It's notoriously tough to break into the city's art scene, but one paralyzed artist has managed to do it by using the city as his canvas. Our Michael Scotto has the story.
With every spray of paint, artist BD White tries to hang on to an ex-girlfriend who has moved on.
"It was cathartic in a way because you don't want to let go of what you had before," White said. "It's a way of kind of prolonging what you don't have anymore."
It's the first time, White says, that his life has inspired his work.
But in many ways, a single moment 15 years ago is the reason he is now a painter.
White was just days away from his high school graduation in Connecticut when a pole vault jump went terribly wrong.
"There was no bar to gauge how far I was going," White said. "So I just let go of the pole like I was doing a full real jump and then I came right down into the metal box and broke my back.
The accident left him paralyzed. Bored and depressed, White, who grew up painting, picked up a brush.
White soon moved to the city, hoping to make it as an artist.
But after galleries showed no interest in his work, he realized he would have to get creative.
Wheeling around after dark, using stencils and spray paint to create art on a canvas within reach, the bottom of lampposts.
White gained a following on social media, leading to his first gallery show, a meditation on his bad breakup. It has its roots in street art.
Created using dozens of stencils, and layers of paint, each piece is an exacting, painstaking work of art.
"I wanted to make it so that if you were standing back from it maybe ten or so feet you won't know it was a stencil painting and just a regular brush painting," White said. "And you got up close to it, you could actually see the lines and say, oh, man, that's done with stencils."
While White has gone mainstream — his paintings sell for thousands of dollars — he has not left street art behind, only now he obtains the permission of building owners first.
"One of the reasons I like painting out in public is that you get to talk with the community," White said.
It's a reminder of how he got his start.
But White says it would be wrong to think he's fixated on the past — even if his most recent work suggests he is.
"That's what I learned from the wheelchair," he said. "It's always about looking forward, moving on and seeing what happens next rather than trying to dwell much on the past.
Always optimistic that each day, and each painting, will be better.