Have you ever accidentally had the course of your day influenced by a large chalk circle labeled “Good Luck Spot” in Washington Square Park? Or, regrettably, by an equally large but significantly less jolly “Bad Luck Spot”?
After a brief stint in Colombia, Felix Morelo returned to his birthplace, New York City, on April 6, 1983. When he moved back to the states at the age of 11, he moved back alone.
Morelo started drawing faces young, but his interest in street art developed later on, when he returned to New York. Now, the artist has been recognized for the thousands of small chalk faces that he draws around Washington Square Park and Union Square, which is where he developed his nickname: “The Face Guy.”
“It’s a reflection of who you are,” Morelo responded when a passing couple questioned the story behind his artwork. “I don’t need to know your language or who you are. I can tell everything I need to know from the face.”
His art was going to center around the tiny portraits, or “spiritual babies” as Morelo calls them, until his friends recommended adding something at the end of the trail of faces. That was the conception of Morelo’s iconic Good Luck Spot.
“I don’t know how I came up with the idea for the Good Luck Spot,” Morelo said about this specific trademark. “I was going through a dark place and I wanted to take some time in my life to be positive. I thought, let me work on my relationships and be nicer to people.”
He draws for hours on end and said that one time he drew 2,156 faces in 13 hours and started having hallucinations. I told him that it seemed like an awful lot of work for chalk stains that would be washed away overnight.
“I do wish sometimes they were more permanent,” Morelo replied. “Take advantage of things while they’re here. Because nobody, nobody is gonna stick around.”
A version of this article appeared in the Monday, Sept. 11 print edition. Email Jemima McEvoy at [email protected]