Steinway Gets A Splash Of Color
Local artist Zeehan Wazed is gracing this sliver of our borough with his artistic talents–175 feet of it, to be exact. Passerby can expect a beautiful display of Astoria landmarks brought to life via spray paint and brushwork, stretched across the P.C. Richard and Son building at 35-18 Steinway. We wanted to get to know the creative genius behind this mural a little better, and we thought you would too.
GMA: Were you born and raised in Astoria?
ZW: I was born in Libya, but I’m Bangladeshi by ethnicity. I grew up in Jamaica, Queens, and have always been a Queens kid at heart. I’ve really made a home for myself in Astoria these last five years; it’s become my favorite part of NYC!
GMA: How did you get into the craft?
ZW: I was initially exposed to art through the hip-hop dance community. I had been freestyle hip-hop dancing and street performing since I was in high school. 5 Pointz, back in the day, was a great spot to host dance contests or shoot videos. The artwork at 5 Pointz inspired me to dive in and experiment with creating my own work. I like to bounce between exhibiting my work in galleries or as murals on the streets as it pushes me to be more versatile and makes my work more accessible.
GMA: What is your inspiration behind the mural on Steinway?
ZW: There’s so much I love about Astoria. Astoria is very colorful and features such a diverse pallet of cuisine. [It’s] booming with restaurants and fresh fruit markets, not to mention [is] blessed with a beautiful park. I wanted to capture Astoria’s vibrant energy and interconnectedness through this mural.
GMA: Where else can we find your work throughout the city?
ZW: I have murals scattered throughout the city. A lot of my work was exhibited by galleries on the lower east side, but more recently, [I’ve] been working on giant murals in Queens. It’s a nice change of pace going from painting in my studio to painting in the streets; [I] love connecting with the fellow Astorians passing by.
GMA: What are your artistic goals for the future?
ZW: I’m constantly experimenting with creative new mediums. As a part of my first major exhibition, I tracked my dance movement in VR space to create 3D printed sculptures, essentially to bridge the gap between VR and 3D. My last exhibition, I shot a short film that I made exclusively viewable via augmented reality unraveled through a series of paintings of the different scenes. This mural I’m working on will also be an augmented mural so viewers can engage specific parts of it to reveal messages or videos incorporated into the mural. This will initially require viewers to use Artvive, a free app to access the AR, much like a QR code, but more fun and immersive.
Be sure to follow Zeehan Wazed on Instagram, @zeehanwazed, for more inspiring artwork.