Franco The Great !
Mr. Franco Gaskin, aka "Franco the Great" and also known as the "Picasso of Harlem" is a world famous artist internationally known also for his New Art form. When Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated in 1968, there were riots in the streets. The reaction from Harlem storeowners was the introduction of dreary looking metal gates on the storefronts. In 1978, Franco took it upon himself to change a negative into a positive by creating a new art form on the steel gates. From then on to present, he has used Sundays, when stores are closed, to paint over 200 gates from the West to the East Side of 125th street." Because of his amazing paintings on the metal storefront gates, 125th Street in Harlem is unofficially known as "Franco's Blvd."
On most Sundays, you can find Franco on 125th Street greeting tourists. His joy is making his community a more pleasant place through his artwork and the warmth that he displays for everyone. Through his exposure to the numerous tourists on 125th street, Franco has received many invitations to paint wall murals in other countries such as France, Germany, Switzerland, Japan, Caribbean Islands and several African countries. His works found throughout New York City and in other countries include murals in schools, nurseries, bars and nightclubs. Mr. Gaskin is known to New Yorkers and out-of-towners, and has attracted tourists and tour groups to Harlem for years. He is a regular stop on the Manhattan tour conducted by a number of European travel agencies.