Studio Visits

Danielle Mastrion Gives Spike Lee’s Masterpiece a Brooklyn-Style Tribute


Brooklyn native Danielle Mastrion draws a great deal of inspiration from the city that she calls home—and also often uses it as her canvas. A socially conscious, classically trained painter who taught herself to work in aerosol, Mastrion has, over the last decade, channeled the pulse of urban life into lovingly detailed oil paintings, striking murals all over the world, and commissions for major brands such as Starbucks and Budweiser. But there’s no better venue for taking in her work than the streets of New York. Mastrion’s large-scale outdoor art has adorned the walls of Queens’s late, great graffiti monument 5Pointz; the historic Luna Park amusement park in her native Coney Island; and now, for Criterion, Spike Lee’s production offices in Fort Greene, Brooklyn.

For our thirtieth-anniversary release of Lee’s Brooklyn-set Do the Right Thing, we asked Mastrion—who has worked on previous projects with Lee, including a mural commemorating Prince (pictured below)—to paint a mural on the bricks of the borough, in addition to two works on canvas depicting the single Bed-Stuy street where the film’s action unfolds. In the latest installment of our Studio Visits series, you can see the high-spirited artist hard at work on her amazingly vibrant cover image, which incorporates the original lettering from the film’s theatrical poster. (Her mural can still be seen outside the 40 Acres and a Mule headquarters today.) The video above also finds the artist talking about her long-standing love for Lee’s film, and her desire to capture its heat-wave atmosphere—and details down to the characters’ sneakers—in the lively street scenes she painted for the edition’s interior packaging.