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Brooklyn Street Art

…loves you more every day.

Buxtonia at “Electric Windows”, Ad Hoc in the House

Posted on July 29, 2010

Garrison and Alison Buxton, known together as Buxtonia, continue to carry the spirit of Ad Hoc wherever they are. See them at Electric Windows Saturday. (photo © Steven P. Harrington)
Garrison and Alison Buxton, known together as Buxtonia, continue to carry the spirit of Ad Hoc wherever they are. See them at “Electric Windows” Saturday. (photo © Steven P. Harrington)

Among the many street artists flooding into Beacon for Electric Windows on Saturday will be a couple almost all of them know for their dedication to building and maintaining the community. Godparents to a street art gallery/collective/community in Bushwick, Brooklyn at a crucial time for Street Art in the mid 2000′s, Garrison and Alison Buxton are now on the road across the country 6 months a year continuing their collaboration with the Street Art community.  It was a good five year run at Ad Hoc, the gallery, which officially closed late last year, having given many a street artist their first show while creating a sense of connectedness between Street Artists, Graff writers, photographers, screen printers, and social activists who all responded to the high vibrational pull Alison and Garrison created.

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For the For the Buxton’s it was never about the hype. She’s full of industry and energy and organizing, while he’s full of a youthful wonder about life and loves to talk with you about social/spiritual movements. Together they have traveled a lot in the last 9 months across the States participating in art shows, re-connecting with friends, teaching screen printing, painting walls, organizing exhibitions, and discussing plans for a sustainable living project at their Vermont farmhouse, an old Buxton family homestead from the 17 & 1800′s.  Amazingly, the Buxtons have recently learned that their old homestead was also where one of their favorite modern art forms, screen printing, was brought to life by a man named Harry Shokler, who lived and worked at the home & studio for over 40 years.  Shokler is referred to as father of contemporary screen printing, a seminal figure in bringing screen printing from the world of industrial application to being accepted and recognized as a distinct fine art form. When you speak with either one of them for more than a few minutes you’ll learn they both sincerely believe we are here to share, learn, and teach lessons to each other and that now is time to do so.

Saturday Garrison and Alison will be making art at Electric Windows, and talking to friends about how to bring about the better world that is possible.

Brooklyn Street Art: How long has Buxtonia been working as an entity?
Garrison Buxton: I actually used Buxtonia as the title of my first website in like 2002/3.  Alison and I have referred to it as a state-of-being for years, with our first Buxtonia mural manifesting in Peru in 2008.  It has been coming into being for a while now and it seemed natural that we start referring to the works we did together as such.  We did Buxtonia murals with Broken Crow in Minnesota in 2009, and with NOLA Rising in New Orleans in 2010.

Unified Love Movement, by Buxtonia
The installation for Unified Love Movement included a structure that arched in four directions and cast light from the center that emulated the patterns in their paintings on the ceiling. (Buxtonia)

Our first gallery work that I currently recall using Buxtonia was in October 2009 for an installation we did in Oklahoma called:
Buxtonia {Garrison & Alison Buxton}, Unified Love Movement

Installation from "Unified Love Movement" by Buxtonia, a commentary on belief systems, beauty, and global awareness of spiritual themes.
Installation from “Unified Love Movement” by Buxtonia, a meditation and commentary on the worlds’ major belief systems, their interconnectedness, and a global awareness of spiritual themes.

BSA: Your work is layered and multi-dimensional – can you describe a typical process you two go through in creating a piece?
Garrison Buxton: Firstly, we come up with what the vision of the piece is, laying out and building the compositional aspects like imagery, arrangement, aesthetic, layers, and forms.  After we have that in mind, then comes breaking it back down to the base and working up each of the aspects.  Construction, Deconstruction, Reconstruction, on and on…  After priming, we start out with washes and/or gradients to unify the background, then we build out light & dark areas based on the piece’s color palette.  Once the background is built up, we then use layers of stencils to create textures and develop areas of light & pattern.  We incorporate screen printing as well, either directly on the surface or via collage.  Using hand painting and drawing helps to bring in the upper layers.  Certain aspects are predetermined, like a border design, but building up the stencils and textures is a very participatory and engaged process.  The action of assembling the pieces to the puzzle encourages reflection, dialogue, and feedback.  It is a dialogue with all of us, humans, materials, and the voice of the work.  We change with each other.  Every piece is that moment’s exploration into human interaction and relationship.

A mechanized hand combines industrial revolutionary diagrammatic style with a surreal quality of modern possibility. From a mural done with NOLA Rising (Buxtonia)
“Resistance is Fertile”; a mechanized hand combines industrial revolutionary diagrammatic style with a surreal zeal of modern possibility. The piece repositions the struggle of the worker in a future context. From a mural done with NOLA Rising (Buxtonia)

BSA: Where do you draw upon for inspiration thematically?
Garrison Buxton: The core of it for me would be that we are all part of the same thing, the singularity and inherent oneness of existence.  Until we truly get that, we are not making real progress.  There is a lot of misery being generated by the intention of a select minority on this planet enabled by the masses of under-informed.  Most days, the urgency of our times inspires me to maintain a sense of peace in a world run by sociopaths gone utterly mad.  I have a hard time believing that we are destined to go out this way, like a stupid rampaging beast, smashing to bits anything and everything in our path as we careen over the cliff.  Another world is possible in every instant.  The power to share, to contribute, to change is abundant and always around us.

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BSA: For both Willoughby Windows in Brooklyn and Welling Court Queens also participated as artists. What about being in these group shows is gratifying to you?
Garrison Buxton: Bringing creativity and beauty to people directly is very fulfilling.  It is one of the most unfiltered ways to bring art to a culture largely starved of non-corporate, non-advertising-generated media.  One of the fundamental aspects of street art is the democratization of public space.  Maybe it is all an illusion, but it is fulfilling to believe in the power of art to create, inspire, and plant seeds of observation as well as shared experience.  People relating to one another is what will get us to the other side.  People fearing one another will not.  Relating comes when people take the time to simply do it, relate.  Seeing the direct results of these art projects has been profound and definitely inspires us to keep taking things to the next level.  The bonds that result from bringing generations of different peoples together for a celebration of the human experience are so strong.  Together we can do amazing things.  I have seen it.

BSA: What are you planning to show the people at the Electric Windows show?
Garrison Buxton: We have been working with a figure, Metatron, for a while now.  Metatron is typically depicted as a eye with wings.  The Electric Windows piece is going to have a small flock of Metatrons flying up on the horizon with rays and shapes of light emerging from behind.

Is the loosest of senses, Metatron is the messenger of the divine, translating the beyond-human transmissions to be human-comprehensive.  I believe we are all Metatrons, our own divine messengers, and that we all transmit this divine information to our selves and each other.  When we are still and listen to that part of us that existed before we can remember existing, the knowledge we seek is there.  We are all self contained enlightenment, divinity, god, whatever you want to call it.  How to illustrate that is the never ending pursuit.  It has become important for us to focus on sending positive transmissions. We aim to send a net positive charge into the matrix.  The grid is cracking.  It needs all of our help.  This piece depicts the strength of coming together and building something with a whole greater than the sum of its parts.

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BSA: How has your life changed for both of you since leaving Ad Hoc?
Garrison Buxton: For clarity’s sake, we never left Ad Hoc, as Ad Hoc Art still exists as an entity and we are still doing art events and projects like the previously mentioned Willoughby Windows and Welling Court projects as well as currently featuring many AHA artists with us in a screen printing project at SummerStage in Central Park through September.  The mission of Ad Hoc Art is to promote awesome work made by badass human beings.  We’ll keep doing that as long as we can, in myriad manifestations, which is the method to the madness.  On the front burner is a fall/winter tour where we will be working with artists across the country, many of which we worked with at Ad Hoc, as well as artists we have worked with since then.

So, I’m assuming that you are referring to how have our lives changed since moving out of Bogart St, yes?  That question is an expansive one, so many changes happening in so many ways.  Like any era in a relationship coming to a close, it is largely in how one perceives it. Boiling it down, there are times we’re missing the great times, all the magic; we’d wish we were still making a difference in the Bushwick hood and wonder if there were somehow an angle we didn’t think of that could have kept the hull together.  Then we quickly remember how working 18 hour days for years takes it toll, how there were days of stress and frustration, and how five years flew by in the blink of an eye and I hadn’t seen some good friends in years.  Overall, we are much healthier and happier and realize we are blessed to have the opportunities that we have and don’t look back.  There is so much to be accomplished now, more so than ever.  We are still working crazy hours, but in a way that serves us better and is sane.  We are operating at a more tenable, sustainable pace, training and running with a marathon mindset for a race of enduring as opposed to the frenetic burst of the 100 yard dash.  Short term focus will not get us to the other side.  Thinking beyond ourselves will get us there.

Some things we are loving: working our own creative endeavors/projects; less daily stress; the ability to be more dynamic and mobile (we’ll be on the road about six months of the next year, taking art love coast to coast and doing projects with people in places we never had time to visit before); more time to be human; & more time to work on altruistic projects.  Basically, we have a lot more time to take care of ourselves, spiritually, mentally, and physically.  As everything emanates from within, if the core is not stable, all that comes out contains that fundamental lack of stability.  In taking time to be, we saw an immediate and direct positive return which correlates directly with overall happiness.

BSA: Any advice for people who are planning to go to Beacon for the show?
Garrison Buxton: Bring sunscreen and drink lots of water.  Beacon is a nice lil’ town and the show is going to be awesome event.  Open Space again delivers a solid roster of fun.  We are excited to be working with some of our favorite partners in crime and a whole slew of new peoples.  Plan on staying late Saturday night if you like to dance.  Bring clothes if you’d like to have them printed.  We are going to be screen printing live and dropping some brand new images that Saturday.

We love you.

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Electric Windows will feature Buxtonia, BoogieRez, Chris Stain, Depoe, Elbow Toe, Mr Kiji, Michael De Feo, Peat Wollaeger, Rick Price, Ron English, Big Foot, Cern, Chor Boogie, Chris Yormick, Elia Gurna, Erick Otto, Eugene Good, Faust, Gaia, Joe Iurato, Kid Zoom, Logan Hicks, Lotem & Aviv, Paper Monster, Ryan Bubnis, Ryan Williams, Skewville, and Thundercut

A book signing of “Street Art New York” by Jaime Rojo and Steven P. Harrington will be in the Open Space Gallery from 2 pm to 3 pm.

Some things we are missing: seeing all the wonderful people that were a part of our Bogart St. existence, from the daily regulars to the stroll-ins showing up from all over the world to check out what was going on; all the wonderful things that can happen with having a space, like supporting and fostering community, facilitating people relating with one another, and providing a platform for diverse creative forms to manifest.  It was a true pleasure to see all of the things that came out of having that space, a true nugget of fun, and a moment in time I wouldn’t trade for anything.  We learned so much and met so many phenomenal people from all walks of life.  Literally a life altering experience.