TRENTON — It might be called Jersey Fresh, but it came out of a can — a spray can.
Graffiti artists from around the country flocked to Trenton Saturday for the ninth annual Jersey Fresh Jam, a festival highlighting graffiti, street art, music and community held at the Terracycle headquarters on New York Ave.
“This is a celebration of hip-hop, of art and graffiti and music,” said local graffiti writer Leon Rainbow — like most of the artists there, he goes by a pseudonym — a co-organizer of the event. “We want to bring the community an understanding, get them to know what we do and start a dialogue.”
That conversation includes the discussion on the importance of graffiti as both art and a cultural movement, Rainbow said.
To illustrate his point — literally — he invited around 50 artists from across the country to transform the dull warehouse into a functioning canvass of steel, brick and wood.
As a faint smell of aerosol filled the air, gray walls filled up with colors.
Industrial barrels behind the warehouse “watched” with painted purple eyes as Marilyn Monroe and a smattering of skulls, aliens or imagined cartoon characters slowly took shape along the company’s outside walls.
In other areas, elaborate artist tags — stylized graffiti signatures — created a patchwork mural in a kaleidoscope of colors.
“Everything we’re doing here is with the permission of Terracycle — it can’t be questioned, so it’s an opportunity to let the art shine,” Rainbow said.
“We want to broaden what people’s ideas of graffiti are, and what it can do to a place. And we not only have a lot of artists here, but the best artists from around the country.”
One of the visiting painters was a New Yorker who goes by the name Part.
He’s been tagging walls since 1974 and is well-known in the graffiti community as one of the original artists from the city.