banner

Brooklyn Street Art

…loves you more every day.

BSA Images Of The Week: 10.02.16 : Spotlight on Climate Change

Posted on October 2, 2016

brooklyn-street-art-faile-jaime-rojo-10-02-2016-web-1

Faile. Detail. The Greenest Point Project. Greenpoint, Brooklyn. NYC. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

BSA-Images-Week-Jan2015

He loves me, he loves me not. He loves me, he tells me I’m an idiot because I trust scientists about climate change and that actually it is a hoax created by the Chinese.

Sorry, everything reminds us of Donald J. Trump and his outlandish claim for the presidency. Even when we are looking at the new Faile mural in Greenpoint, Brooklyn called Love Me, Love Me Not.

The Greenest Point is an initiative that wants to raise awareness of Climate Change and three Street Artists have just completed two murals here in Brooklyn to support it. The organization says that they hope to gather “together people from different backgrounds, professions and skill-sets who are bonded by aligned values and a common vision.” By integrating Street Art with technology, film, sound and voice, they hope that we’ll be more capable of piecing together the climate change puzzle as a collective.

brooklyn-street-art-faile-jaime-rojo-10-02-2016-web-2

Faile. Detail. The Greenest Point Project. Greenpoint, Brooklyn. NYC. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

We don’t pretend to be scientists, but we trust the ones we have and we decided that this week we would dedicate BSA Images of the Week  just to this new project and this topic. We also know that it is now well-documented that tobacco companies fought us citizens with disinformation and legislative trickery for decades before they finally admitted that smoking was killing us and our families, so there is reason to believe that oil companies and related industries who flood our media and politicians with money are possibly buying time while we’re all heating up the atmosphere.

Here are new images of the two new murals in Greenpoint and Williamsburg, Brooklyn and an interview with the three artists who participated; Vexta, Askew, and long time Greenpoint studio residents, Faile.

BSA: Why do you think art is an important vehicle to highlight climate issues?
Faile: We feel it’s important to create work that can resonate with people on an emotional level. Something that we can live with everyday and that has a place in our lives that brings meaning to our experience. This is how we think people must learn to connect to climate change. It’s not something you can just think about, it’s something that you have to do everyday. It has to become part of you. We hope art has the power to be that wink and nod that you are on the right track. That the little things you do are meaningful and that change starts with you in the most simple of ways.

brooklyn-street-art-vexta-askew-jaime-rojo-10-02-2016-web-1

Vexta and Askew. The Greenest Point Project. Greenpoint, Brooklyn. NYC. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

BSA: Greenpoint has a history of blue collar communities who worked in factories producing goods for the both the merchant marine and the USA Navy. Those factories are all gone and only a few of the original settlers remain in the neighborhood such as the Polish community. How do you think the murals painted for the festival relate to them?
Vexta: Our collaborative mural hopefully offers a voice to people directly to people who will become a part of the history of Greenpoint and its legacy. We will have QR codes installed that link to video pieces that physically give Askew’s subjects a voice as well as linking to the birds calls and information about their situation.
Faile: We tried to be aware of the history of Greenpoint. The communities that make this neighborhood what it is. We tried to incorporate some nods to them through the work, specifically with the traditional Polish pattern in the socks. Unfortunately, Greenpoint is also home to some of the worst ecological disasters this country has ever experienced, the effects of which are still present. We wanted to bring something positive and something beautiful to the neighborhood that spoke to everyone. There are other historical murals in the neighborhood so it didn’t feel like it required another.

The neighborhood is also quickly changing. It’s home to many young families and has a vibrant creative class, not to mention our studio for the last 12 years. When creating an artwork in a public space, especially a park, there’s always that balance of trying to make something that people can connect with on a visceral, then psychological level in an immediate way–once that connection is made you hope they can dig a little deeper into the more subversive side of the meaning.

BSA: Do you think art and in particular the murals painted for this festival have the power to change the conversation on climate change and positively move and engage the people who either are indifferent to the issue or just refuse to believe that climate change is a real issue caused by humans? 
Faile:Whether you believe it or not there are basic things that people can do in their everyday lives to create a more beautiful environment around them. Picking up trash, recycling, being mindful that our resources are precious – none of these really imply that you have to have an opinion about climate change. Just the fact that we have a green space now in Transmitter Park is progress towards an environment that we can fall in love with.

We think that’s ultimately what the idea of Love Me, Love Me Not is asking. What kind of environment do you want? Do you want renewable green spaces that offer future generations beauty and room to reflect within nature? Or do you want to pave over the toxic soil and oil spills with the risk of repeating the past? If people can even ask themselves that question then we are at least engaging them into the dialogue where the seeds of action can be planted.

brooklyn-street-art-vexta-askew-jaime-rojo-10-02-2016-web-2

Vexta and Askew. Detail. The Greenest Point Project. Greenpoint, Brooklyn. NYC. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

BSA: Why do you think art is an important vehicle to highlight climate issues?
Vexta: For me as an artist it is the means that I have to talk about what I know to be important. Art also stands as this symbolic, most often visual, gesture that can bring people together, ignite debate and shine a light towards a new way of thinking that is perhaps still in the shadows of the mainstream. There is no more pressing issue right now than Climate Change.

There was a famous piece of graffiti up for a long time in my home city of Melbourne that read “No Jobs on a Dead Planet” in a beautiful font running down a power plant chimney. This work spurred my thinking back before I had begun making art professionally. That simple creative action out in public space was powerful and it spoke a simple truth and showed me that you can do a lot with a little. Art and art out in the streets is a great vehicle for talking about issues like climate change, because its a gesture in a shared space, it provides something to meditate on or think about that ultimately is a shared reality, this makes sense to me as climate change is a problem we need to work together to address.

Askew: I think that in particular art in the public space can be a very powerful way to put messaging on issues that matter right out in front of people who may not otherwise engage with it. Also an artist has the freedom to make the image captivating in a way that perhaps other platforms for speaking about serious issues don’t. People get bombarded with so much conflicting information every day especially via the mainstream media, art can put people in the contemplative space to engage differently.

brooklyn-street-art-vexta-askew-jaime-rojo-10-02-2016-web-3

Vexta and Askew. Detail. The Greenest Point Project. Greenpoint, Brooklyn. NYC. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

BSA: You have participated in at least one other art festival whose principal mission is to highlight the well being of our ecology and our planet. What would you say is unique characteristic of The Greenest Point that differentiates it from other festivals with equal goals?
Askew: Well I think this is different because it’s so focused on a specific place whereas the scope of other events I’ve painted look more generally at global issues. I think it’s great for communities to narrow their focus to directly around them to tackle very tangible local change. If every neighborhood did that globally, imagine the impact.
Vexta: I agree with Askew, What is special about The Greenest Point is that it’s very locally based yet has a global focus. The Greenest Point has brought so many different parts of our local community together, from creatives to government to business. It has shown us that people in our neighborhood really care about Climate Change.

BSA: Your collaborative mural with Askew represents the current and future generations of children. What do you think is the principal message to send to the children so they are more aware of the problems facing our planet?
Vexta: My mural with Askew represents a coming together of numerous ideas. The future belongs to the youth and the world’s children will be the ones most impacted by Climate Change. I think they are really aware of this problem and it’s a very scary prospect. Our mural brought together not only representations of young people but also birds found in the NY state area that are currently climate threatened & endangered (according to Audubon’s Birds and Climate Change Report) as well as icebergs made of my shapes that represent the particles that make up all matter.

I would hope that we can inspire them to feel empowered to make small changes that they see as being possible whilst also acknowledging that all the other parts of our world – the birds, animals, water, air and land are just as important as they are. We are all in this together.

Askew: For me personally, celebrating young local people who are giving their time to make change in Greenpoint around sustainability and community-building issues is immediately inspiring to other young people.

BSA: Do you think art and in particular the murals painted for this festival have the power to change the conversation on climate change and positively move and engage the people who either are indifferent to the issue or just refuse to believe that climate change is a real issue caused by humans? 
Askew: Everything we do has impact, positive and negative – that’s the duality we deal with inhabiting this space. It’s a closed system, resources are finite and so we must respect them and do our best to live in harmony with this earth that supports us and live peacefully amongst each other and the various other creatures we share this planet with. No one thing is going to make pivotal change but everyone being mindful and keeping the conversation and action going is what will make a difference.

Our special thanks to the team at The Greenest Point and to the artists for sharing their time and talent with BSA readers.

brooklyn-street-art-sipros-jaime-rojo-10-02-2016-web

One image from this week by Street Artist Sipros depicts Climate-Change-denying Donald Trump as the character The Joker, from the Batman movies. A frightening piece of political satire, or perhaps propaganda, depending on who you talk to. Mana Urban Art Projects. Jersey City, NJ. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

brooklyn-street-art-jaime-rojo-10-02-2016-web

Untitled. Lincoln Street Art Park. Detroit, Michigan. Septiembre 2016. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Please follow and like us:

Related Posts

  • Here's our weekly interview with the street, this week featuring Carcioffola, Cern, City Kitty, COST, ENX, Invader, Isaac Cordal, Le Diamantarie, London Kaye, MSK Crew,…

  • We haven't had such a frightening Halloween in years! - and we know we speak for many readers as well while we all look at…

  • How are things with you? Did you survive the snow/slush/sludge? Did you check out the launch of SOLD magazine this week? It's made by artists…