The globe-trotting British street artist Phlegm had, inexplicably, never painted a mural in New York City until earlier this month, when he created three massive paintings in a playground in Chelsea on West 17th Street between Ninth and Tenth avenues (see below), and added a playful figure to Know Hope’s mural on East Second Street between Bowery and Second Avenue (above).
“Know Hope painted the character on the right lifting the blue earlier this year,” Phlegm wrote on his blog. “I couldn’t pass the opportunity to add one of my characters giving his a helping hand.” By comparison to the dancing figures in the East Village, the Chelsea murals are massive.
The three pieces, painted in Phlegm’s trademark black-and-white palette, each rise to about three stories, and feature lanky, hunched-over figures operating fantastical steampunk machinery. The most moving, at far right (see below), towers over a memorial mural to an eleven-year-old girl, whose image two figures seem to be calling heaven-ward.
Meanwhile the most intricate of the three Chelsea murals, at left (below), has four characters figures crafting a giant globe out of small houses, like worker ants building a hill, gods creating a planet, or some other form of large-scale labor set in a dreamlike landscape.
— Benjamin Sutton