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The Larkin Idea: From wheat pastes to book tastes

Wheat paste artists Christopher M. Kameck and Max Collins are keeping busy these days. One of their latest combined efforts is on the back side of The Filling Station restaurant, and in a recessed nook off to another side. This time their assignment was to help tell the story of the Larkin experience, by showcasing historic images. At the same time the two incorporated a number of current images of people who live in the neighborhood, or who have in one form or another interacted with Larkinville (by mail, by phone, in person, etc.)


By doing this, a fairly nondescript back side of the restaurant now has a graphic appeal that makes an otherwise forgettable walk (pass through) from one side of the square to the other an enjoyable experience (for those who take time to stop and smell the roses).


Last evening I stopped by Larkin Square to grab a beer and collect my thoughts (and photos). It was there that I encountered the Buffalo Reading Invasion, as visitors (with books in hand) strolled up to the square, plopped down all around, and began to read books quietly and contentedly. The Whole Hog food truck was there too, which helped to round out the offerings.


As people read their books Larkinville’s Director of Fun, Leslie Zemsky (who happened to be on duty that evening), took me around to show me the wheat pastes and we talked about the summer’s countless successes ranging from South Buffalo Night to Food Truck Tuesdays.

Larkin Square is one of the only places around that you can walk the grounds with a beer in hand, thanks to a full liquor license that has been secured for ongoing event purposes.

While Larkin Square might have made a name for itself with the successful music series, it continues to draw curiosity seekers on any given evening thanks to the well-planned nature of the site. Where else can you grab a hula hoop, play a game a pickle ball or simply stop and smell the (real) flowers of which there are many, many to choose from?


 Flowers by Napier

Written by queenseyes


Newell Nussbaumer is 'queenseyes' - Eyes of the Queen City and Founder of Buffalo Rising. Co-founder Elmwood Avenue Festival of the Arts. Co-founder Powder Keg Festival that built the world's largest ice maze (Guinness Book of World Records). Instigator behind Emerald Beach at the Erie Basin Marina. Co-created Flurrious! winter festival. Co-creator of Rusty Chain Beer. Instigator behind Saturday Artisan Market (SAM) at Canalside. Founder of The Peddler retro and vintage market. Instigator behind Liberty Hound @ Canalside. Throws The Witches Ball at The Hotel @ The Lafayette, and the Madd Tiki Winter Luau. Other projects: Navigetter.

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  • okay, so max collins is officially everywhere and congrats to him.  my question is: who is responsible for removing or replacing his paste-ups once they start getting ruined by the elements?   or that a problem that the owner is now saddled with?

  • buffgalesq

    The Buffalo Reading Invasion is one of my favorite groups/activities in Buffalo.  And Larkin is the perfect venue (covered in case of rain, lots of comfy chairs, wine and beer for sale).  Thank you to all the organizers!

  • gybeav

    Dear god.  enough.

  • bufforward

    I enjoy all this public art going up lately, but we have seen that wheat paste won’t stand the test of time. Soon, these will be falling apart. Why do they stick with it? Because its easy? Cheap? “Green”? If it’s essentially disposable and will just be lost or redone in short order, it doesn’t seem all that green to me. If the intent is to create something essentially temporary, that’s one thing, but I’d rather they put in the time and effort to make a more lasting impact.

  • BCollins

    grad94 When owners hire Max to do a piece, it is usually disclosed or already known that wheatpaste murals are temporary. It normally takes a long time for the piece to become worn out (ref. his wheatpaste mural is still up on Main St. Studios more than a year after it was put up). But in case you’re still worried, I know that Max would not sit around if one of his public pieces became worn.

  • tanbeachbum

    I had the pleasure of meeting wheat paste artist, Christopher M. Kameck, the evening of 9-11-13 at Larkin Square.  What a talented, wonderful, nice, and polite man he is.  Even though he was doing preservation work at the bottom of the pattern side, he took the time to speak with me and obliged my request for a photo of him next to his creation.  Tomorrow I will go to the old AM&A’s building to check out the wheat paste pattern picture on the Washington Street side of the building.  Thank You Very Much, Chris for taking the time to speak with me.  I love your and Max’s work.  I am Pattie.