José Parlá, Barclays Center Muralist

Stretching 70 feet long and 10 feet high, it has greeted countless visitors entering the arena, a cloudlike scroll of graffiti-esqe squiggles and personal inscriptions.

“It’s supposed to be a diary,” Mr. Parlá, 39, said in a high-speed patter. He looked urban-arty in a fedora, double-breasted coat and leather high-tops. “I hope people realize it’s full of language.” A closer look reveals words like “immigration,” “Brooklyn Is,” “Big Daddy Kane” and “Jay-Z.”

“I layered it all on there,” Mr. Parlá said. “The canvas is like a palimpsest.”

It’s a fitting word that also describes Mr. Parlá’s layered past. A Cuban-American who is as comfortable painting on the street as in a studio, he follows in the tradition of Jean-Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring,

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