A fresh look — and a tribute to our home town of Plainfield and the great state of New Jersey — greets you when you come to Queen City. The mural outside of our dispensary tells a story of artistry, vibrancy, and the spirit of our community. Get to know the backstory behind the Queen City mural from the artist, Danielle Mastrion. Learn what inspired this piece and the creative processes that brought this beautiful work of art to life.
The woman behind the brush: Meet Danielle Mastrion
Danielle Mastrion is a master muralist, painter, and street artist residing in Brooklyn. Her creative journey spans over a decade, with an impressive seven years dedicated to perfecting her craft as a full-time muralist. Mastrion’s work can be traced across the globe from South America to Coney Island and now, right here at Queen City Dispensary.
Our conversation with Mastrion unveiled the story behind her masterpiece, a mural that encapsulates the essence of community, transformation, and connection.
New Jersey’s tale unfolded through art
Drawing inspiration from the classic “Greetings From” postcards, the new mural at Queen City serves as a culmination of the shop leadership’s creative vision and Mastrion’s visual expertise. As a tribute to the state and neighborhood, the piece features famous NJ landmarks near and far to Plainfield. Iconic imagery as north as the George Washington Bridge and as south as the Cape May lighthouse grace the mural. And in a nod to Plainfield’s own Shakespeare Garden, tributes to the nearly 100-year-old Union County gem found their way into the mural.
The piece incorporates imagery of two icons connected to Plainfield: George Clinton of Parliament-Funkadelic, which was founded in Plainfield, and Jazz pianist Bill Evans, who was also born here. An old Victorian home, many of which still dot Plainfield’s streets, made its way into the mural as well. Blue violets, New Jersey’s state flower, serve as a bold backdrop for the “Queen City” lettering, while the yellow goldfinch, New Jersey’s state bird, keeps a watchful eye over the mural.
“The mural has the vintage classic feel… [where] the insides of the letters are about the town and New Jersey in general,” Mastrion explained. “I worked with the dispensary to find suggestions of good elements to represent New Jersey, then I went out to find the imagery and chose what was best to achieve this final look.”
While not a native of New Jersey herself, Mastrion is no stranger to the area, with family living close by.
“I’m coming and going to the Plainfield area all the time,” she said. “It worked out for me when painting the mural because — it was great to visit my family and stay with them while I finished the mural.”
Bridging art and community in Plainfield
The presence of a new dispensary can sometimes be met with apprehension and mixed emotions. Mastrion’s mural is a vibrant invitation for the community to see the dispensary as a positive addition to the city’s growth. The piece acts as a visual testament to art’s ability to impact the local community and reassures the town’s residents that Queen City is here to uplift the community, in more ways than one.
“Public art boosts people’s moods and makes you care more about your neighborhood and community,” said Mastrion. “A lot of times, in areas that don’t have a heavy mural or street art presence, it takes one mural to ‘kick off’ a public art phenomenon.”
In areas where murals or street art are less common, a single mural can serve as a powerful initiator, sparking transformation in how we perceive and interact with our environment. Such artwork is more than just a visual delight; it’s a catalyst for participation in the growth and expression of community.
Beyond this impact, Mastrion hopes that the piece will give locals and visitors alike a sense of Plainfield and New Jersey pride. “Everyone involved in this project wants people to be proud that [Queen City] is here,” she noted. “Laws are changing, and people are becoming more accepting of these kinds of things. I just want people to feel very Jersey strong, Jersey proud, whenever they see this art.”
A canvas of positive reactions
With the mural in place, Mastrion says, the reactions to the new business from locals have been nothing short of heartwarming. “When people were asking what was coming here, everyone was really happy and excited,” she noted. “There were all these couples sitting on their balconies at different points of the day while I was painting. When I finished, they were all cheering and clapping.”
Concluding with a touch of optimism, Mastrion’s wish is simple yet profound. As she put it, “I always hope if someone is having a bad day, instead of passing a plain gray wall, if they see this sudden pop of color and something that is pretty,” she explained. “I’m hoping that it makes them feel good.”