The draft riots were the culmination of a deep disquiet of the destitute social classes of New York. The last straw was the Conscription Act, which enabled the rich to elude the war by paying 300 dollars – back then the yearly income of a worker. It was a class and a race riot and its targets the powerful New York profit-seekers as well as the marginalized black population. We encounter events that question the image of an always tolerant and open-minded country to emigrate. Among other sources Gephart used books such as „Low Life“ by Luc Sante, „Gangs of New York“ by Herbert Asbury, Peter Quinn´s „Banished Children of Eve“ and the reports and images of police photographer Jacob Riis as sources for his ideas.
Felix Gephart draws with the spray-can. Combining narrative and conceptual approaches of illustration, his historic interpretations are large-sized canvases with spray-can and acrylics, executed free-hand without stencils or projections. Gephart´s work is based on his graffiti background but also on figurative drawing and evokes the look of techniques such as lino-cut and aquatint. Classic figuration meets contemporary graffiti. Felix Gephart illustrates his own text in „Wicked New York“. The book will be published this fall.