From the Queens Ledger:
When Paola Belotti attended a barbecue that was hosted in the alleyway behind Maspeth Discount Liquors some years back, she was distracted by the graffiti covering the surrounding walls, particularly the atrocities on the back wall of 56-05 69th Street.
After befriending the owner, she volunteered to cover the graffiti and paint a simple picture on the wall, selecting a Tuscan landscape because, as she pointed out, Tuscany is the place that comes to mind when people think of wine.
After painting the landscape, Belotti felt there was too much green in the mural, so she added more details characteristic of the region: cypress trees, vineyards, terracotta pottery, a lemon tree, a little villa in the distance.
“I know Tuscany and I know what looks good in a big space like this,” said the native of Lake Como, Italy. “I have an idea in my mind, but during my work it comes together little by little.”
Belotti, a textile designer by profession, studied fine arts in Italy and paints only as a hobby, but her artistic skill is evident in the detail of her landscape mural. Certain aspects of the picture look almost three-dimensional.
“The colors are like Tuscany and it’s really like this, with the rolling hills,” she said. “Everybody has joked they want to be inside the picture.”
The completion of the mural took Belotti at least two weeks. She realizes all her hard work will have gone to waste if her painting gets defaced, but she remains optimistic.
“Who does graffiti? In some way they are artists too,” said Belotti. “I think when they see something nice, they will respect it…I hope.”