The Art Of The Great Franco Gaskin, The “Picasso Of Harlem”

May 14, 2015


Franco Gaskin, known in Harlem and around the world as “Franco The Great” and “The Picasso of Harlem,” first moved to Harlem in 1958 from Panama.

After the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr in 1968, he had the idea of turning Harlem storefronts that were outfitted with metal gates to reduce crime into things of beauty.


Gaskin spent the next 35 years beautifying those gates with murals—over 200 to be exact (from the West to the East Side of 125th Street), 125th street is unofficially known as “Franco’s Blvd.”

franco the great2

When asked why he started painting, Gaskin replied, “I did it for love, I did it for beauty, and I did it for 125th Street”

By submitting this form, you are consenting to receive marketing emails from: Harlem World Magazine, 2521 1/2 west 42nd street, Los Angeles, CA, 90008, You can revoke your consent to receive emails at any time by using the SafeUnsubscribe® link, found at the bottom of every email. Emails are serviced by Constant Contact

franco mural 4

He told ArtInFact Mag that  “It was like a prison camp,” he said. “The street was a sea of gates — messy and forbidding and covered with gigantic graffiti.”

franco the great6

“All I’ve done in the last 35 years is all for Harlem… it’s been forgotten.”


Franco-the-Great8g11024208336-da23d1f1-b201-43e9-bede-d1d1db177b0c“People told me I was wasting my time and that I should be using my talents downtown. My response was that Harlem needs some beauty.”

His work can be seen in Africa, Japan, France, Central America, Canada, Spain and Brasil. Franco welcomes the world, to his creation on steel gates.

We're your source for local coverage, we count on your support. SUPPORT US!
Your support is crucial in maintaining a healthy democracy and quality journalism. With your contribution, we can continue to provide engaging news and free access to all.
accepted credit cards

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Related Articles