Coney Art Walls Opens for the Mermaids! Update V

Dude/Dudette, it’s Mermaid Parade Day – part of Coney’s modern pop-carney cultural heritage. Rolling up Surf Avenue, turning right and coming back down the boardwalk, the three decade old event is both a well organized and entirely rag-tag D.I.Y. affair simultaneously. It’s the enthusiasm of the participants and their street performances and costumery that pull in the equally enthusiastic fans, but it is the bedazzled breasts and free-flowing beer that make them seek that illusive and effervescent feeling of abandon.


Skewville at work on their piece…while some folks go against gravity above…(photo © Jaime Rojo)

Meanwhile more walls were being painted at Coney Art Walls this week by another impressive cross section of talents from points local and international. The Skewville twins completed their free-standing monster boom box, El Seed brought his lyrical Arabic inspired calligraffiti, fine artist Jane Dickson applies her eye to the symbols of the carnival footprint and turns amusements into colorful cakes, Katsu spreads wider with his investigations into drone painting that are looking impressionistic, Mr. Cartoon enlivens a Vandal/Copper chase with a grim reaper and a selfie-snapping angel, former graffiti outlaw Gregg LaMarche slams his collaged font explosion with color, Coney-Island artist icon Marie Roberts invokes ghosts and her own family’s deep roots in this place’s history, Miami’s Rage Johnson of Inkheads Crew brings crisp psychadeliac forms with AVAF (Assume Vivid Astro Focus), Sheryo and The Yok use a new palette to depict a beach inspired hotdog caper, and Tatiana Fazlalizadeh creates warm black and white portraits of local current neighbors who live in these environs here year round.


The Twins Skewville at work on their piece…yes the other one showed up for photo op… (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Briefly, a snafu in the proceedings popped up when Cope2 suddenly did one of his eponymous bubble tags smack on the center of a freshly finished Retna wall Friday. Shortly thereafter Retna’s assistant was seen buffing the tag. Sources tell us that Cope’s participation in the project wasn’t originally scheduled and while some permissions had been secured, not all parties were in agreement before work commenced. The affair spurred speculation about who gave permission and who denied it in a flurry of social media postings, but the matter has been resolved. No doubt rumors on the street and online will be profligate – it is the nature of these aerosol Olympic games. Let’s see how the buffed section of Retna’s wall is addressed now that fin-fested visitors are schooling through the concrete complex chomping on cotton candy and sausages.


Skewville at work with the help of an assistant. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

But don’t let this petit drama overshadow the talent and effort and storied history of the two dozen other artists whose work is on display. A more diverse collection of artists from the past four decades from across this spectrum is rarely assembled in one location – a mini reprise of Mr. Deitch’s Art in the Streets, minus the ceiling. It’s not street art, urban art, or graffiti so none of those labels rightly apply to this amusement park exhibit. To the visiting crowds this is primarily background for selfies but fans of these artists will attach a much greater significance to some of these brand new works, as they should. Stay tuned for our final roundup of all the walls next Wednesday on a screen near you.


Skewville… for a dollar we’ll show you the rest… (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Skewville practicing an abundance of caution while at work …  (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Skewville (photo © Jaime Rojo)


El Seed (photo © Jaime Rojo)


El Seed with Martha Cooper. (photo © Jaime Rojo)


El Seed (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Jane Dickson’s work in progress. (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Jane Dickson at work. (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Jane Dickson at work. (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Jane Dickson work in progress. (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Jane Dickson  (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Katsu tried his hand at Impressionism with a drone. (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Mr. Cartoon (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Gregg Lamarche at work. (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Gregg Lamarche at work. (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Gregg Lamarche (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Marie Roberts at work. (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Marie Roberts (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Marie Roberts (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Rage Johnson of Inkheads Crew working on the piece designed by Brazilian AVAF (Assume Vivid Astro Focus). (photo © Jaime Rojo)


AVAF executed by Rage Johnson of Inkheads Crew. (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Sheryo and The Yok (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Tatiana Fazlalizadeh at work. (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Tatiana Fazlalizadeh at work. (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Tatiana Fazlalizadeh…”The Day Before Easter And The Day After Labor Day – People Still Live Here. People Die Here. People Love Here” (photo © Jaime Rojo)


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