Open Studios and the Street

Graff started on the street, I think.  Street art started in the studio.

Main difference. That was easy, right?

Now graff keeps going into the studio, the gallery, the museum.  And now we are watching as fine art, or some approximation of it, is continuallly leaving the home studio (kitchen table), gallery, collective, etc. and flooding the streets.  The explosion of street art is having it’s effect and the opinions it produces are as varied as, um, people.  The point is that the veil has been punctured, and the creative spirit is not willingly being confined today. Everything and everyone is becoming a hybrid.

Last weekend in a neighborhood in Brooklyn that’s home to a lot of variety at the moment – Bushwick –  a three day Bushwick Open Studios event took place, featuring over 200 open studios, live music, parties, workshops, panels, student art shows, puppet shows, the whole enchilada.  Don’t worry, it’s not all high-minded, or necessarily thought provoking. It’s just an indication of where we are moving. It’s impossible to see everything so you just have to pick and choose a few of your favorites and see which way the slimey wind leads you.

Started off at “2012” the new show at Factory Fresh featuring the work of graff/street art youth – the place was pretty young and sweaty and full of excitement, and parts of the inside looked like it could have been outside – plywood, tags, partial messages, and organized chaos.  Sorry for the crappy pics from the phone, but you get the idea.

A wall of 9"x9" wood pieces with work by Faro, Bloke and Avoid.

A wall of 9"x9" pieces by Faro, Bloke, and Avoid. (photo Steven P. Harrington)

Faro, UFO, others that you may know at "2012" at Factory Fresh (photo Steven P. Harrington)

Faro, UFO, others that you may know at "2012" at Factory Fresh (photo Steven P. Harrington)

Bad Kids, Krink markers  (photo Steven P. Harrington)

Bad Kids, Erotic Kids, Charles Barkley, Krink markers (photo Steven P. Harrington)

Apple, Aiko, Anarchist, Arriviste, Artist, Avoid

A is for Apple, Abbreviation, Aiko, Anarchist, Arriviste, Artist? In this case, probably it's for Avoid (photo Steven P. Harrington)

Then Kings County Bar also hosted a show that night for ELC and their new collaborations, which were kind of hard to see because it was, uh, a dark bar.  Also there were other gyrating distractions that may have taken patron’s focus off their art show.  Included in the show were Royce Bannon, Anera, Infinity, Celso, Abe Lincoln Jr., Ad Deville, Dark Clouds, and Matt Siren.

A quick way to cut through a crowded bar

A quick way to cut through a crowded bar is to tiptoe across the top of it. (photo (cc) Hrag Vartanian)

Following a rainy Friday, the rest of weekend was nice. In fact, a new Bishop 203 appeared out of nowhere on this abandoned building, like an urban flower.

Bishop 203

Bishop 203 with a black heart (photo Steven P. Harrington)

Pocket Utopia had it’s last show this weekend, featuring a 16 foot tall fiberglass monster that dispensed beer in the back yard, a performance by artist/musician/dynamo Andrew Hurst in the basement that was viewable through a hole drilled in the floor, and this large scary portrait by Kevin Regan. You might recognize the revolutionary jowls. It’s not street art, per se, but certainly we’ve seen this king of photographic mutation on the street in the work of MBW, Judith Supine, Dain, Bast, and others.

Kevin Regan (photo Steven P. Harrington)

Kevin Regan at Pocket Utopia (photo Steven P. Harrington)

Speaking of Judith Supine, English Kills was showing a large piece by said street artist called “God of Mars”  Chris Harding, visionary owner of the space, explained that this is the biggest canvas Supine has ever done, and that numerology figured into it’s actual dimensions to bring good luck to the piece.

Chris points out a detail on the Judith Supine piece (photo Steven P. Harrington)

Chris points out a detail on the Judith Supine piece (photo Steven P. Harrington)

Large new canvass by Judith Supine "God of Mars" (courtesy English Kills)

Large new canvas by Judith Supine (courtesy English Kills)

Later, after too many beers, we stumbled into a salon of 20-something Illinois settlers (Illinois in the House!), a true sign of the everchanging makeup of the music and art scene. An appreciate audience of 50+ people were spread out over salvaged furniture (and one in a bathtub) to listen to old timey folk inspired singers and bands.

Rockin the autoharp, which is slightly older than wearing trucker caps

Rockin the autoharp, which is slightly older than wearing trucker caps (photo Steven P. Harrington)

While thumping house music from down the block and the occasional police siren wafted in the cracked 4th floor factory windows, singer-songwriters plucked on autoharp, glockenspiel, electric guitar, and a variety of hand held percussion instruments.  The really remarkable part was the lack of manic cell-phone snapping, texting, or Twittering among such an assembled group of youthful beauty during the performances. They appeared to be paying attention.  Is that even POSSIBLE?  Maybe this was a movie set. Or maybe Illinois artist-peeps are just more respectful.  I was going to try to get through this paragraph without mentioning Sufjan Stevens, but there, I’ve said it.  Baahhhhhhhhhh!

The tunes were folky, but she did say "f*ck" quite a few times in one song.

The tunes were folky and relationship-centric, but she did say "f*ck" a few times in one song, so that's what gives it the edge. (photo Steven P. Harrington)

So there you have it, one shard of a giant shattered crystal mirror that is Bushwick.  The torch is passed again to a new generation of weirdos and misfits to develop beauty.  Since most of the real estate developers are trying to hatch their stalled projects in Billyburg and lure in more “consumers”, maybe the recession has bought some time and the multi-feathered flock of “creatives” will continue to fly here for a while.  That way the nests will stay affordable, and the space aplenty.

The art on the street, naturally, has plenty to say on these and other matters…

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