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After work Monday, Flatbush resident Ten Sodeinde opted to take the long way home from Manhattan so he could make an artistic pilgrimage to Woodside.
Around the corner from the 69th Street elevated train station, Sodeinde stood in the middle of 38th Avenue armed with his smartphone snapping photographs of another creation by British graffiti artist Banksy.
“I’m a Banksy hunter,” Sodeinde said. “I’m trying to get to all of them.”
Currently in the middle of a month-long, artist-in-residence program he created for himself on the streets of New York City, Banksy has tagged a couple dozen spots in Manhattan and Brooklyn, but the Woodside stop was his first foray into Queens.
The work, which by Tuesday had been defaced with red and black spray paint reportedly from rival street artists, shows a man holding a bucket in one hand and a sponge in the other as he begins to scrub away graffiti from the wall.
Written in pink lettering is the sentence “What we do in life echoes in Eternity,” a line from the 2000 movie “Gladiator.”
The piece captures the man just as the word “Eternity” begins to fade.
“I like it, but I’m not sure I understand it,” Jinny Khanduja said.
After getting word of the Banksy unveiling via her news aggregator, Khanduja convinced her friend, Shana Narula, to join her on the trip out to Queens.
Narula was a little underwhelmed.
“I thought it would be bigger,” Narula said.
Khanduja admitted that was probably her fault, after she pointed out 5Pointz, the graffiti mecca in Long Island City, as the two women rode the No. 7 train from Manhattan.
By late afternoon Monday, about two dozen people stood on the corner talking about the work and Banksy. They also took pictures of the piece and even asked strangers to take their pictures standing in front of the wall. As people wandered off, additional ones made their way to the spot to start the whole picture-taking experience again.
Kelly Wollschlager posed for a picture with his dog and then went to retrieve his phone from the unknown photographer. Wollschlager is new to Queens, having just moved to Jackson Heights, so when he saw Banksy had been to Woodside, he came to check it out.
“It’s really cool,” Wollschlager. “And it will be good for the neighborhood if people come out and see it.”
Banksy’s work might be visible but the artist makes it a point not to reveal his real identity, nor have his picture taken.
For Sodeinde, the mystery adds to his enjoyment of Banksy’s work.
He may not know what Banksy looks like, but Sodeinde knows what the artist is thinking. It is the artist’s sense of mischief, or as Banksy might say back home — cheekiness — that makes finding it worth all the effort, Sodeinde said.
“He doesn’t just paint on walls. He also creates works online and on canvas,” said Sodeinde. “But wherever he puts it, I’m going to be there.”
Reach news editor Kevin Zimmerman at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-260-4541.
©2013 Community Newspaper Group
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