the wall.” Apparently, Antonio Garcia, a.k.a. Chico, the Lower East Side graffiti legend, or a client of his got the wall, too, because one day Chico promptly painted over Patterson’s piece with a commissioned graffiti mural for a Soho wine bar.

Patterson’s response? “I went over and threw buckets of brown paint all over his mural.” (There was no symbolism in the paint’s color, the documentarian assured.) “Then Chico came over to my place and said, ‘Yo, what’s up? You gotta pay me for that paint,’” Patterson recalled. “I said, ‘No — you should have come over and told me you were doing it. I’ve got no problem with your getting paid, just tell me about it.’” Patterson didn’t pay Chico for the marred mural, but just meant to say he understood that Chico had a right to make money on commissioned work. A potentially tense situation was defused, and the two became friends after that, according to Patterson.

Below, a short clip of 2010 in the life of the graffiti wall:

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