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Brooklyn Street Art

…loves you more every day.

Tonja Torgerson and her Girls in Troy, New York

Posted on October 2, 2014

Some times we are shocked by the far reach of Street Art in the international sphere but its also helpful to remember that thanks to the Internet and the ease with which information flows right now artists of all disciplines are taking up the practice of putting art up in the streets with or without permission – in small towns, suburban neighborhood, even on barns in the countryside.

The autonomous Street Artist of today is less inclined to be interested in hanging out inside a subculture of urban peers trying to establish street cred, busy looking out for each other, answering beef, and enforcing those importan street “rules” on one another. The impetus for self expression on random walls in public comes from a variety of motivations, and sometimes it is even just an experiment, just one extension of an artists otherwise unrelated formal practice.

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Tonja Torgerson. Troy, New York. September 2014. (photo © Andrew Frost)

Naturally, these facts have some people up in arms, while others are opening theirs.

Screen printer Tonja Torgerson has formal training as an artist and has appeared in group shows and solo shows in galleries that form a constellation roughly related geographically to her arts education in Syracuse and Minneapolis. Currently she is doing a residency in Kansas and her work just appeared in a paper show at the University of Nebraska in Omaha. None of the aforementioned facts conjure up the word ‘hood’ in your mind right?

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Tonja Torgerson. Troy, New York. September 2014. (photo © Andrew Frost)

In fact many of today’s street artists in major and minor metropolitan areas today didn’t grow up in the hood nor can they spout the language of the street; they just consider the street art “practice” to be part of their birthright anyway – something vaguely transgressive and an evolution of all those rap videos they grew up on and spray painted sneakers and backpacks they had in junior high school. Its a broader range than most were realizing, and most likely this is a good thing.

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Tonja Torgerson. Troy, New York. September 2014. (photo © Andrew Frost)

Today we look at Tonja’s newest prints that she put up in Troy, New York when she was there for the National Screenprint Biennial. The human sized wheatpasted screen prints, which she calls “girls” went up around this sister city of Albany with the help of a guide and she shares images of them here with BSA readers to take a look at. Reflective, crouching, possibly in pain, somewhat spent and sad girls they are, tucked and perched and hidden just around the corner. She says her work contains elements of privacy, disclosure, illness, beauty, and disgust.

She quotes the writer and philosopher Carolyn Korsmeyer when she says, “I strive to create ‘the kind of art that is capable of rendering the most awful experiences beautiful.’ ”  Gentle color and a childish aesthetic make these figures vulnerable and perfect storytellers, even if you don’t know the details. With these placements Torgerson reveals part of herself and also how amenable the streets can be to experimentation , new voices, and discovery of all sorts.

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Tonja Torgerson. Troy, New York. September 2014. (photo © Andrew Frost)

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Tonja Torgerson. Troy, New York. September 2014. (photo © Andrew Frost)

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Tonja Torgerson. Troy, New York. September 2014. (photo © Andrew Frost)

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Tonja Torgerson. Troy, New York. September 2014. (photo © Andrew Frost)

 

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Please note: All content including images and text are © BrooklynStreetArt.com, unless otherwise noted. We like sharing BSA content for non-commercial purposes as long as you credit the photographer(s) and BSA, include a link to the original article URL and do not remove the photographer’s name from the .jpg file. Otherwise, please refrain from re-posting. Thanks!
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YO Banksy! A Year Since “Better Out Than In”

Posted on October 1, 2014

As we hear of the sudden appearance of a new Banksy in southeast England we recall that it was exactly a year ago today that the international Street Art man of mystery grabbed New York by the mobiles and invited everyone to a month-long exhibition of painting, sculpture, installation, performance and real life detective games on our own streets.

To commemorate Banksy’s very successful offering to the city and the excitement that ensued with its inhabitants we decided to put together a series of messages left out for him on walls, doors, trucks and fences. Not all the messages are demonstrations of love (indeed some are hostile) but all them are an indication of his clever ability to move people with wit and indicate a certain feeling of familiarity that people have with the anonymous Street Artist.

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COST played on his own famous wheatpastes from an earlier era (“Cost Fucked Madonna”) and updated it for a new time and gender. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

We’ve all recovered quite well of course from the month-long treasure hunt, and for many it was enough of a jarring public works project/ anthropological experiment / hype campaign to merit a year of examination and reflection. And now, the commemorations: This fall we know of at least one book (Banksy in New York) and one documentary (Banksy Does New York) that will mark the anniversary of the “Better Out Than In” residency and many New Yorkers will remember their own keen behaviors on social media and crowded sidewalks chasing after the near-daily revelations – and a few may possibly experience joy or a twinge of awkward discomfort in retrospect.

We think the biggest takeaway for us was that whether it was man or marketing team, Banksy helped New Yorkers to re-examine nearly everything in the man-made environment and to consider that it may actually be a piece of art.

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COST. Redacted (photo © Jaime Rojo)

For the guys and gals who make up the graffiti/ Street Art scene in New York of course, not everyone was gob-smacked by this peer, this charming and wisecracking Brit who monopolized the mindshare of fans of art in the streets. Almost from Day 1 the buffs, the side busting, the cross-outs, and the free-flowing entreaties addressing our visiting jester were alternately ringing of respect, bemusement, longing after, semi-passive xenophobia, or full-on red-faced insults.  And of course there were those just along for the coat-tail ride.

It’s all really just part of the ongoing conversation that always exists on the street, and while you may not have caught all the action last October a look at these images will inform you that Banksy’s impact was felt by many.

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Artist Unknown (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Alex Gardega (detail) (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Hot Tea (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Artist Unknown (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Artist Unknown. This piece predates his “Residency” but we decided to include it as a tribute to him. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Artist Unknown. This piece is predates his “Residency” but we decided to include it for the same reasons expressed above. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Artist Unknown (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Artist Unknown (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Artist Unknown (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Artist Unknown (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Artist Unknown (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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#Anonymous (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Franksy (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Franksy (photo © Jaime Rojo)

 

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Please note: All content including images and text are © BrooklynStreetArt.com, unless otherwise noted. We like sharing BSA content for non-commercial purposes as long as you credit the photographer(s) and BSA, include a link to the original article URL and do not remove the photographer’s name from the .jpg file. Otherwise, please refrain from re-posting. Thanks!
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Abstract Specter at the Bus Stop

Posted on September 30, 2014

It’s been sort of rainy in New York recently so you may have to take shelter while you wait for the bus. While you do, would you rather be treated with a large illuminated ad for hair color, headache medicine, or hemorrhoid creme?

Or would you like to spend a few minutes gazing on a new piece by Street Artist Specter, whose new works have been  appearing in a few new locations in Brooklyn? Once better known for his large hand painted portraits of people who live on the streets or who collect recyclable materials and push them in shopping carts, Specter’s more recent work has been abstract and reliant upon texture, shape and composition.

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Specter (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Specter (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Specter (photo © Jaime Rojo)

 

 

 

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Please note: All content including images and text are © BrooklynStreetArt.com, unless otherwise noted. We like sharing BSA content for non-commercial purposes as long as you credit the photographer(s) and BSA, include a link to the original article URL and do not remove the photographer’s name from the .jpg file. Otherwise, please refrain from re-posting. Thanks!
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