By Carmen Saffioti
Published: October 17th, 2018
On the Corner of Flatbush Avenue and Avenue H, there is a mural that is sure to catch your eye. Painted on the side of the H&R Block there is a rainbow of colors: blue, yellow, and pink that pop out from the muted brown buildings. The mural, which is titled “Little Kids,” depicts young girls, mostly girls of color, drawing with chalk. The images that these depicted girls drew were suns, smiley faces, stars, flowers, and hearts. It is an image of innocence amongst a corner of commercialism, poverty, and globalization. “Little Kids” is placed so that those walking or driving past can see it in a quick glance. This artwork is a pleasant break from the large department store ads such as Target or Home Goods or the concrete grey that dominates the intersection. Although most people who pass the mural often probably do not have the time to truly appreciate its meaning, they can still enjoy the aesthetic of it.
The pleasantness of the art piece lies in its simplicity. It only takes a few seconds to recognize the scene that is depicted. The beauty of the mural also comes from the sense of community it has. The mural is aware of the demographics of the neighborhood, and represents those demographics: there are black girls, Latina girls, and a girl with a hijab. The mural has a sense of resilience when placed in context of the setting of the mural. On that intersection, there are homeless people, overcrowded bus stops, and potholes. But there is also a long-standing community of hard working people. This mural emphasizes that even on the grimiest street corners with growing global commercialization, there is still beauty within the community. The girls on this mural beautify their neighborhood despite the challenges they may face. The mural, in this sense, is almost self-aware. The girls depicted are “drawing” on a wall on their community. Meanwhile, it was a young woman from Brooklyn who painted the mural itself.
The artist’s name is Danielle Mastrion, who is quite well-known in Brooklyn. All of her murals are very brightly colored and they all fit in well within the community they are placed. Mastrion’s style is meant to be noticed, her artwork pops out from pain colors of brick and concrete. In her Instagram (@daniellebknyc) she documents her artwork as well as the issues facing public street artists (such as the pending destruction of the 5POINTZ building). Overall, Mastrion’s work is intricate, yet easy to understand on first glance. It is aesthetically pleasing and often brightens up the communities where her murals are placed.
Mastrion’s artwork encourages a sense of community while bettering the community at the same time. “Little Kids” is a piece of positivity in a working-class neighborhood that suffers from neglect. The brightness of the mural is something illuminates the neighborhood and encourages creativity and betterment among its members. Mastrion’s artwork, in its simplicity and beauty, improves the aesthetic of the neighborhood.