Block Party at Walton Avenue; Photo courtesy of John Ahearn.

Block Party at Walton Avenue; Photo by Ivan Dalla Tana.

John Ahearn and his identical twin Charlie (“Wild Style”) attended St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic elementary school and created a mural of the Crusades for the back of their sixth-grade class. As an artist downtown in the 1970s, John Ahearn was preparing a monster movie and he learned to life-cast faces of his friends.  In 1979, he did face-casting in the window at Fashion Moda in the Bronx and drew crowds. The lifecast portraits were hung along the walls of Fashion Moda as the “South Bronx Hall of Fame”.

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Seventeen-year-old high school student Rigoberto Torres saw the relief portraits at Fashion Moda and understood a connection to his Uncle Raul’s Bronx statuary factory. He and Ahearn formed an art partnership that continues to this day. During the 1980s they developed community casting workshops in the Bronx that produced several permanent neighborhood sculpture murals. A survey exhibition of this work titled “South Bronx Hall of Fame,” was organized by the Contemporary Arts Center, Houston in 1991 which traveled to museums in Europe and North America.

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Ahearn speaks about those early years in the South Bronx, as he began collaborating with neighborhood locals on an iconic series of portraits that would come define the era so powerfully.

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Read the Full Story at NYC, 1981

‘Double Dutch’ at Banana Kelly, 1982. Courtesy of John Ahearn..

‘Double Dutch’ at Banana Kelly, 1982. Courtesy by Ivan Dalla Tana.

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