They perched on benches, ladders and stepstools, applying vivid colors to the wall. Fashion Institute of Technology students lined 28th Street between Seventh and Eighth Avenues on a Wednesday afternoon to paint murals as their final project of the semester.
Maya Feero, a senior studying illustration at FIT, said that drawing and painting on the outside walls of the school is a tradition for senior illustration majors. But the school plans to tear down this wall in the near future for expansion purposes.
“We would do chalk drawings on this wall, but they decided this time to make murals on the wall that they’re going to be tearing down,” Feero said. “The theme is supposed to be resilience due to that bombing that happened in Chelsea [in September].”
She drew faces adorned with iconic New York and Chelsea images, such as taxis for the city and flowers for the floral district. Feero said that she wanted to capture the diversity of the people in the area. Other students painted neon signs, dancers and pigeons — all symbols of what Chelsea and New York’s resilience means for them.
Ian Beeck was working on an illustration of a strong, fashionable woman. He thought she captured the spirit of Seventh Avenue, whose alternate name is Fashion Avenue.
“This brings in elements of the architecture and flowers, and I wanted this to be very statuesque and powerful,” Beeck said. “When I think of Chelsea, I think of models, fashion — kind of like strength — and I’m going to try getting a motion shot.”
He spent six hours on his part of the mural and planned to spend six to 10 more on it. Beeck said he wanted to add latex-like reflections on the woman’s clothing and more definition to her hair.
On the panel next to Beeck, Kara Higgens painted a pigeon perched on a 23rd Street sign. She said that it represented how New Yorkers are just like pigeons: even a day after tragedy strikes, they still come out the next day and keep pecking.
“It’s also a redo of a dove, since a pigeon is also technically a dove,” Higgens said. “It’s holding an olive branch as well to show that we as a community can do it together and grow stronger.”