How & Nosm's Houston Street Tribute to Tony Goldman Through the Lens of Martha Cooper
Identical twins How & Nosm, were born in Spain, raised in Germany and permanently moved to NYC in 1999. After joining the legendary TATS CRU in the Bronx, they honed their spray painting skills on a wide variety of surfaces all over the city. For the past few years, they’ve experimented with a limited palette of black, white and shades of red, adding brushes and stencils to their repertoire.
The twins are upbeat but their intricate compositions often depict death and destruction with accents of blood throughout. They began painting their mural on Houston Street just two days after Hurricane Sandy hit NY. The neighborhood around the wall was without electricity, shops were shuttered and even the traffic lights were off. Unfazed, the twins finished the mural in record time. They titled their piece, “The Day After”.
Watching them paint was fascinating. Working from a rough sketch, they started at opposite ends of the long wall outlining complicated figures within figures in black with tiny brushes and spray paint. They rarely spoke to each other or even looked at each other’s work but it was impossible for me to distinguish a difference in style. Their combined style is original and instantly identifiable and somehow they both can paint in exactly the same way. Must be a twin thing.
The Houston Street wall has become the most prestigious and famous street art location in the world. In 2008 Jeffrey Deitch teamed up with the owner of the wall, Tony Goldman to recreate a mural Keith Haring painted in 1982 for what would have been Keith’s 50th birthday. Tony decided to continue the project by inviting prominent street artists to put work there. Since 2009 the wall has been painted or wheat pasted by Os Gemeos, OBEY, Barry McGee, Kenny Scharf, JR , Faile, Retna and Aiko. In the process, Tony became one of street arts’ biggest fans and supporters. Sadly he did not live to see How & Nosm’s wall but I’m pretty sure he would have loved it. It is a spectacular mural and a fine tribute to his legacy.
Text and Photo: Martha Cooper