A graffiti-filled celebration of the vernal equinox

To celebrate the vernal equinox on March 19, Equinox Sports Clubs partnered with art innovators Secret Walls on a series of happenings. The events took place on the basketball courts of all six locations—Chicago, Los Angeles, New York City, Southern California, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C.—and the highlight was the exhilarating, one-on-one graffiti competitions. Inspired by the theme of the equinox, when day and night are in balance, the artists had 45 minutes and a large canvas to create pieces. The winner was determined by audience applause. Secret Walls (previously known as Secret Wars) started in 2006 in a bar in East London. “We saw there was a lot of [artistic] talent not being seen in galleries, so we started Secret Wars as a bit of a joke,” says founder Terry Guy, who describes the competitions as “visual rap battles”. From the first event, the concept was a hit, and before long they were touring the UK, Europe, and the globe. “The Equinox collaboration gives us a chance to showcase the world of live art to a whole new audience,” says Guy, “Equinox has beautiful venues that lend themselves perfectly to a pop-up event of this nature.” In advance of the celebrations, Furthermore connected with some of the competing artists. Here, a gallery of the evening’s creations:

Photography by: Steven Freeman, Leah Haydock and Lauren Wilbanks

“[Secret Walls] is a very fun and lively event. If you lose, you want to get better. If you win, you want to get better. It's something the art scene needs and a great chance for artists to get out of their quiet, lonely comfort zone and grow.” -@goldenrabbitsilentmonkey (Washington, D.C.)

“I love the live aspect and performance part of Secret Walls. Artists spend a lot of time creating work in a studio setting or behind the scenes, so to draw and paint in front of a live crowd really creates a completely different energy. It’s a lot of fun and really gets the adrenaline going.” -@mattcorradoart (Washington, D.C.)

“It’s great to meet interesting artists and challenge yourself to collaborate with different styles.” -@keydetail (New York City)

“My favorite part of the event is how the mural battle is completed using only black paint on a white surface. It's a return to the fundamentals of ink drawing on paper.” -@mrnvr (Boston)

“I particularly love the real-time interactions I'm able to have during mural battles between myself, other artists, and the audience—the creative energy exchange between all of us is so invigorating and unique, it can't be found anywhere else.” -@jcorptm (New York City)