Painting the town! Artists cover Monster Island in farewell statement

Painting the town! Artists cover Monster Island in farewell statement
Photo by Stefano Giovannini

They’re going off island.

Williamsburg’s dying do-it-yourself arts scene lost its sanctuary this month when Monster Island announced it would close on Oct. 1 after its landlord did not renew its lease after seven years on River Street.

The two-story complex perched at the edge of the East River served as the home of an art collective, art studios, a screenprinting lab, the Mollusk Surf Shop, and countless parties, exhibition openings and concerts featuring some of the city’s most renowned indie rock bands.

To mourn their closing, artist Maya Hayuk and two dozen volunteers scaled the roof and dumped more than 60 cans of acrylic down the side of the building on Sunday afternoon — with permission of the building’s landlord.

Hayuk, who has supervised dozens of murals on the outside of Monster Island, has wanted to pour paint onto the building since she moved in seven years ago, but realized she needed a lot more help.

The result was a drippy cross between the scholarly drip work of Jackson Pollock and a Nickelodeon TV sliming.

”It felt like the simplest action that would be a proverbial curtain drawn over the project — enclosing it rather than seeing a wrecking ball go through,” said Hayuk. “It didn’t feel destructive to me — it felt like we had ownership over the outcome of the artwork we make.”

Hayuk is moving her studio off Manhattan Avenue in East Williamsburg while the group’s art collective, Secret Project Robot, will move to its new home on Melrose Street in Bushwick next month.

Here’s hoping that the opening party is a bit drier.