By Rory Lambert-Wright for BCN #135
May 12, 2021
A graff shop is to the graffiti artist what the skate shop is to the skateboarder. It’s a supply shop, but it’s also a support network and community resource for the artists surrounding it. When Kulturez, one of the last graff shops in the Boston area left Harvard square in 2015, it dealt a blow to these artists. This is where the grassroots paint shop AOA (Avenue of Art) Supply stepped up to fill the vacuum. The crew of street artists and muralists had been selling supplies through a pop-up shop on Huntington Avenue when they recognized their potential as a valuable resource beyond the merchandise they were offering. They began by expanding their inventory and making sales of art pieces, paint, and other merchandise online. Then they formally established themselves as a collective, which is headed by artists MAR, JB183, Doe, and Eyevan.
The work of the group speaks for itself. They’ve produced eye-catching pieces like the Dudley Square Black Lives Matter street mural and the CityPop project covering the vacant house on 192 Green Street in Jamaica Plain. But MAR says that AOA supply’s priority and purpose is to support the Boston street art scene and the artists that make it up. The collective provides essential materials, but it is also a cultural hub for collaborations, gigs, and exchanging art- a grassroots response to the loss of institutions which once provided them resources they now aim to share. Soon, they will begin selling their products through the Dorchester Art Project store at 1486 Dorchester Avenue; closer to the community where AOA’s founders reside and create.