Wednesday, November 28, 2012

5 Pointz Charm; the Music Man Brings Harmony…

By Madame Margherite

While throwing up a piece before the sun goes down, DJ Charm explains how and why he stepped in as peacemaker behind Meres and his operation at the legendary 5 Pointz. The environment of this rustic graffiti paradise is exceptionally peaceful and surreal thanks to the unifying artistic passion of the tightly knit group who keep the place running.

In the early 90s DJ Charm was signed to the mega conglomerate Atlantic Records as a Rapper/Producer for nearly three years, He had a hit record that charted on Billboard and was number one for three weeks on New York’s Hot 97 in 1992. It played in heavy rotation on hundreds of stations around the country. Most people don’t even make it through the door. His dedicated spirit took his music all across the world. He worked in the studio and performed with infamous artists, groups and bands throughout New York and the east coast. As a Disc Jockey, Charm toured Canada, France, Ukraine, Russia, Holland, and countless corners of the globe. His music undoubtedly rang in the ears of millions. If given the opportunity, Charm says he would do it full time, but his heart is torn between the two mediums he has mastered.

He has his hands in all aspects of hip-hop and urban culture and feels that music and art are one in the same. “Art is the visual side of music which is the audio” he says. When he was just a child, his interest started with photography. Developing film and snapping away at life with disposable cameras eventually graduated to taking professional pictures, producing tracks, and coordinating documentary on focused on aerosol artists. In 2004 this visual and musical journey took him in the direction of chasing graffiti. He wanted to document the life of an artist from the inside, rather than looking in from the outside.

Then one day, with his camera in hand, Charm was strolling along Nevins Street in BK when he spotted a man doing a piece on a gate. It had been his first time in more than 20 years seeing a graffiti artist in action, and he described the stranger as a guy wearing a gas mask and headphones. Respectfully, Charm asked for permission to take his photo and was granted his wish.

Less than two years later Charm was directed to 5 Pointz by word of mouth and quickly became a regular, gathering material for his documentary. As a Brooklyn native, DJ Charm explains that until 2006 this iconic building and the 7 train had never been in his path, and it was on a creative expedition that he happened to stumble onto this property. This man went from not even knowing of this place’s existence to being in its proximity almost daily. Building a reputation among the members of this artistic community, he started to paint along side them learning various techniques and his visits became more frequent. After bonding with artists at 5 Pointz, he was inevitably introduced formally to the curator himself, Meres One. As it turns out, the mystery man Charm photographed just years ago was Meres, the mind behind 5 Pointz, and he had the picture to prove it. That coincidence, combined with the rancid humor between Meres, and members of the 5 Pointz family endeared Charm even more to the group and from that day forward he was a permanent fixture within the family.

But the benefit of joining this family wasn’t single sided; Charm contributed his skills as well. Over the course of a few years he crafted and honed in on a rare and unique style of aerosol art known as stenciling. In fact, he eventually possessed such skill in this medium that he made a stencil painting of the photo he took that day on Nevins Street and gave it to Meres. Various self taught techniques plus the advice of another local artist friend of Charm’s “Jer Eye” helped DJ Charm to layer stencils giving an image that 3-D effect. Each layer is sprayed onto the layer before. The stencil mentioned earlier consists of about ten layers, and is of course Meres’ favorite. Charm being the educator that he is walked him through the process, and now they both feature this incredible style of art in their work on appropriate occasions.

Serving as one more beam of support for this building, Charm says he has no idea where life will take him, but if plans to transform 5 Pointz into a museum pan out his future will be here. He would be glad to continue performing as a tour guide or even as a Hip-Hop History instructor if the opportunity arises. He has always been conscience of the historical context of things and records life for the prosperity of it as he says. It’s as if each step he takes is documented as a scene to a movie. Over the course of his career, DJ Charm was signed to Atlantic Records in the 90s as a rapper and producer; he traveled the world as a disc jockey, and has captured over 80 hours of video, and between 50-60 thousand pictures of 5 Pointz alone. And that’s not mentioning that he’s also mastered the art of stenciling being featured in two shows, Visual Slang and Street Crush. Chances are if you’ve seen a picture of 5 Pointz on the internet, he has had something to do with it.

It’s no wonder why our gratitude runs so deep for our protective Charm; keep doing what you do, and don’t stop until it’s over.


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