Eight “retired graffiti artists” have come together to create an old school throw-up in downtown Buffalo. The work has been painted on the side of the Washington Square Bar & Grille, which was purchased by John Daly back in February.
What is unusual about this particular throw-up is that it was created by a handful of prolific street artists from the old days when this sort of street art was underground. It’s the type of graffiti that was found on train cars, bridges, and other places that were off the mainstream radar.
“I told them they could do whatever they wanted,” said Daly. “They had artistic freedom. I love it.”
Daly said that the street artists all made a trip back in Buffalo, for a legit “reunion tag.”
Unlike the high profile sponsored murals that are popping up around the city, this artwork is a throwback to a time when street art was frowned upon. To get a better sense of this, I refer back to an article that I wrote in 2017 (not that long ago), when I interviewed street artist Vinny Alejandro, who said that Buffalo was lagging behind the times when it came to this sort of artistry. He told me that he was traveling the country, attending graffiti events such as Paint Louis. He also talked about Rochester being hip to the street art scene. At the time, however, Buffalo was still very hesitant about legitimizing any form of street art. Buffalo was just starting to see some large mural commissions from the Albright-Knox, but the opportunities for up-and-coming street artists was very limited. That stifling sentiment has, of course, great changed over the course of the past 5 five years.
The new throw-up on the side of Washington Square is sort of a reminder about the street art scene that led to the public art craze that we are seeing today. Murals and street art have become a way of life for Buffalo, similar to other cities throughout the world. Murals have become so elaborate and intricate that it’s actually rare to come across one of these more simplistic throw-ups that got the whole thing started.