“He may not be Banksy, but he’s all I’ve got”: AITO work in Leake Street

It’s been over four months now since I started my daily photographic routine in Leake St. There is fascinating activity happening there every day, but one less usual occurrence is stencil-based work. Freehand-drawn graffiti dominates the tunnel spatially, visually and stylistically, so when stencils do appear, they immediately feel frail and out of place.

One artist who has had the courage to repeatedly put up stencil work in the tunnel is Aito, whose pieces seem to appear there at regular intervals, although they never last long.


His work often looks like a meditation on time and the human condition. The piece above might mean an entirely different thing (I can’t read Japanese), though there is a feeling of resignation in the body posture.

This other guy sees himself as a chicken when he looks in the mirror/ portal, and he’s about to get suffocated in tags.


Here is Aito putting up work:


… and the finished piece:


Another wall that caught my eye was of this failed peace attempt-


–  which was given a great addition the following day, making it seem more like a part of the tunnel environment:


Now give yourselves a split second and observe the difference between this photo and the one below. Stuff grows on these walls all the time, it almost seems to come from within, spilling onto the surfaces and covering everything in its way.


What made me post this today though was Aito’s most recent piece which I found on my regular photoshoot early in the day.


It’s a slightly tacky picture of a painter who dropped his colours and brushes (notice them on the pavement) and got lost in an embrace with the woman he was painting.


And, because October is Banksy month in NY and all over the Internet, I will end with the timely contribution which made me laugh out loud this morning: “He may not be Banksy, but he’s all I’ve got…”



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