In a special double issue that hit stands last week, New York Magazine published a feature under the teaser “123 Reasons to Love New York Right Now.” It’s, as they say, a keeper. But what we really love about this issue is the magazine cover. There’s a photo of a street artist painting a massive line-drawing of a flower.
The flower image is instantly recognizable to New Yorkers, especially downtowners, and anybody who follows street art. The artist is known generally as “Flower Guy.” His real name is Michael De Feo, an artist whose work has been exhibited worldwide. De Feo is also the author of “Alphabet City,” one of several books on street art recently published in the U.S.
De Feo’s flowers have become icons within NYC. Flower Guy’s work can be found as massive paintings that appear on sides of tenement buildings and lofts (like the one on the New York cover) and as small wheat-paste posters on post boxes and the bases of lamp posts.
According to British author and graphic designer Tristan Manco in “Street Logos,” his ever reliable book on street art around the world, De Feo started creating stencils of moons, flowers and safety pins around downtown New York City in the early 1990’s, but locked onto the flower image while experimenting with a paint brush.
In a cheeky touch, the New York mag editors list De Feo as reason “NO. 124.” (the cover teaser, as noted above says “123”). Love it.