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Brooklyn Street Art

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ROA Paints a Memorial Tribute in BK : “Pet Bird RIP”

Posted on August 29, 2017

“I could paint a regular parakeet – something pretty – but that’s not me and anyway Peter would f*cking like this!” says Belgian Street Artist ROA as he talks about his newest gift from the natural world to Brooklyn. A tribute to his friend who lived not far from this spot and who hit the streets with his “Pet Bird” stickers, this new large wall near a subway entrance reminds us of the sudden discoveries we come in contact with when our eyes are open.

ROA for Bed Stuy Art Residency. Brooklyn, NY August 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

This is a city that is in constant movement, undergoing evolutions and revolutions we can’t control and others that we can. As is the nature of Street Art, the entire city can have this temporary, ethereal quality of a moment captured. Coming two years since his friends passing, this important work reverberates through the chests and heads of a community of friends, some as close as family, who appreciate it as a gift of kindness.

The lady who stops by? Not so much. “I don’t really want to see a dead bird on the building,” she says with a long face as she slouches away with shoulders rounded forward in a perpetual state of doom.

ROA for Bed Stuy Art Residency. Brooklyn, NY August 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

It just so happens that the world-traveling ROA is in New York again as part of a new artist residency in the Brooklyn neighborhood that gives it its name – Bed Stuy Artist Residency. While he’s slept on couches and spare rooms and on floors in previous visits over the last decade when here to paint walls or prepare for shows at Factory Fresh and Jonathan Levine Gallery, this quiet brownstone apartment provides a bedroom, kitchenette and a separate studio space with plenty of light, an old decorative fireplace mantel and a small rusty chandelier with tiny skeletons dangling from it.

It’s an unassuming and welcoming environment for an eclectic array of artists who so far have included folks like Judith Supine, Yarrow Slaps, SS Powell, and Lucien Shapiro. Upcoming artists confirmed include SWAMPY, Amanda Marie, Monica Canilao, and Revok.

ROA for Bed Stuy Art Residency. Brooklyn, NY August 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Established last year by two down-to-earth and ardent Street Art fans, Kathy Kupka and Erwin Bakx, word has spread quickly about this opportunity and they have already completed the planned calendar for all of next year. A warm and spare environment to contemplate some new ideas without the stresses that this city brings to artists, ROA has been planning here for his next big show in 6 weeks – and of course making new work in studio and on walls. The vibe is relaxed and open, yet artists are expected to create new work as well, which ROA compulsively does anyway.

 

We asked Ms. Kupka about the new residency and how it has been with one of Street Art’s best known and regarded urban naturalists.

BSA: How has the experience with ROA been? How long has he been with you?
Kathy Kupka: Its been big fun hanging out w ROA. A lot of beer drinking, rolling smokes, talking & doing art and finding the perfect croissant.

ROA for Bed Stuy Art Residency. Brooklyn, NY August 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

BSA: Did you have the opportunity to see his creative process in studio? What aspect of his work or process did you find interesting?
Kathy Kupka: We were so lucky to have seen ROA work! He is a thinker and wise way beyond his years…  he definitely makes it all look effortless and easy but in watching him work it is clear how amazingly talented he is.

BSA: Is it a challenge to find walls for an artist to paint in New York? The availability of walls to paint seems to vary quite a lot from city to city.
Kathy Kupka: We were lucky that Judith Supine knows everyone and everything and through him we got ROA a fabulous wall on Metropolitan and Lorimer. Thanks to Dr. Phil, for his great love of art and excellent idea of curating his doctors office wall! Dr. Phil not only has excellent taste but is an excellent doctor. You should hit him up if you’re sick!

A Pet Bird sticker from the early 2010s (photo © Jaime Rojo)

BSA: We saw a number of people stopping by to comment on the work or ask questions while ROA was painting. Do you enjoy interacting with passersby?
Kathy Kupka: Oh yeah!  Especially if one of your favorite artists just happens by and you get to meet her – like Maya Hayuk!  It is really nice to see people interested in the wall and being inquisitive but so sad that many were unaware of all that was happening around them because they were so wrapped up in their cell phones.  I mean a 20 foot long bird didn’t even register!

ROA for Bed Stuy Art Residency. Brooklyn, NY August 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

BSA: This new residency has been a learning experience for the first few months. Why do you think it is important to offer artists opportunities like this?
Kathy Kupka: Because who doesn’t want to come to Brooklyn?  There are so many amazing artists who don’t have a connection here in NYC and NYC is, let’s be honest, a place you have to see, a place you have to experience as an artist – and we can make that happen! For us it is an honor to be part of their growth, their NYC experience. We also are super happy to provide a homey space in a beautiful brownstone allowing them a place to stop, work their asses off or just be without worry or stress.

ROA for Bed Stuy Art Residency. Brooklyn, NY August 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

ROA for Bed Stuy Art Residency. Brooklyn, NY August 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

ROA for Bed Stuy Art Residency. Brooklyn, NY August 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

ROA for Bed Stuy Art Residency. Brooklyn, NY August 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

ROA for Bed Stuy Art Residency. Brooklyn, NY August 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

ROA for Bed Stuy Art Residency. Brooklyn, NY August 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

ROA for Bed Stuy Art Residency. Brooklyn, NY August 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

ROA with Kathy and Erwin founders of Bed Stuy Art Residency. Brooklyn, NY August 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Kathy Kupka and Erwin Bakx shown above with ROA in the middle are the co-founders of the Bed Stuy Art Residency. Please follow them on IG @bedstuyartresidency


Peter Carroll AKA Pet Bird ( 7/1/77 — 9/28/15 )

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