Felix Morelo’s work is about breaking social barriers, says the Latin-American artist who lived in Colombia until the age of eleven. Now living in New York City, Morelo, 50, formerly an art instructor who makes a living selling his work, is known throughout various parks in Manhattan as “the good luck guy” because of the chalk circles he draws on the ground that often say “Good Luck Spot.”
Seemingly inconsequential, the areas he marks off on the pavement do not merely serve as decoration. Morelo creates literal meeting spots which call upon their observers to stop and interact with others around them before the chalk is washed away in the rain.
Inspired after watching “Exit Through the Gift Shop,” a documentary directed by the street artist Bansky, Morelo began using chalk as a medium for his street work. He explains that chalk is also both cheap and legal. Initially drawing trails of faces on the ground, Morelo realized that his work should lead its viewers somewhere. So he began placing “Good Luck Spot” at the end of these trails.
Not all of the circles represent good luck. Walking through Tompkins Square Park, one of the many municipal areas Morelo works in, New Yorkers will see “bad luck spot” written in some circles, “hugging spot,” “kissing spot” and “screaming spot” among other, oftentimes explicit, gestures.
The artist explains that the circles work as a social progression.
“Imagine you’re on a first date, it’s always awkward, so you see the hugging spot, it breaks that tension. You give each other a hug, then you consider moving to the kissing spot.”
In addition to his chalk work, Morelo paints colorful murals along with postcard-sized “good luck spot” pieces which he sells out of a portable, shoebox-sized “store” that he recently added lights to.
While Morelo has been creating his social circles since 2012, his work resonates particularly post-pandemic as New Yorkers attempt to find a sense of civic normalcy.
When asked why he does the “Bad Luck Spots,” Morelo said, “That is how life is. There’s the good and the bad. I think that all societies have something like that. In China, they have the yin and yang.”
At Union Square, a group of students jumped into a hugging spot. Referencing the social impact of the pandemic, one student said, “I feel like I forgot how to talk to people. This is exactly what we need.”