Brooklyn Street Art

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WALL\THERAPY 2015 : Surrealism and The Fantastic

Posted on July 29, 2015

Surreal is the way the world is portrayed across all of our devices today.

It may be the shrinking staff and budgets of newsrooms who are veering ever closer to the sensational or simply the yellow journalism and the PR-planted hyperbole that is rushing to fill the vacuum, but the presentation of our own world is becoming outlandish.

Orwell could have seen this time when war is described as a peace effort, oligarchy is called democracy, and Reality TV is anything but. Combined with rapid technological developments that produce outcomes previously only imagined, we may feel like our grip on the genuine is definitely loosening somewhat.

So fitting it is that a mid-sized US city hosts a mural festival celebrating the surreal and the fantastic in 2015.


Brittany Williams. Wall Therapy 2015. Rochester, NY (photo © Jaime Rojo)

We don’t know for sure if it was our current funhouse mirror atmosphere that drove the Wall\Therapy festival in Rochester, NY to choose this years’ themes. It may simply be a way of organizing artists whose work reflects these notions back to us and to illuminate one specific growing trend in street culture and murals.

Surely Magritte, Dali, and Ernst would be very pleased by the uptick of modern surrealists and practitioners of the bizarre, fantastical, and dream-like in galleries, in the public sphere, and throughout popular culture in recent years.


Brittany Williams. Wall Therapy 2015. Rochester, NY (photo © Jaime Rojo)

In partnership and as a cultural exchange with Berlin’s Urban Nation (UN) this year, Wall\Therapy 2015 curated this selection of international and local street artists who bring doorways and mirrors for you to step through.

We were glad to be there in person this year and relieved to see that this largely homespun venture continues to be strong and community-minded despite the very hard work that it requires to pull it off. In the face of a rapidly commercializing Street Art festival scene, not only is the grassroots rather refreshing, it is a bit surreal.

Without doubt it is fantastic.


Brittany Williams. Wall Therapy 2015. Rochester, NY (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Jeff Soto . Maxx242. Wall Therapy 2015. Rochester, NY (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Classic graffiti style from NYC’s Daze has always contained elements of surreality. In his three walls he sampled even more styles.”So I used a lot of influences – photo-realistic, almost cubist, there is some lettering, window panes as metaphor. I was also thinking about fabric and the way it folds, and it turned into water,” he says. Wall Therapy 2015. Rochester, NY (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Daze. Wall Therapy 2015. Rochester, NY (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Daze. Wall Therapy 2015. Rochester, NY (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Vexta. Wall Therapy 2015. Rochester, NY (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Vexta: I’ve been doing a lot of collage as my source material – birds, abstract plant shapes, and the galaxy painted over.
BSA: She’s like an earth mother, or universal mother
Vexta: She is every woman.



Vexta. Wall Therapy 2015. Rochester, NY (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Vexta. Wall Therapy 2015. Rochester, NY (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Andreas Englund’s mural features his superhero vexed by a stone in his boot. Wall Therapy 2015. Rochester, NY (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Andreas Englund. Wall Therapy 2015. Rochester, NY (photo © Jaime Rojo)


NeverCrew’s Christian Rebecchi and Pablo Togni created a whale inside an ice whale. “We usually work with themes about the balance between humans and nature,” says Togni, “In this situation we wanted to do a piece about the balance between the elements.”  Wall Therapy 2015. Rochester, NY (photo © Jaime Rojo)


NeverCrew. Wall Therapy 2015. Rochester, NY (photo © Jaime Rojo)


NeverCrew. Wall Therapy 2015. Rochester, NY (photo © Jaime Rojo)


NeverCrew. Wall Therapy 2015. Rochester, NY (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Handiedan. Wall Therapy 2015. Rochester, NY (photo © Jaime Rojo)


“She is sort of a goddess of East meets West,” says Amsterdam’s Handiedan. Wall Therapy 2015. Rochester, NY (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Nate Hodge. Wall Therapy 2015. Rochester, NY (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Nate Hodge. Wall Therapy 2015. Rochester, NY (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Nate Hodge. Wall Therapy 2015. Rochester, NY (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Onur . Wes21. Wall Therapy 2015. Rochester, NY (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Onur . Wes21. Wall Therapy 2015. Rochester, NY (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Onur . Wes21. Wall Therapy 2015. Rochester, NY (photo © Jaime Rojo)

A highly detailed original sketch that is culled from photographs and their own staging of a model in boots, Onur and Wes21 spent many long hours into a few nights to complete their wall.
Onur: It is more of a scene than a classical mural. The wall is perfect for something like this.
BSA: So it is nature taking a bite out of its aggressor
Onur: Yes, kind of. That’s not bad. We have a sign that says beware of beaver crossing. The animals are a metaphor for something else and we are always looking for stuff like this when we are on the streets.



Onur . Wes21. Wall Therapy 2015. Rochester, NY (photo © Jason Wilder Courtesy of WallTherapy)


Li-Hill. Wall Therapy 2015. Rochester, NY (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Li-Hill. Wall Therapy 2015. Rochester, NY (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Li-Hill. Wall Therapy 2015. Rochester, NY (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Matt Roberts . Joe Guy. Wall Therapy 2015. Rochester, NY (photo © Jaime Rojo)

“We knew we had a week and we thought ‘what can we accomplish?’” says Rochester local Matt Roberts on a break from his wall with Joe Guy Allard.  “I do monsters all the time and Joe does those robots. It’s a big old fight scene. I mean, who doesn’t want destruction, some mahem? I grew up on Godzilla movies and Ultraman, stuff like that.  Just a lot of B-horror. I’m really into it. The new Godzilla movie is like my Crème Brulee.”


Matt Roberts . Joe Guy. Wall Therapy 2015. Rochester, NY (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Matt Roberts . Joe Guy. Wall Therapy 2015. Rochester, NY (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Eder Muniz. Wall Therapy 2015. Rochester, NY (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Eder Muniz. Wall Therapy 2015. Rochester, NY (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Eder Muniz. Wall Therapy 2015. Rochester, NY (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Eder Muniz. (CLICK ON IMAGE TO ENLARGE) Wall Therapy 2015. Rochester, NY (photo © @MarkDeffPhoto Courtesy of Wall Therapy)


Our deep gratitude to the Wall\Therapy Family; Ian Wilson and Erich Lehman for their invitation to participate at this edition, and to Yasha Young, director of Urban Nation and this year’s co-curator. To the artists for sharing their talent with us in such a public and generous way. To all of the volunteers including Jason Barber and Maureen Malone for their sincere dedication and attention to detail and to the production team for making certain we all had what we needed and for making our job far easier. To the photographers for sharing their work with us throughout the process. To Jonathan Binstock, Director of the Memorial Art Gallery at The University of Rochester for hosting our BSA Film Friday Live event and to Meg Colombo and Mike Besaw at MAG for helping us with everything we asked for and then more. To the city of Rochester.

Click HERE to learn more about WALL THERAPY


Please note: All content including images and text are ©, 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!


This article is also published on The Huffington Post


Skount “To Be Or Not To Be”, Sarah Bernhardt & James Lafayette

Posted on July 28, 2015

Skount is debating whether to be or not in this adaptation of a hundred plus year old photo of Sarah Bernhardt, who holds the court jester Yorick’s skull in hand. A grave contemplation of suicide that leads the Hamlet character to contemplate the great leveling force of death on all stations and classes, this particular depicting of Shakespeare has had a profound effect on Skount.


Skount. Würzburg, Germany. July 2015. (photo © Skount)

“This photo has always been poetic for me since I first saw it,” he says, “I see in the photo a woman with a really special life that is intense, hard, full of difficulties and now finally a satisfactory life,” he says of the James Lafayette photograph that was possibly taken at the turn of the 20th century.

“To be or not to be,” is perhaps the most noted excerpt from the play and is

also the title of Skounts’ mural for Street Meet at Mainfranken Theater in Würzburg, Germany. See below the original photograph and the artists’ initial sketch for the wall.


Portrait of Sarah Bernhardt as Hamlet. (public domain, James Lafayette)


Skount. Würzburg, Germany. July 2015. (photo © Skount)

HAMLET: To be, or not to be–that is the question:
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles
And by opposing end them.
To die, to sleep–No more–and by a sleep to say we end
The heartache, and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to. ‘Tis a consummation Devoutly to be wished.
To die, to sleep–To sleep–perchance to dream: ay, there’s the rub,


Skount. Würzburg, Germany. July 2015. (photo © Skount)


Skount’s original sketch for the mural (© Skount)


Skount. Würzburg, Germany. July 2015. (photo © Skount)

London Kaye’s New York Skyline Crocheted on a Wall

Posted on July 27, 2015

Street Artist London Kaye has been yarn-bombing around New York Streets for a couple of years creating a variety of figures and forms on fences, walls, and even subway handrails. This week here attention turns to the city itself in this sidewalk-level diarama of crocheted city buildings, bridges, subway trains, and people flying through the air on bicycles.

The scale is miniature, it’s style quite childlike, this is a city you can manage to see in one day – as thousands of NYC tourists are doing at this exact moment right now. Placed on a wall that is already slammed with tags, its interesting that the artist didn’t remove the wheatpasted dogs head, which floats in the city skyline like a big moon.


London Kaye. CLICK ON IMAGE TO ENLARGE (photo © Jaime Rojo)


New York, New York, a helluva town.
The Bronx is up, but the Battery’s down.
The people ride in a hole in the ground.
New York, New York, it’s a helluva town!

New York, New York, a visitor’s place,
Where no one lives on account of the pace,
But seven millions are screaming for space.
New York, New York, it’s a visitor’s place!

from On The Town


London Kaye (photo © Jaime Rojo)


London Kaye. The wheat paste of a dog was previously on the wall by a different artist. (photo © Jaime Rojo)


London Kaye (photo © Jaime Rojo)


London Kaye (photo © Jaime Rojo)


London Kaye (photo © Jaime Rojo)

BSA Images Of The Week: 07.26.15 Rochester Special

Posted on July 26, 2015



It’s not all about the murals! A sacrilegious thing to say perhaps, especially on a Sunday, especially when we are in town to see fresh new murals at the Wall\Therapy festival in Rochester. But none of the artists will take us to task because everyone knows that the roots of Street Art and graffiti are in the un-permissioned work that happens underground in hidden spots that become revered; magnets for aerosol mark-making, veritable spray can galleries. These crumbling houses of the holy are foundational to the modern Street Art scene. After all, if the good Lord didn’t want teens to get high, have sex, and catch tags he wouldn’t have created urban decay.

Top image above >>> Freedom (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Freedom (photo © Jaime Rojo)

So it was good to get to the dirty stuff with some help from an affable Roc native named Jason who showed us around some of the darker caverns in the city this week where you can get a sense of the conversations that bubble just below the surface. These places of decay feature some old school tags, rollers, characters, bubble letters, rants, political critique – the gamut. Also, homeless people, restless hoodies on BMX bikes, and funny smelling cigarette smoke wafting past you periodically.


Freedom (photo © Jaime Rojo)

We were really honored to speak at the museum Friday and to be introduced by the director Jonathan Binstock and Wall\Therapy founder Dr. Ian Wilson for our talk and show of a series of short films about the evolving Street Art scene globally. Memorial Art Gallery (MAG) is part of the University of Rochester and houses a huge encyclopedic collection of 12,000 works of art representing cultures from around the world and across millennia so to have the opportunity to share contemporary works from across this global grassroots art movement is especially gratifying and many in the audience came up afterward to talk about how inspiring this moment in art history is to them personally.

Typically academia and institutional support has been a few steps removed from this means of expression but the last decade and a half continues to see a shifting of perspectives by some who traditionally resisted the work in the streets. We’re just glad that we can continue to provide a platform for voices high and low, trained and self-taught, polished and in development – and the feedback we continue to get from you is that the work strikes a strong chord and we are grateful. Just to keep it real, here’s a tiny collection of work from Rochester’s organic urban art scene.

So here’s our weekly interview with the street, this week featuring AX, Cash4, Eder Muniz, Freedom, FUA Krew, Icy and Sot, Jeff Soto, Mr PRVRT, ND’A, OverUnder, ROA, Smear, and Thievin Stephen.


Freedom (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Icy & Sot (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Icy & Sot (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Eder Muniz (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Eder Muniz (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Eder Muniz (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Eder Muniz (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Eder Muniz (photo © Jaime Rojo)


FUA Krew commenting on the bulldozing of a homeless tent city in Rochester days before Christmas in December. Mayor Lovely Warren took a great amount of criticism for her decision in the press, and here in the tunnels. (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Mr. PRVRT (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Mr. PRVRT and a partial ROA on top. (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Mr. PRVRT and a Cash4 on top. (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Overunder . NDA (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Overunder . Thievin’ Stephen (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Thievin’ Stephen (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Thievin’ Stephen (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Smear (photo © Jaime Rojo)


AX (photo © Jaime Rojo)


AX (photo © Jaime Rojo)


AX (photo © Jaime Rojo)


The Soto (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Untitled. Rochester, NY. July 2015 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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