Artist Danielle Mastrion has just breathed new life into the snake, turtle and egg sprinklers at Lenape Playground in Marine Park (aka “Snake Park”) at Avenue U and East 37th Street, painting the once old and worn looking sculptures with vibrant colors and playful patterns.
Mastrion, 39, who grew up a few blocks away from the park and frequented it often as a child, is an accomplished muralist who has been painting her entire life and professionally for about 10 years.
According to Mastrion, she has completed hundreds of these striking murals, mostly on a large scale and appearing in all five boroughs with most in Brooklyn, but also nationally and internationally.
“I think this might be the first sculpture I’ve painted,” said Mastrion. “Most people see me doing flat, kind of two-dimensional stuff so it’s kind of cool to see me do something a little bit different.”
Mastrion initially reached out to Marine Park Alliance in December because she knew that there weren’t many murals in Marine Park and wanted to do this project. The nonprofit agreed to commission the work after receiving agreement from the Parks Department by early spring.
Despite nursing a broken finger she has been rehabbing since February and scorching 10-hour days in the sun, Mastrion worked tirelessly from July 9th to July 23rd to complete the project.
“This is actually pretty fun for me because I’m freestyling it,” Mastrion said.
As a portrait painter, she wanted the head and tail of the snake to look realistic and kept the diamond pattern so it wouldn’t be too unfamiliar for people. She chose bright colors to make people feel happy.
“Even though they may not necessarily understand the piece, humans just have a natural response to color,” she said. “Like when it’s a beautiful blue day, versus a gray day, you feel different.”
Some of Mastrion’s works in Brooklyn include the mural in Shirley Chisholm State Park, visible from the Belt Parkway, and numerous murals in Coney Island, including the 150-foot long “Welcome to Coney Island” mural, one of her largest, completed in June. Other works can be seen on her Instagram account @daniellebknyc.