Downtown Artist’s Work Arises From WTC ConstructionOct 10, 2011
With incredible views from the 48th floor of 7 World Trade Center, you might expect artist Marcus Robinson to paint the skyline. But instead, he is inspired by what what’s happening at ground level.
Since 2006, this Irish painter and filmmaker has been chronicling the construction at the World Trade Center site on video and canvas. He is one of several artists working inside 7 world trade, with the blessing of Silverstein Properties.
“I think there’s something about the process in urban transformation that in itself is an artistic process,” says Robinson. “It is just the most extraordinarily inspiring process in the world to be painting and drawing.” While Robinson’s film shows Towers 1 and 4 being built at warp speed, his paintings are more intimate.
The canvases allow viewers to get to know the workers, like how Robinson has done over the years. “This is a friend who I’ve known since the very start of the project, I know him as ‘Joey Rock Star,’ because he has ‘rock star’ written on side of his hard hat,” says Robinson as he goes through his artwork. “Here is a friend called Craig O’Brien who drives the Century petroleum truck.
Although it may not look exactly like him, this is a guy named Tommy Hickey, who with Mike O’Reilly are the two main iron workers on Tower 1.” Not only is Robinson inspired by the construction site, but he also uses material found there, including discarded board and surveyor’s paint.
“This color is a fluorescent red that is used very often to do some of the line markings by the surveyors, when they mark up where the partition rules are going to go,” says Robinson. So far, Robinson has done three large-scale paintings and hopes to do as many as 50 to tell the story of rebuilding the World Trade Center site.
Meanwhile, Robinson has also been commissioned by the National September 11th Memorial and Museum to a video piece on the “Tribute In Light” installation. It is just one more way he is capturing the spirit of the site.