Brooklyn artist Steve Wasterval loves Greenpoint, his New York neighborhood in the borough of Brooklyn. He loves it so much, in fact, that he paints tiny Impressionist-style street scenes of it for its residents to find.
Wasterval, 40, started the weekend art treasure hunt about three years ago but put it on pause for a few months because of the coronavirus pandemic.
But once residents started to become more comfortable with going outside, he decided to hide his “mini masterpieces” again for his neighbors to find.
“People went crazy for it,” said Wasterval. “It’s like the pause made everybody appreciate it more. They were more excited about it and more eager to go outside and look for it.”
Wasterval said he sends emails and posts on Instagram a picture of the painting in front of the spot where they are hidden and offers clues for people to go searching for them.
His full-sized paintings sell for between $2,000 to $3,000 but Wasterval stressed how important it was to keep his mini paintings of Greenpoint – done on a 2 x 1.5-inch (5 x 4 cm)canvas – free.
“It’s free because you can only find it in the scavenger hunt and you can’t buy them and you can’t commission them,” he said. “And lots of people ask. I keep it that you can’t get it to keep it exclusive and special.”
Wasterval said he often thinks of the person finding one of his miniatures.
“With every person that’s found a mini, the two of us did this sort of little game together where they didn’t know me before… and now they know who I am and what I do, and I know a little bit about them. It’s a lot of fun.”