Port Authority Art
By Martin Halo,
Downtown Money Waster, 2007
With the rush of morning commute subsidized at NY’s Port Authority, artist Erni Vales sets up his canvas just outside of the Metro Marche Café. It is almost noon when he begins his work. With a blank canvas and a constantly revolving audience, Vales air brushes layer upon layer of paint.
Blue, white and red adhere o the surface of the artistic slate. While changing canisters of paint, which are fed though his air gun, dust arises into the air as the access foliage of particles flow away freely. A graffiti based image begins to emerge.
Vales, a NY based artist who graduated from the School of art & Design, earned his initial recognition as a graffiti artist displaying his work on subway cars and wall murals. His 3D form of elegant design resulted is a series of high profile projects in cities ranging from Hollywood to NYC. Vales, along with photographer David LaChapelle, worked to design the cover art for No Doubt’s 2001 release of Rock Steady as well as music video mural artwork for The Vines, Lil’ Kim, stage design for Hootie And The Blowfish, contributions to Seattle’s Experience Music Project, and work for Def Jam Records. In addition, Vales has also fully designed the interior of high profile NY nightclubs including Freight 410, One 51, and T-Birds in queens. Vales was also the recent designer, in 2006, of Club Atlas in Moscow, Russia. His credits also include work that appeared in “The Apprentice” and the feature films Vampire in Brooklyn and Money Train.
Vales’ steady air brushed composition is taking a shape as the afternoon forges on, the French flag in the background, and embroidered with the initials MM in representations of Metro Marche. Passing patrons take the time to watch Vales work. His stroke commands attention. The finishing touches were applied just before 2pm, and Vales poses for a quick press photo opportunity with event organizers.
Meanwhile inside the Metro Marche Café, business starts to pick up as work week professionals leave their desks and arrive for lunch. The Café is vibrant in bright, colorful texture and has come to be known as an affordable Brasserie escape. The back wall is covered with Vales’ graffiti designs as he gets ready to host a small unveiling reception which coincided with the launch of his website.