Graffiti artist turns tennis courts into colorful canvases

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The U.S. Open is underway in Queens but has already left its mark in Brooklyn. In honor of the 50th anniversary of the tennis tournament, eight courts in Cypress Hills have transformed into works of art. Puerto Rican graffiti artist Sen2 Figueroa created the colorful courts in Highland Park in three 12-hour days.

"It's really difficult when you are painting on the floor," he said. "I go like that to my house. Oh, my body. I'm 49 years old, My body's like shaking."

The United States Tennis Association commissioned Sen2 to bring enthusiasm through color to support youth tennis.

"You never know. This little kid plays tennis. You never know the little kids say, 'You know what I like art,'" Figueroa said. "I want to do art, And you inspire the kid to do something better for the future."

Figueroa has been creating graffiti art for the last 31 years.

"The people know me from graffiti," he said. "The evolution that I am doing now is graffiti pop abstract."

The USTA first commissioned Figueroa last year to paint a U.S. Open sign that became an Instagram hit.

"People at the U.S. Open said 'graffiti? I don't want people painting on my court,'" Figueroa said. "I changed it—'No, that's art.'"

Figueroa's canvas pieces are now created in his Bronx studio with acrylic paints and pens along with the traditional spray cans. His works are sold in galleries in Europe, a long way from spray painting the tunnels and walls of the Bronx.

"I go to many times to central booking for graffiti. You don't care," Figueroa said. "That's something you like, something you wanted. That's a challenge."

For now, Figueroa hopes his work inspires folks through the U.S. Open.

"This guy doing something like this. One day I want to do it bigger," Figueroa said. "And that's the point."