Nas Co-Signs Nas Mural
"We have to be our own heroes." -Nas
Photo: Keegan Stephan
An aerosol portrait paying homage to Nas was recently painted near Queensbridge Houses, the rapper’s hometown stomping grounds. The public art was done by Jorit Agoch, an Italian muralist known for his large-scale, highly technical, hyperrealistic paintings. “I always do portrait murals and I grew up in hip hop culture, so it was natural for me do a portrait of a big rapper from NY like Nas,” says Agoch to Mass Appeal.
With an assist from Queens artists Eli Eos, Lawrence “MYSE” Hosannah and Benny “FCEE” Guerra, Agoch added excruciating details to make the piece look as much like Nasir Jones as possible with one very deliberate exception: Agoch’s placement of two tribal-like scars on the hip hop legend’s cheek. It’s an ongoing motif that ties all the subjects of his work together into one “human tribe” according to the artist, and was inspired by his travels in Africa.
Mass Appeal reached out to Nas to hear what he thinks about the “Queensmatic” tribute. “I really appreciate the piece,” writes Nas in an email. “Peace to the artists who put their all into it. I hope my community always looks at this mural and thinks ‘he’s one of us.’ Because I always will be. We have to be our own heroes. Every one of us has the ability to be that.”
Agoch has been on a tear lately, creating his graffiti-style portraits all over New York City of well-known people and locals alike. In an interview, he gave some insight into why he likes doing portraits. “I think that the face, it is the most important and significant part of the human spirit,” explained Jorit. “I used to paint all different kinds of people all over the world, and I think that the differences between so many people are less than we typically think.”
The mural is located at 21st Street and 40th Avenue in Long Island City and is officially Nas approved.