Skillman Avenue side of 414 Flushing Avenue, South Williamsburg, Brooklyn

March 2001

I wanted to paint in the Hasidic portion of Williamsburg, but it was too busy. People kept telling me to leave whenever I started to paint, so I did, because one of the rules of the project was that I would stop and restore the site if anyone objected. Generally, this wasn’t much of a problem, because sites that already have a lot of graffiti are not very heavily defended. All that graffiti is there precisely because the site doesn’t really belong to anyone; it’s become a de facto public space.

No one ever asked me to stop painting once the painting became recognizable as a landscape. The most difficult part was always making the white underpainting, which was much less of a crowd-pleaser and which required several hours to dry. The first few hours before the landscape became recognizable were also often a bit tense. A lot of the fun of the project was finding nice, disorderly sites where you could spend several days painting illegally.

So this painting is a bit beyond the Hasidic section. I just kept driving in Williamsburg until I found this pleasingly deserted street. Nothing much happened while I painted because it was so deserted. Nothing much seems to have happened to the painting since I finished it either. It was still there when I last drove by.

This was my second version of Ludwig Richter’s Pond in the Riesengebirge. I was unable to finish my first version in the Meatpacking District because of the police.