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Stalking De La Vega

By UrbanAnthropod, June 8, 2010 9:49 pm

Anyone who lives or works near Spanish Harlem is sure to have come across spontaneous chalk drawings accompanied by mysterious axioms instructing one to “Become your dream”. James De La Vega is a fixture in the neighborhood despite being moved down to the East Village. And for the longest time, he was just an apparition to me who only existed in chalk that suddenly appeared before me.

His works can be seen as murals:

Mural no longer at 103rd and Madison

His works are sometimes fleeting:

a De La Vega in snow

His works can be found on refuse:

a De La Vega on a trashed washer

But more often than not, his works are found on pavement in chalk:

De La Vega on the sidewalk

So having come in contact with him on multiple occasions through his art, I finally saw him in person today at the Museum Mile Festival. Before the start of the festival, he had decorated areas of the sidewalk with his trademark fish drawings. But as the street was closed off to traffic, I caught up with him decorating 5th Avenue and followed him down the length of Museum Mile.


He mostly walked from block to block with a small entourage of followers and fashioned his images across the avenue. Small children watched from the side, but some took part in the action as well. As he got up from his finished drawings he would often turn around and hand the remainder of his chalk to an onlooking child.

De La Vega in action:

I’m just glad that I saw him in action in person. Working near Spanish Harlem, I’ve always been fascinated by this mysterious fixture of El Barrio. I’ve been meaning to make my way down to his shop, but never made a good effort to do so. Maybe this encounter is the impetus I needed. See all my De La Vega tag at Flickr.

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  4. NY Comic Con
  5. Lost in space

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