Last Thursday, the Sanctuary Hotel hosted an exhibit of graffiti artist, AVONE (pronounced A.V. One) that felt so inherently New York, you’d think you had walked in one side of the lobby and found yourself right back on the street.
Surrounded by his murals, he now stood at the end of a long conference table among fellow graffiti artists with open sketch books and uncapped markers. Discussing his process with an older woman clasping on to her husband's arm, he smiles as she compliments his vision and requests his critique of her own paintings while friends try to butt in with jokes and stories. Growing up in Brooklyn neighborhoods like Crown Heights and Fort Greene, AVONE suggests his work is, “nostalgic and relatable. It’s what you see every day. It’s my surroundings, young, urban and street.”
Employing various techniques such as silkscreen, paint, markers, and spray cans, AVONE’s passion is the experimentation itself. “Growing up there wasn’t a lot of art programs. It wasn’t as accessible as it is now. Back then it wasn’t like that, this is all trial and error.”
The Sanctuary lobby wasn’t just lined with an New York native's artwork, but rather a collection of corroded, rusted ground level windows allowing the viewer to feel the birth of Hip Hop, crave the excitement of Warhol, and sense the natural comfort of Kehinde Wiley.
For a man who lives his life eating “steak one day, soup the next,” AVONE’s exhibit was warmly welcomed. Guests were offered complimentary cocktails from Double Cross vodka and treated to a preview of the Haven rooftop lounge that will open to the public in June.
AVONE's collection will be on display in the Sanctuary Hotel lobby through the summer.