Using discretionary funds from Councilman Stephen Levin, the Grand Street Business Improvement District (BID) hired the Grand Street-based company Owley to curate several public murals that reflect the neighborhood.
Rimx’s piece, “Olor a Azucenas el Perfume del Barrio,” will be the first in the mural series.
A Puerto Rican artist with roots in the Grand Street area, Rimx said his artwork was informed by his experience living in the neighborhood.
“The main inspiration for this mural is the hardworking people of the community,” he said. “The main figure in the image is inspired by a flower vendor in the metropolitan area of Puerto Rico who walks through all the communities around the San Juan area selling and spreading the beauty and scent of azucenas.
“These represent the connection between the island and the Brooklyn community,” Rinx added, “the cultural bridge that I continue constructing through my works of art.”
Rinx, who was born and raised in San Juan, moved to Brooklyn in 2009. He has been commissioned to produce several large murals in New York City, including in Bryant Park.
“The image coupled with the brownstone building details that are interwoven in his shirt represents the ‘home’ sentiment,” Rinx said. “Giving the feeling that no matter where I paint, there’s always a sense of home.”
The mural is currently being painted on the wall facing west toward the Key Food at 609 Grand Street, which will replace a previously graffiti-filled surface.
Owley is also producing a documentary on the Grand Street area, in addition to the murals.
Erin Piscopink, executive director of the Grand Street BID, said they are excited to transform Grand Street by commissioning the murak.
“What was once a plain, graffiti-coated wall, now brings vibrancy and color to the streetscape,” she said, “and shows the proud Puerto Rican heritage of the neighborhood while giving life to the local small business community.”