Have you ever been walking around in Lower Manhattan and noticed a trail of paint on the sidewalk?
About 3 years ago, one of my friends in school decided to follow the trail around, and noticed that the trail produced the image that you see above; a strange-looking rendering of what appears to be the word “momo.” MOMO is the name of an artist that used to be based in NYC, and sure enough, the one responsible for “tagging his name” across the width of Manhattan.
After requesting a meetup, MOMO told my friend that he accomplished this task by fixing 5 gallon paint buckets to the back of his bike, poking a hole in the bottom of the containers, and riding though the West Village, SoHo, Greenwich Village, East Village, and Alphabet City. It appears that this all happened in 2006, which means that some parts of the line have been covered up with roadwork and redone sidewalks, but most of the line is still visible.
To me, the interesting thing about the line is how similar and different it is to regular graffiti. Essentially, most graffiti writers enjoy seeing their name on things, and the bigger they can get it, the more visible their tag is, the more people will notice their presence and witness the artist conquering their city. MOMO created the largest tag in New York, yet the scale of his work here, so massive that it can’t all be viewed at once, means that thousands of people will walk on it each day and never even notice it. It’s simultaneously the biggest and smallest statement I’ve ever seen an artist make.
MOMO made a video about the line which you can see here.
If you ever walk over it, now you’ll know what you’re looking at.