June 1, 2018

POSTED BY

Celeste Hylton-James

CATEGORY

Manhattan is a Canvas: Meet Chinon Maria

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Image © 2018 Chinon Maria I used to fantasize about painting a massive mural on an abandoned concrete wall. So much so, that I used to take my assortment of 12-piece Crayolas and fill the walls with absurdly large drawings. Five and fabulously free, I happily felt the power of …

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Image © 2018 Chinon Maria

I used to fantasize about painting a massive mural on an abandoned concrete wall. So much so, that I used to take my assortment of 12-piece Crayolas and fill the walls with absurdly large drawings. Five and fabulously free, I happily felt the power of my images inappropriately plastered on the walls of my home.

“Drawing is to be on paper,” my mother would reprimand me.

You and I know better than to assume that drawing has to be on paper.

20 years later, little would I know that New York is full of countless, fabulously free artists that didn’t keep their imaginations confined to a piece of paper or an eye-retching screen. All throughout the city, street art has become a part of the identity of New York culture. Artists like Shepard Fairey and Banksy have created work that beautifies neighborhoods and redefined the perception of art in public spaces.

Meet Chinon Maria, one of the many mural artists that are making Manhattan her canvas.

I encountered her by chance, returning back home, headed toward the PATH entrance located beneath the World Trade Center. Suspended above the door were Chinon Maria and her team, putting on the final touches of an ornate and bold painting of flowers among other things. Hand-painted “VESSEY” commanded my attention and admiration.

Raised in Vermont and Columbia, Chinon Maria has attended various respected programs and institutions such as Pont-Aven School of Contemporary Art in France, Rhode Island School of Design, and earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Montana State University.

I discussed her freshly finished work. She told me to explore the mural at 5 World Trade Center.

And I’m glad I did.

The entire mural, “One World Our Children” stands at 220 feet by the W Hotel, featuring nine portraits of girls who are also refugees. Made with mixed media and acrylic, this mural colors an optimistic depiction of strong girls despite their challenges with migration and the global refugee crisis. Commissioned by the Downtown Alliance of New York and the USA for United Nations High Commission for Refugees, 550 hours of hard work was put into this massive #muraltounite.

“We put in over 550 hours of labor of love painting this beauty. 154 unique colors used, 43 gallons of paint to cover 2400 SQ ft of wall, 40 countries contributed words of children to be placed within the piece, and 9 portraits of refugee girls. This wall was also the original entrence to the 9-11 memorial and stayed painted grey for years. NOW this wall is a celebration of unity and showing the world we can come together and deserve a better tomorrow for our children.”

-Chinon Maria Studios & Maven Murals

I would really encourage everyone to stop by the W Hotel and view this beautiful celebration of strong girls seeking higher ground.

What a beautiful whirlwind of adventure this has been with the most amazing partner @sebastian.mitre and my incredible patrons, partners and supporters of my work, @streetartstudiotv @silversteinproperties @wtc @downtownnyc @worldtradegallery ! It has been a magnificent journey, and I am grateful to all the people from the passerby to the executive. Thank you! As promised here is a better sneak peak into the Vesey Street Mural … Enjoy! . . . Special shout out to @scrapyardnyc1 @patrolusa . . . #streetsign #streetart #mywtc #wtc #DownIsWhatsUp #veseystreet #veseyst #urbanart #popart #nycart #streetstyle #graffart #nycstart #nycart #ilovenyc #fidiliving #worldtradecenter #flowerpower #flowergirl #makeartnotwar #chinonmaria #girlswhopaint

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