Bill Rancic Defends His Wife Giuliana After Fashion Police Controversy: 'I Tried to Get Them to Release the Footage' 42 years, 2,191 covers and 55,436 stories from PEOPLE magazine's history for you to enjoy
- Cincinnati Police Investigating Family of Boy Who Fell Into Gorilla Enclosure
- Read the Cover Story: Steve Harvey: From Homeless to Having It All
- Ronnie Wood Welcomes Twin Daughters Gracie Jane and Alice Rose
- Kristen Bell Opens Up About Her Struggles with Depression: 'I Felt Worthless'
- 10 Collar Necklaces Your Favorite LBD Needs Right Now
On Newsstands Now
- Matthew McConaughey: In His Own Words
- Jessa Duggar's Wedding Album
- Brittany Maynard's Final Days
Pick up your copy on newsstands
Click here for instant access to the Digital Magazine
People Top 5
LAST UPDATE: Tuesday February 10, 2015 01:10PM EST
PEOPLE Top 5 are the most-viewed stories on the site over the past three days, updated every 60 minutes
- October 06, 1980
- Vol. 14
- No. 14
Artist Franco Gaskin Gives the Brush to Drab Harlem with a Colorful Gallery of Riot Gates
In the past year and a half Gaskin has converted more than 30 doorways into radiant tropical isles, shimmering lakes and rain forests. Incredibly, not one of them has been defaced by graffiti. He paints on Sundays and early weekday mornings before the stores open, using specially blended acrylics and handmade brushes. It takes 12 to 48 hours to transform the front of a record shop, boutique or jewelry store. The cost is $350 upward, depending on how complicated the subject is.
"Until Franco came along," marvels one shopkeeper, "125th Street looked like a battleground. Now it's an alfresco art gallery." "Somebody's got to care for Harlem," reasons Franco. "Slowly but surely its image is changing to something more positive."
Much of Gaskin's work recalls his native Panama, where his father was a U.S. Marine and his mother a dressmaker. As a boy, Gaskin dubbed himself "Franco the Great" to promote a magic act. At 16, he apprenticed to two artists in Panama, the Bruce brothers, and the next year he was painting billboards, posters and murals for $1.50 a week. He had no other training. "Public reaction was my art school," he contends. Gaskin moved to New York 22 years ago and subsisted by painting murals for restaurants and bars and selling what art he could. At the time he saw himself "on a big scale, not in terms of money, but in terms of opportunity."
Today, Gaskin and wife Alverna live with their son, 20, and daughter, 17, just around the corner from his "outdoor gallery." He has a backlog of requests and will continue to change the face of 125th Street until they run out. "When I paint," he says, "it feels better than good. It's a constant song."
Treat Yourself! 4 Preview Issues
The most buzzed about stars this minute!