A line of orange paint that winds around Lower Manhattan for about eight miles, and is “possibly the biggest graffiti tag in the world,” landed a feature in the New York Times this weekend, thanks largely to a renewed interest in the project sparked by blogger Nick Divers of Best Roof Talk Ever. Now, four years after the art project, and though the artist Momo “decided not to publicize it widely,” the story is being told in a famous newspaper. And it’s all thanks to a blogger, which the Times both names and links to!
The simple, but expansive tag runs “from the East River to the Hudson River and extends north to 14th Street and south to Grand Street,” (pictured) spelling the name of the artist, Momo, who created the project in 2006. Here is a video about its creation. How did he do it?
Years later he experimented for months with a way to make his own paint trail and eventually lashed a homemade funnel-shaped bucket to the back of a bicycle. He fitted the bucket with a hose that was controlled by a ball valve of the sort used in swimming pool plumbing systems. The line was created with 15 gallons of paint dispensed over the course of two covert sorties, Momo said, carried out between 3 and 6 in the morning.
But almost as interesting as the project — for people who really like the hyper-local Internet, at least — is how the story ended up in the Times now.
In August a young blogger named Nick Divers posted an essay online revealing that there is more to the paint than immediately meets the eye. He was not the first to figure out what the line signifies, but his posting was circulated through the blogosphere, bringing new recognition to what began as an intentionally quiet statement.
Wow! And then there’s a big fat link: After noting that few people have ever talked about the project, the paper says that changed “when Mr. Divers posted a description of Momo’s project on his blog, Best Roof Talk Ever. The paper calls Mr. Divers’ work “a short essay,” and that it “was reposted about 1,500 times.” That is a strange and inexact metric, but sure! (For the record, Best Roof Talk Ever is a Tumblr.)
The Times then checks the neighborhood pulse on the art:
“Oh, that’s pretty cool,” said Ryan Sowulski, 22. “You know how hard-core that is?”
And there you have it! Hip, underrated blogger publicizes hip underrated artist and in the process, helps un-hip paper sound a little bit hip. Internet, take a bow.