“Back in 1992, Mark Lawrence, a spraycan artist who had been doing graffiti since he was a child in the Bronx River Projects, founded Color Cru in upstate New York. Back then, he wasn't earning money for it.”
“I was doing a lot of walls, a lot of trains, in the Bronx, Manhattan, Brooklyn,” he recalled. “It was a culture. If you were doing graffiti, you were doing break dancing, and you rapped.”
"He now has stores in Brooklyn, Harlem and the Bronx and graffiti-inspired advertising is his staple. He also decorates shoes and jackets at prices from $18 to several hundred dollars."
"He gets orders from abroad, too, in London, portraits of the murdered rapper Biggie Smalls are popular; in Japan, the dead singer Aaliyah is all the rage. Unable to meet demand alone, he now has seven artists working for him.”
Adam Green is one of those remarkable people in the south Bronx who does well by doing good. International news agencies like CNN and the New York Times have been noticing for years.
He’s founder and executive directer of rockingtheboat.org, an organization with “13 full time and 10 part time staff, operating boatbuilding, environmental education, job skills, on-water classroom, and public rowing programs for over 2,000 youth and Bronx community members each year.”
I recently visited the Hunts Point Park woodshop where rockingtheboat is headquartered and Adam graciously offered me a tour. What he does is so simple and so effective.
Instead of raising money and giving Summer boat rides to kids, he requires they learn how to actually build the boat and then administer to a free rowing program on the Bronx River, giving them pride in accomplishment and a skill when they are older.