15. Tribute to Michael Stewart
1985, 10’ x 25’
Chico knew Michael Stewart “from the community. He was a great person. He had a lot of ability and talent and he was well respected. Everyone was shocked and outraged by his death. In the 1980s, graffiti was unaccepted as an art. It took three decades to prove graffiti is an art. A lot of young writers need support and understanding. They need to be respected for their talent, for the art we all have within us. Graffiti is an art, not a crime.”
In Tribute to Michael Stewart, Chico shows a subway car, representing the L train in the First Avenue station where Stewart was arrested. Looking at Chico’s tag, the two transit police raise their nightsticks, foretelling the beating they would soon unleash on Stewart. In Marlis Momber’s photograph of Chico in front of an earlier version of the mural, the transit cops hold drawn guns. At the far right, Chico portrays Stewart intent on creating an image.