Colorful L.E.S. characters are ready and waiting for crayons

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Harold Hunter in the new coloring book “Legends of The Lower East Side.” After making a name for himself as a skateboarder in Tompkins Square Park, he appeared in the 1995 movie “Kids.”
By DAVID AUSTIN  |  Representing the ultimate correlation between hard work and hard fun, and bridging the gap between youth and age, “Legends Of The Lower East Side” seeks to highlight both the diversity of the neighborhood as well as the multifaceted and truly timeless characters that dot the streets between 14th St. and the Brooklyn Bridge. From the timeless soul music of Luther Vandross to the high-energy skateboard skronk of Harold Hunter, the Lower East Side lives and breathes through this book.

This project began as a bit of a laugh between three guys talking it out at the Outlaw Art Museum on Essex St. Clayton Patterson had this idea of publishing books on his own, the dream of getting the gears of the machine turning hot during the brutal summer months. Troy Harris and Orlando Bonilla saw the spark in the idea…but what to publish? The answer is now before you, as 24 pages of the joy of the creative process sprawl out for you to color in.

Before you go about setting markers and crayons to these pages, give your itching fingers a break and take a look at the intricate shading and fine inks of Bonilla. Admire how he captures the essence of his subjects, finding the unholy balance between fine and street art.

One must also take into account the endless hours of discussions, visions, planning and dreaming that both Patterson and Harris put out there in order to achieve the end result. This project completely embodies the true love for the neighborhood and all of its ghosts that Patterson and Harris express in all of their work. From book publishing to filmmaking, their work stands on its own as authentic documentation of an era that still lives on, even if time — and gentrification — seeks to take it all away.

Sadly, several of the subjects contained herein are no longer with us. While this project was conceived in fun, keep in mind that we may never see the likes of Harold Hunter or Dash Snow again. Everybody in this book stands equal among their fellow giants, and “Legends Of The Lower East Side” is a reminder of the importance of every human life and that their important contributions to the culture of the Lower East Side (and thus, the world) are not forgotten.

So, enjoy the work…feel the passion…grab your favorite coloring utensils and get to coloring. Make your own art.