June 2019

BSA Images Of The Week: A Collection Of PRIDE

BSA Images Of The Week: A Collection Of PRIDE

In honor of the 50th Anniversary of the Stonewall Inn uprising in the West Village in Manhattan, we are giving the spotlight this Sunday to the many artworks that have been created by dozens of artists from all over the world in the city over the past weeks. Some of them are commissioned works and others are illegally placed on the streets, regardless of who made them or under whose sponsorship they were created or if they were placed illegally the important thing is to realize that the struggle for recognition, acceptance, and justice didn’t just happen because somebody was willing to give that to us.

It happened because a lot of people before us dared to challenged the establishment and fought to change the cultural norms, the laws in the books and ultimately the perception from the society at large. People suffered unspeakable evil and pain at the hands of unmoved gatekeepers and power brokers. People died rather than living a lie. People took to the streets to point fingers at those who stood silent when many others were dying and were deemed untouchable.

People marched to vociferate and yelled the truth and were arrested and marked undesirable. Many brothers and sisters who were much more courageous than we’ll ever be, defied a system that was designed to fail them and condemn them. Restless souls confronted our political, business, media and religious leaders right in their front yards with the truth and never backed down.

So we must pay homage to them. We have what we have because of them. We owe it to them and we need to understand that it was because of their vision, intelligence and fearless actions that the majority began to understand that without them and their help we would never get equal treatment. Equal rights. Equal opportunities.

So yes let’s celebrate, dance and sing together but let’s feel the pain of those who can’t join in on the celebrations because today still they are on the margins, hiding in the shadows, being cast out from their families and communities and even killed and tortured. Let’s remember that the job isn’t done, indeed far from it. Many countries still have in their laws harsh punishment for those that don’t conform to their established norms. Let’s keep the fight on, the light on, the courage on, the voices loud and the minds open. Happy Pride.

Here’s our weekly interview with the street (or boardwalk), this time featuring Aloha, Buff Monster, David Puck, Divine, Fox Fisher, Homo Riot, IronClad, Jason Naylor, Joe Caslin, JPO, Meres One, Nomad Clan, Ori Carino, Royce Bannon, Sam Kirk, SAMO, SeeTf, and Tatyana Fazlalizadeh.

seeTF portrait of Taylor & Lauren with Meres One’s heart shaped rainbow. WorldPride Mural Project Initiative. The L.I.S.A. Project NYC. Manhattan, NY (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Homoriot (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Joe Caslin. WorldPride Mural Project Initiative. The L.I.S.A. Project NYC. Manhattan, NY (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Jason Naylor (photo © Jaime Rojo)
The Dusty Rebel. Hope Will Never Be Silent. In collaboration with #KeepFighting (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Buff Monster. WorldPride Mural Project Initiative. The L.I.S.A. Project NYC. Manhattan, NY (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Aloha for Art In Ad Places in collaboration with The Dusty Rebel. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
David Puck. WorldPride Mural Project Initiative. The L.I.S.A. Project NYC. Manhattan, NY (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Royce Bannon (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Jeremy Novy (photo © Jaime Rojo)
JPO. WorldPride Mural Project Initiative. The L.I.S.A. Project NYC. Manhattan, NY (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Jeremy Novy (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Jess X Snow for Art In Ad Places in collaboration with The Dusty Rebel. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Homo Riot & Suriani. “Pay It No Mind”. Mural restored. The image on the center is of Marsha P. Johnson 1945 -1992. She was a founding member of Gay
Liberation Front. She was an AIDS activist with ACT UP and co-fonder
of S.T.A.R. (Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries). Miss Johnson was in the forefront during the Stonewall Inn Riots fighting for gay rights when gays didn’t have any rights and they weren’t fashionable and “scrubbed clean” for their prime time on T.V. Suriani used Mr. Richard Shupper’s portrait of Ms. Johnson (pictured below) as an inspiration for his art. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Iron Clad (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Nomad Clan. WorldPride Mural Project Initiative. The L.I.S.A. Project NYC. Manhattan, NY (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Tatyana Fazlalizadeh. WorldPride Mural Project Initiative. The L.I.S.A. Project NYC. Manhattan, NY (photo © Jaime Rojo)

From Tatyana about this piece: “Some of Us Did Not Die. We’re Still Here. – June Jordan, Black, bi-sexual, activist, poet and writer. .

Last fall I met with members of @griotcircle, a community of LGBTQ+ Black and brown elders for my residency with @nycchr. I got to speak with them about their lives and some things that came up were the challenges of being Black and gay in New York years ago, like having to travel in groups because queer folks would be attacked for walking alone. Or not being served at restaurants because they were also black. “

Tatyana Fazlalizadeh. WorldPride Mural Project Initiative. The L.I.S.A. Project NYC. Manhattan, NY (photo © Jaime Rojo)
SAMO. WorldPride Mural Project Initiative. The L.I.S.A. Project NYC. Manhattan, NY (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Sam Kirk. WorldPride Mural Project Initiative. The L.I.S.A. Project NYC. Manhattan, NY (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Ori Carino. WorldPride Mural Project Initiative. The L.I.S.A. Project NYC. Manhattan, NY (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Meres One. WorldPride Mural Project Initiative. The L.I.S.A. Project NYC. Manhattan, NY (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Fox Fisher for Art In Ad Places in collaboration with The Dusty Rebel. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
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Art In Ad Places X Pride

Art In Ad Places X Pride

The private art curators behind the public ad takeover initiative “Art In Ad Places” have been inviting people whom they like to show their art and curate in their exclusive campaign with phone booths. Today we feature a selection curated by their friend The Dusty Rebel to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising which was happening here in New York streets in June 1969.

Right now the city is flooded with hundreds of thousands (more?) of LGBTQ tourists and thanks to artists who take over public spaces not all of the messages that will greet them will be corporations co-opting a grassroots rebellion. These sentiments are artist-to-viewer, person-to-person.

Aloha. Art In Ad Places in collaboration with The Dusty Rebel. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Suriani. Art In Ad Places in collaboration with The Dusty Rebel. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Fox Fisher. Art In Ad Places in collaboration with The Dusty Rebel. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
The Pansy Project. Art In Ad Places in collaboration with The Dusty Rebel. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Novy. Art In Ad Places in collaboration with The Dusty Rebel. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Jess X Snow. Art In Ad Places in collaboration with The Dusty Rebel. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Lesbica Feminista. Art In Ad Places in collaboration with The Dusty Rebel. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Art in Ad Places is an initiative of Luna Park and RJ Rushmore and more information about their project can be seen HERE. See their Instagram HERE.

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BSA Film Friday: 06.28.19

BSA Film Friday: 06.28.19

Our weekly focus on the moving image and art in the streets. And other oddities.

Now screening :
1. Gonzalo Borondo “Merci” Temple des Chartrons
2. ELLE in Allentown
3. Pejac: YIN-YANG
4. “Beyond The Streets” In A New York Minute – By Chop ‘Em Down Films
5. LL Cool J – I’m Bad

BSA Special Feature: Gonzalo Borondo “Merci” Temple des Chartrons, France. 2019

Finally opened, its the spirit of man and nature working in concert in this vast emporium, a transformatorium, of images and pieces of memory from Street Artist Borondo. If you are in Paris before August 18, it is a must see.

ELLE in Allentown

Former tagger and now fulltime muralist, Elle talks about a new work in Allentown, PA, which is trying to kindle a creative arts / high tech reputation after the iron industry left. “The gist of the entire collage is that all of women are more powerful together,” says Elle.

Pejac: YIN-YANG

Spanish Street Artist and studio artist Pejac is back with one of his visual aphorism that addresses climate change ironically.

“Beyond The Streets” In A New York Minute – By Chop ‘Em Down Films

Like we said earlier this week when this video debuted:

“It’s a unique talent to capture the fervor of an opening like “Beyond the Streets” in one minute. The show spreads over two floors and fifty years – the reunions alone were enough for an hour movie. But somehow Zane catches an individual, personal, flavor in a New York minute.”

LL Cool J – I’m Bad

Also, the because it’s Friday and because LL is Bad

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Niels Shoe Meulman: Thank You For Shopping Here

Niels Shoe Meulman: Thank You For Shopping Here

Graffitti. Calligraphy.

Both celebrate the power and expressive ability of the letterform and yet each appear as entirely separate pursuits. Uniting them requires understanding both very well, contemplating their friction, their possibilities, and a lot of negotiation.

Niels Show Meulman. BedStuy Art Residence. Brooklyn, NY. May 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Since 2007 Niels “Shoe” Meulman has been investigating, experimenting with, enraptured by this pursuit. From thousands of hand sketches in his black book to the full-body immersion techniques of creating across large walls and floors, using paint and brush by the gallon in premeditated/subconscious all-inclusive gestural choreographies. Shoe knows how to stay in the moment.

It’s this elevating together of disciplines that reveals their contrasts; awakening the inner conflicts and core strengths, parading them on view.

Niels Show Meulman. BedStuy Art Residence. Brooklyn, NY. May 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

He discovered the perfect transmutation here in Brooklyn. It was that night of art-making with Haze that was a turning point..

“We both decided to go to the art store and get a whole lot of tools and stuff and just started working to see what would come out,” he says as he glances out the 1st floor brownstone window at the pile of recycled cardboard in the tiny courtyard. 26 years as a writer from Amsterdam who had met his New York graffiti heroes like Dondi, Rammellzee, and Haring, Shoe had pursued a career in advertising, and was still in love with fonts and their power to communicate.

“Without a commission, without a brief,” he remembers. “And like that – my old passion, calligraphy, mixing with graffiti, just came out!”

Niels Show Meulman. BedStuy Art Residence. Brooklyn, NY. May 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Shoe says he created “calligraffiti” and he ran with it: developing a body of work around it, writing a book about it (Calligraffiti), collaborating with a growing number of artists who also had an affinity for the penmanship of an artful communication modality that spans centuries.

He has developed brushes, tools, techniques, opened a gallery in a garage (Unruly), covered surfaces from cars to museum walls, finished three more books (Painter, Abstract Vandalism and Shoe is my Middle name). It was as if he had finally decided at 40 that it was okay to be an artist, and he left advertising to dedicate himself fully to his craft.

“Because my dad is also an artist- maybe I was finding the right moment to be an artist,” he says as he shows you a stack of many papers from the art supply store, and he contemplates why he had hesitated for years. It’s not that he was concerned about competing with his father, but the stakes were high. Speaking of his father, he says, “I think he was thinking ‘if you’re going to be an artist you better be a successful one’ – because being a struggling artist – that’s the worst!”

Additionally, he thought that before he could call himself an artist, he should have something substantial to show. “It also felt like there was something more profound to it,” he says. “I always thought that to be an artist you have to have life experience and have some knowledge and purpose to bring to the table, you know?”

Niels Show Meulman. BedStuy Art Residence. Brooklyn, NY. May 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Whether wide tip, wide brush, or wide cap, the bending letters are cryptic and stern in their old-worldliness. Fluid and stilted, wild and ornate, gilded, in black, in iridescence, in silver and gold. The additional layers of ink burst violently with destructive force in the swipe, the slash, the bash. The splatters are sometimes built up like an aura that glows around the cavorting dark letters – as if bruised and pummeled, their damaged and moistened epidermis now sweating black blood, infusing the air with a miasma of industrial soot.

Niels Show Meulman. BedStuy Art Residence. Brooklyn, NY. May 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

With broad interests that delve into abstract, into wordplay, even poetry, this moment is the clarity in early morning fog on a quiet street in old BedStuy, now rumbling with the sweet sickness of gentrification. The residency that brings him here is so named to recall history and to look forward, offering a respite for many a visiting Street Artist.

“I didn’t really have a plan when I came here but, like many times, I come up with something on the plane like the day before – and of course it’s brewing in my head.”

Niels Show Meulman. BedStuy Art Residence. Brooklyn, NY. May 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

He points to a couple of handled black plastic shopping bags that he has tacked to the wall. With a capacity to recognize and understand his own emotions and the emotions of an era, he has connected to the pleasantry printed on them “Thank You for Shopping With Us!”. It’s not just the sentiment that captures the late 1970s design hand, for him, it’s the upbeat openness and lyrical bending of the letters and lines that attract him.

The letters are sweet like cherry lip-gloss on a rollerskater in hot pants in Central Park. Suddenly you are flipping through the pages of Eros, Fact, or Avant Garde, a relief of melodic line and sexual liberty.

Niels Show Meulman. BedStuy Art Residence. Brooklyn, NY. May 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

“Thank you for shopping!” he exclaims like a fan. “That’s so New York for me; that’s exactly graffiti – that 70s Herb Lubalin look,” he says of a time when magazines were so head-over-heels in love with new type treatments that they might feature a 2-page spread of it entirely just for you to salivate over.

“It’s free,” he says, perhaps reflective of the liberal sway of social mores and the swinging romance that advertising had with the Baby Boomer’s ‘me’ generation of the seventies. It’s a phrase rooted in consumerism, cities were in the last throes of an ample middleclass America who had cash and credit to shop with.  That fact contrasted with the suffering of a bankrupt NYC – a spirit that inspired train writers as well, even if used as critique.

Niels Show Meulman. BedStuy Art Residence. Brooklyn, NY. May 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

“I think the whole graffiti scene that started here had something to do with this sort of lettering,” he says. “It came from that freedom that you could see in advertising. The type design was so good.”

Niels Show Meulman. BedStuy Art Residence. Brooklyn, NY. May 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

For now, this month-long residency is a reprieve for Shoe, a time to examine and relax into the spring that gradually warms New York and brings rose blooms to the bush in the small front yard of this residential street. His new sketches from his black book contain pithy barbs, hidden meanings, pop-culture references, and life truisms drawn in what he might refer to as a monk-like manner.

“I’m not religious. I don’t follow any religion and I don’t meditate but I like this idea of knowledge and introspection,” he says. “This is where Chinese calligraphy comes in and you are reminded of the medieval monks and all kinds of calligraphers”.

Niels Show Meulman. BedStuy Art Residence. Brooklyn, NY. May 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

A congenial host, Shoe shows us walls full of new pieces, individual words or phrases on a large variety of papers, textures, and stocks. He describes his inks with as much enthusiasm as his personal relationships, which are sometimes as tumultuous as the intense splashes of midnight here. You can see there is definitely work being done.

“That knowledge comes from that kind of introspection. The influence of Japanese and Chinese calligraphy comes in because at that time if you were by yourself writing…. Those monks either wanted to be enlightened or were enlightened in some way; it’s a search,” he says.

“This is where I am.”

Niels Show Meulman. BedStuy Art Residence. Brooklyn, NY. May 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Niels Show Meulman. BedStuy Art Residence. Brooklyn, NY. May 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Niels Show Meulman. BedStuy Art Residence. Brooklyn, NY. May 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Niels Show Meulman. BedStuy Art Residence. Brooklyn, NY. May 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Niels Show Meulman. BedStuy Art Residence. Brooklyn, NY. May 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

To learn more about the BedStuy Art Residency, please go HERE.

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Li-Hill Studies the ‘Process of Acceleration’ at Grenoble Street Art Fest, France

Li-Hill Studies the ‘Process of Acceleration’ at Grenoble Street Art Fest, France

Research about Grenoble, France was foundational to Canadian Street Artist Li-Hills’ new mural for this street art festival, as was science.

Li-Hill “Process of Acceleration“. Street Art Fest Grenoble Alpes. Grenoble, France. June 2019. (photo courtesy of the artist)

“The figures become an allegory for the technological advancements of humans through history,” says Li-Hill, “pulling the water from the neighboring rivers and harnessing energy into innovation throughout time.”

Li-Hill “Process of Acceleration“. Street Art Fest Grenoble Alpes. Grenoble, France. June 2019. (photo courtesy of the artist)

Hidden within this multiple exposure action painting is the artists research into the city’s geographic setting “amid the mountains and rushing rivers, allowing for the advancement in early Hydrological energy,” says the artis when explaining the inspiration and interpretive process that went into the planning of the new wall he does here for the Grenoble Street Art Festival, 4th edition.  

Li-Hill “Process of Acceleration“. Street Art Fest Grenoble Alpes. Grenoble, France. June 2019. (photo courtesy of the artist)
Li-Hill “Process of Acceleration“. Street Art Fest Grenoble Alpes. Grenoble, France. June 2019. (photo courtesy of the artist)
Li-Hill “Process of Acceleration“. Street Art Fest Grenoble Alpes. Grenoble, France. June 2019. (photo courtesy of the artist)
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The Dusty Rebel: “Resistance Is Queer” Phone Booth Campaign in NYC

The Dusty Rebel: “Resistance Is Queer” Phone Booth Campaign in NYC

Who writes your history? Who would gladly suppress it?


By reviving and celebrating those who the mainstream historically underplays, undercuts, neatly overlooks, and otherwise de facto silences, a new takeover campaign on NY streets helps write the history of LGBTQ struggle, and keeps it just as relevant as this moment.

Photographer and journalist The Dusty Rebel now curates the same streets he documents and shares with BSA readers today his determined campaign to revive, preserve, propel forward the significant players and events that have fought in their myriad ways, with the admonishment to keep fighting. With “Resistance is Queer” he uses his images and his respect for LGBTQ history to ensure that the full spectrum of people are recognized for their contributions to this civil rights struggle for equality.

We’re grateful that he has taken the time to explain in detail the people behind the images and their significance to him personally as well as their role in a people’s history.


RESISTANCE IS QUEER


by The Dusty Rebel

The Dusty Rebel. Miss Colombia. In collaboration with #KeepFighting (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Ms Colombia (aka Oswaldo Gomez)


This Resistance Is Queer poster features a photograph I took of the beloved Ms Colombia at the 2015 Easter Parade, who sadly passed away in 2018. This excerpt from The New York Times summarizes many of my thoughts on Ms Colombia:

“Daniel Albanese, a street photographer who often shot her, said that Gómez was loved because she resisted classification, refusing to soften her queerness, her personality or her aesthetic, even as the reputation and culture of the city mellowed out. ‘For me, Ms. Colombia was the embodiment of liberation,” he said. “She showed us how to thrive in the unique environment that is New York and proved this city is still a place where those who feel marginalized can flourish and be celebrated.’” — Ms. Colombia Refused to Soften Her Queerness. She Paraded It, The New York Times Magazine, 12/28/2018

The Dusty Rebel. Sister Lotti Da. In collaboration with #KeepFighting (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Sister Lotti Da


As I said last year at our MoMA PS1 talk, “Every expression of queer existence is a revolutionary act.” That’s why this #ResistanceIsQueer poster features activist Sister Lotti Da, The Merry Sodomite, of the Missionary Order of Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. This photograph was taken during the casting of the circle at the 2018 NYC Drag March, which reminds me how beautiful it is when queer people take space and celebrate our lives.

The Dusty Rebel. I Like Dick. I Like Taters. Not Dictators. In collaboration with #KeepFighting (photo © Jaime Rojo)

I Like Dick. I Like Taters. Not Dictators.


This Resistance Is Queer poster features a photograph I took at the LGBT Solidarity Rally outside the Stonewall Inn on February 4, 2017. Thousands gathered for the demonstration to stand with “every immigrant, asylum seeker, refugee and every person impacted by Donald Trump’s illegal, immoral, unconstitutional and un-American executive orders.”

The Dusty Rebel. Dick Leitsch. In collaboration with #KeepFighting (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Dick Leitsch


This Resistance Is Queer poster features a photograph I took of Dick Leitsch at the 52nd anniversary of the historic “Sip-In” at Julius’ Bar in the West Village. Leitsch—president of gay rights group the Mattachine Society in the 1960s—was one of the four homosexuals who led a pioneering act of civil disobedience to secure the right of gay patrons to be served in a licensed bar, helping to clear the way for gay bars to operate openly in New York State. Dick Leitsch passed away in 2018, at the age of 83.

The Dusty Rebel. Hope Will Never Be Silent. In collaboration with #KeepFighting (photo © Jaime Rojo)

“Hope Will Never Be Silent”


An encore of my first Resistance Is Queer poster, which features a photograph I took at the 2016 NYC Drag March. Tattooed on his back is a quote—“Hope Will Never Be Silent”—is from Harvey Milk, the first openly gay person to be elected to public office in California. Milk was assassinated just under 11 months in office.


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BSA Images Of The Week: 06.23.19

BSA Images Of The Week: 06.23.19

Two things come to mind simultaneously as we publish this collection of Street Art and graffiti.
1. All the Rainbow Flag waving means nothing if you are not willing to help protect the dignity of immigrants who are being dragged from their homes and thrown in jail-detention centers in the US, and
2. All white people are immigrants and descendants of immigrants.

We’ve all seen this movie before. Or our parents did. Or our grandparents did. You’re next, baby!

It was great to see/hear/feel Faile and Swizz Beats doing a quick summer dance party this week in Manhattan – flourescent madness ya’ll. Also, it was astounding to see so many graffiti heads and other notables at Beyond the Streets this week – It was a cultural event that blew our minds. Seriously, Corn Bread was actually selling t-shirts on a table at the entrance – and that started the litany. You can see our review published yesterday.

And finally, can we call a moratorium on rain for a few days? The grass and trees are green already.

So here’s our weekly interview with the street (or boardwalk), this time featuring AME 72, Bisco Smith, Emma Apicelli, Feminists in Struggle, IXNAY, Joe Caslin, Katsu, Part Time Artist, Royce Bannon, and Tonk Hawaii.

Joe Caslin. WorldPride Mural Project Initiative. The L.I.S.A. Project NYC. Manhattan, NY (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Royce Bannon (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Katsu (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Bisco Smith (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Part Time Artist (photo © Jaime Rojo)
AME 72 (photo © Jaime Rojo)
AME 72 (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Feminists In Struggle (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Emma Apicelli (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Jaye Moon. Calle Me By Your Name. WorldPride Mural Project Initiative. The L.I.S.A. Project NYC. Manhattan, NY (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Ms. Moon made this installation using Legos with a message in Braille. The words in the message was taken from the script of the movie “Call Me By Your Name.”

Jaye Moon. Call Me By Your Name. WorldPride Mural Project Initiative. The L.I.S.A. Project NYC. Manhattan, NY (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Jaye Moon. Call Me By Your Name. WorldPride Mural Project Initiative. The L.I.S.A. Project NYC. Manhattan, NY (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Street protester (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Novy (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Novy (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Novy (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Unidentified artist (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Tonk Hawaii (photo © Jaime Rojo)
IXNAY (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Untitled. The Last Picture. Brooklyn, NY. June 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
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“Beyond The Streets” Opens in New York : Beyond Labels, With Roots

“Beyond The Streets” Opens in New York : Beyond Labels, With Roots

Look Who’s Back in the Neighborhood

They used to run from the Vandal Squad in this neighborhood. Now people pay to see their art here.

Through the expansive glass wall on the 6th floor you can look down Kent Avenue to see the spot where a monster pickup truck with a heavy chain tied around a FAILE prayer wheel almost jackknifed on the sidewalk, gave up and sped away. Not that many Brooklynites saw that event in the 2000s – nobody walked here and few people drove through Williamsburg then except truckers looking for street walking ladies wearing high heels and spandex. Oh, and a serial killer.

Faile. Beyond The Streets New York. June 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Now visitors buy tickets to see a circular colonnade of FAILE prayer wheels here at 25 Kent – including the real estate developers and Wall Street professionals who displaced the community of artists whose work made the neighborhood attractive and “edgy”.

Along with Street Artists in this exhibition like Shepard Fairey, Bast, Swoon, Invader, Aiko, Dan Witz, Katsu, 1UP, and Lister, the FAILE duo put completely illegal artworks on walls under cover of night and threat of arrest in this same neighborhood then – transforming it with many others who are not in this show into an open gallery of the streets, placing Williamsburg on the map as New Yorks’ epicenter of the newly emerging Street Art scene. 

Swoon. Beyond The Streets New York. June 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

The Nature of Graffiti and Street Art

As graffiti and Street Art are migratory and necessarily elusive by nature, this story is only one chapter in a volume of history that serious academics are now reconstructing and analyzing. With each passing year and published white paper, the practices of 20th century public mark-making are being examined in greater detail for archiving and for posterity. Not surprisingly, institutions, patrons, collectors, and brands are increasingly interested in this story as well.

When it comes to the anarchic subculture of illegal street art practice and its influence on society, there are non-stop ironies sprayed en route from verboten to Vuitton, and street culture has supercharged the imagination of the mainstream and high culture throughout history – that’s where the best ideas come from sometimes. Many seminal artworks from “the scene”, as it were, represent much more than what you are seeing at first glance. As art and cultural critic Carlo McCormick has described the iconic Shepard Fairey ‘Hope’ image in Art in America, many graffiti and Street Art works saved are “not a fleeting pop-culture sensation but simply the latest crossover hit in a long line of underground classics.”

The wide-ranging survey that is Beyond the Streets makes sure that you know where the roots are, and who many of the pioneers were. It is impossible to tell a complete story that includes scenes as diverse as west coast Chicano muralism, hobo graffiti, hip-hop commercial design, NY downtown artivism, Japanese low/hi contemporary, skateboard, tattoo, early train writing and a current romance with muralism, but BTS at least gives a serious consideration to each and offers you the opportunity to look further into them.

Martha Cooper with BGirl Rockafelka. Beyond The Streets New York. June 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

With the help of photography documentation from people like Martha Cooper, Henry Chalfant, Jim Prigoff, Lisa Kahane, Joe Conzo, John Fekner, Bill Daniel, Maripol, and Dash Snow, the crucial importance of this work provides needed interstitial and contextual information that enables myriad stories to be elucidated.

Joe Conzo. Beyond The Streets New York. June 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

The Scale, The History

Exhaustive, no. Exhausting, possibly. Pace yourself.

 “I spent my life surrounded by graffiti and Street Art,” says the shows’ director Roger Gastman “and you could say that I have been obsessed with understanding the culture, its origins, and its evolution. It’s incredible to me how far it has come.”

With 150 artists whose practices span five decades and various (mainly) American subcultures displayed in a maze of new walls in this 100,000 sf, two-floor exhibition, the Beyond the Streets senior curatorial team includes Gastman, filmmaker/ graffiti historian Sacha Jenkins SHR, Juxtapoz Editor in Chief Evan Pricco, and author/ graffiti historian / graffiti writer David CHINO Villorente. Each curator brings core competencies and knowledge of the graffiti scene (Gastman, Jenkins, Villorente) as it has evolved to include the Street Art practice and an eventual move toward contemporary art (Pricco).

“It’s absolutely phenomenal,” says Villorente, who says his history as a graffiti writer compounds the impact for him. “I was glad that the show was coming to New York because I was born and raised in Brooklyn. I couldn’t have imagined it – especially when I think back on when I was writing on the trains and doing illegal graffiti. To have of show of this magnitude is really special.”

Mike 171. Beyond The Streets New York. June 2019. (photo © Steven P. Harrington)

“We started writing in ’68 and here we are, fifty-one years later,” says Mike 171 as he gestures toward himself and crew writer SJK 171 when talking about how they began and continued writing their tags on the street in New York City. “This is the history right here,” he says, and you know you are about to be schooled about the plain realities of early graffiti writing. At the opening, you witness each guy tagging in a large dusty window here and realize the love for writing never actually stops.

“We were expressing something that was inside of us,” says SJK 171. “The streets were like ours,” he tells you against a backdrop of their work, Cornbread’s work, and of images full of one color, single line monikers that set the stage for the more colorful, character-driven pieces and burners a decade later, transforming trains into a rolling aesthetic symphony by the mid 1970s.

Cornbread. Beyond The Streets New York. June 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo). Beyond The Streets New York. June 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

One of the actual “whole car” writers of that period, Lee “LEE” Quinones, here recreates a “Soul Train” car side on a canvas that looks like it could easily wrap an actual MTA #2-line car that he used to slaughter with cans in the middle of the night at the train yard. When describing the new work he said he was intentionally keeping it simple – perhaps owing the style to his earlier practice.

Lee Quinones. Beyond The Streets New York. June 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

“I think this is one of Lee’s most amazing pieces,” says Charlie Ahearn, the director of the seminal 1982 “Wild Style” film that Quinones stars in. Ahearn self-produced that film which became an important distillation of the merging of graffiti with hip-hop culture during a pivotal moment in the history of both. Now also a professor of Hip-Hop, art, design, and documentary film making at Pace University, Ahearn is familiar with many of the artists work here, many relationships reaching back decades. “I told Lee that I liked that it was a one-off, that he painted all the color straight off without the embellishment, texturing, and all that stuff.”

John and Charlie Ahearn. Beyond The Streets New York. June 2019. (photo © Steven P. Harrington)

Charlie’s twin brother John Ahearn is represented here popping out from walls as well, his sculptures serving as authentic portraits of people you may easily have seen on New York streets over the last four decades. Casted directly on top of the people themselves in a technique he has perfected, the placement of the sculptures gives life to the space.

Star Writers, Immersive Environments, Foundations

Dabsmyla. Beyond The Streets New York. June 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

The individual clusters of work and canvasses by 1970s-80s train painters like Futura, Crash, Lady Pink, Freedom, Carlos Mare, Blade, Haze, and Daze and next gen graphic painters like Doze Green and Rime are complemented by a number of so-called “immersive” spaces here like the Mission Schools’ Barry McGee storefront with smashed window, and the Australian Pop duo Dabs & Myla’s eye candy floral walls with thousands of artificial fauna created in collaboration with Amelia Posada.

Myla. Beyond The Streets New York. June 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Shepard Fairey. Beyond The Streets New York. June 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

The high-profile graphic activist Shepard Fairey’s 30 year career overview takes a large area and encompasses all elements of his street and studio practice, and Bill Barminski’s cardboard home is open for you to explore with a wry smile, remembering the security room installation he did at Banksy’s Dismaland a couple years earlier.

Bill Barminski. Beyond The Streets New York. June 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

You’re also treated to a full rolling wall of Craig Stecyk posters that brings you the sun and surf of California skate culture, sculptures by Mr. Cartoon and Risk, a kid-friendly illustrated room with crafting supplies for young fans on tables from HuskMitNavn, and an astute freight train culture educational display by writer/painter/sculptor Tim Conlon (complete with a mid-sized Southern Pacific freight on train tracks he and friends built), prints/photos by historian Bill Daniel, and original drawings by the man some call the King of Hobo Art, buZ blurr.

John Fekner. Beyond The Streets New York. June 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

“These are a self portrait as predicated on a first Bozo Texino person and I kind of changed the image around,” says Mr. blurr, a legendary figure in denim overalls, as he patiently describes his classic tag image of a railway cowboy.

“It is a writer motif – the pipe smoke is going up and then it is trailing back to signify movement as the train goes down the track,” he says. “I worked in the train yards and my job was as a brakeman. I had a little free time so I started making drawings. I made my first one on November 11, 1971,” he says as he recalls the state of mind that he was in at the time as he began to tag freights with the image and text that came to him clearly – and may have perplexed other travellers.

buZ blurr. Beyond The Streets New York. June 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

“They came from a confused state. I was questioning everything. I was putting kind of cryptic messages under my drawings. It was anybody’s guess as to its literal interpretation. I addressed some of them up to specific people but whether they saw them or responded to them, I wouldn’t have any idea.”  

Tim Conlon. Beyond The Streets New York. June 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

“When it’s shipped in the crate its 550 pounds,” says Conlon as he stands by the 3-foot high freight car re-creation on tracks and ties that is hit with a couple of wild and colorful graffiti burners. “Here I’m going to show you something,” he says as he pulls back the roof to reveal the narrow coffin interior in rusted red. “So I’m going to hide some beer in here during the opening party. This is like the fifth one of these I’ve made,” and he proudly confides that one lives in the house of Robert Downey Jr.

Digging Deep to Take Risks

Not content to rest on laurels and previous formulas of success, the show keeps a freshness by presenting known entities pushing themselves further and taking creative risks; a reflection of that spirit of experimentation we have always prized on the street.

Graffiti writer Earsnot from Irak crew, now known professionally as Kunle Martin, said he had been making work for the gallery containing elements of graffiti, but felt they were too “safe”.

Kunle Martin AKA Earsnot. Beyond The Streets New York. June 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

“Then my friend Dan said ‘you should go back to doing drawings,’” he says as he stands before figurative canvasses in black and white on cardboard. “I said ‘I can’t! It’s too hard! But eventually I began working in my studio five days a week, and I made enough for a show.”

Reflective of the attitude of Gastman toward artists in the community, he told Martin that if he made enough of them, he could place them in this show. “I think he was happy to hear that I was in my studio working. He’s been very supportive of it.”

Kunle Martin. Beyond The Streets New York. June 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

A fluorescent color-drenched graphic/photographic collage style is featured with plenty of space in large frames from Chicago’s Pose, who says he is letting photography and geometry lead him away from his previous pop collage style that may have reminded many of Lichtenstein. His inspiration here comes from his research into early photos of graffiti writers running from police “I was obsessed with John Naars photos and I have usually Norman Mailer as in inspiration. Some of these photo references are from the Philadelphia Inquirer,” he says.

Pose. Beyond The Streets New York. June 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Pose. Beyond The Streets New York. June 2019. (photo © Steven P. Harrington)

New York’s Eric Haze also dares himself to take a new direction with three canvasses featuring a refracted piecing-together of imagery and memories of this city in monochrome. Based on black and white scenes of the city by photographer and NYC taxi driver Matt Weber, the scenes capture aspects that are culled from imagination and impression. The centerpiece canvas captures an iconic piece of the Williamsburg waterfront that has been removed in the last few years by developers; the signage of the old Domino Sugar factory by the Williamsburg Bridge.

Haze. Beyond The Streets New York. June 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Mr. Haze said he meant it as a gift and tribute to his wife, actress and longtime resident of the neighborhood, Rosie Perez who used to see it along Kent Avenue as a kid.  “He’s not afraid to take risks. He’s not afraid to go in the studio and express what’s inside of him. When he brought me to the studio, he says, ‘I have a surprise for you’,” she remembers. “I saw the beginnings of the Domino painting and I was stunned into silence and I got teary-eyed.”

Rosie Perez. Beyond The Streets New York. June 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Beyond Labels

An expanded version of the show that first mounted in Los Angeles last year, the collection is focused a great deal on the American history of graffiti with a balance of East/West coast graffiti history – in a way that may remind you of 2011’s “Art in the Streets” at LA MoCA. That makes sense, considering Gastman co-curated that show as well.

“It’s both a historical and current look at where the culture went and where it started and how widespread it is,” says co-curator Evan Pricco, who perhaps provides a lynchpin view toward the big name Street Artists who continued to push expectations in the 2000’s on streets and in commercial galleries around the world. “With the space spread over two floors it has a way better curatorial sense. I also think it does compete with museums because it shows that this kind of work is on the same level. You kind of have to present it in a way that feels very institutional and archival.”

So is Beyond the Streets a graffiti show or a Street Art show or a contemporary art show? For artist Kenny Scharf, who first gained attention during the heyday of Downtown Manhattan’s art scene that benefitted from an interlude where rents were dirt cheap and Wall Street was on a cocaine high, there is no need to categorize what kind of art this is.

Kenny Scharf. Beyond The Streets New York. June 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

“You know I never liked labels or titles anyway so even back in the early 80s I was pegged like ‘oh you’re a graffiti artist,’” he says. “People feel the need to title and label so I’ll let them to continue to do that but I don’t fit into any of them and I don’t want to. I want to fit into all of them and none of them.”

Beyond the Streets opened June 21 and continues through the summer.

MADSAKI. Beyond The Streets New York. June 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Blade and Doze Green. Beyond The Streets New York. June 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Katsu. Beyond The Streets New York. June 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Gajin Fujita. Beyond The Streets New York. June 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Faith XLVII. Beyond The Streets New York. June 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
John Ahearn. Beyond The Streets New York. June 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Jane Dickson. Beyond The Streets New York. June 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Dan Witz. Beyond The Streets New York. June 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
1UP Crew…it’s always a good thing to have your friends near by when you need them the most… Beyond The Streets New York. June 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
1UP Crew. Beyond The Streets New York. June 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)ork. June 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Cleon Peterson. Beyond The Streets New York. June 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Conor Harrington. Beyond The Streets New York. June 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Felipe Pantone. Beyond The Streets New York. June 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Beastie Boys. Beyond The Streets New York. June 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Nekst . Risk. Beyond The Streets New York. June 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Bast . Paul Insect. Beyond The Streets New York. June 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Invader. Beyond The Streets New York. June 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Ron English. Beyond The Streets New York. June 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Patrick Martinez. Beyond The Streets New York. June 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Dust tagger. Beyond The Streets New York. June 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Martha Cooper with Freedom. Beyond The Streets New York. June 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
What’s left and soon to be gone of the old Williamsburg’s waterfront right across from Beyond The Streets New York. June 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Martha Cooper’s work as exhibited at Beyond The Streets New York

Beyond The Streets NYC is now open in Williamsburg, Brooklyn to the general public and will run until August 2019. Click HERE for schedules, tickets and details.

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BSA Film Friday: 06.21.19

BSA Film Friday: 06.21.19

Our weekly focus on the moving image and art in the streets. And other oddities.

Now screening :
1. INTI in Moscow: РАБОТНИЦА” (Worker Woman)
2. Beyond The Streets New York; Press Preview
3. Shepard Fairey Celebrates 30 Years on the Street
4. Penique Productions and BSA Talks at Urvanity 2019 Madrid

BSA Special Feature: INTI in Moscow: РАБОТНИЦА” (Worker Woman)

This is a brief once-over video of Chilean Street Artist INTI’s new mural in Moscow for the Artrium project. The latest painting by a slew of international Street Artists on and in this mall called Atrium, Inti says that his mural is an allusion to the important roles women have played in “the great social changes of the 20th century”.

Nameless heroines
This new mural by INTI, alludes to the important role that women have played in the great social changes of the 20th century. The mural is one of several that are part of the “Artrium” project, which has managed to subtract advertising space in exchange for murals in the center of Moscow.


Beyond The Streets New York; Press Preview

A quick look at the press opening day for Beyond The Streets, a large survey of contemporary canvasses, sculptures, and installations by artists who have a direct connection to graffiti, Street Art, and other forms of unpermissioned installations in public space. It gives you a quick feel for the excitement that was palpable this week.

Shepard Fairey Celebrates 30 Years on the Street

Shepard Fairey’s Facing The Giant show within the massive Beyond The Streets exhibit now opening in Brooklyn. We had a chance to see the large rooms before the public poured in this week, and we quickly gained an appreciation for the range of issues and subcultures he has championed and promoted over the last three decades, as well as his consistency in style and quality.

A quick glimpse at the artist’s ouvre in less than a minute…this is a teaser of sorts. The retrospective is meticulously organized and presented to give the viewer ample time to get lost in Shepard’s career on the streets and inside galleries and institutions worldwide.

Penique Productions and BSA Talks at Urvanity 2019 Madrid

We’ll not quickly forget the plunge into crimson that BSA Talks lived in for our three days of curated discussions this March in Madrid. This video gives an idea what the artmosphere was there while we presented some of the most curious minds and visuals at URVANITY and met educated audiences, artists, and rebels of all stripes.

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Mr. Sis Paints #SoloUnBeso in Barcelona

Mr. Sis Paints #SoloUnBeso in Barcelona

They don’t call it World Pride for nothing, and many artists are creating new public artworks this month to commemorate the 5oth anniversary of the modern rights movement for LBGTQ+ people in many cities.

Mr. Sis. “Solo Un Beso”. Contorno Urbano Foundation / 12+1 Project. Barcelona. June 2019. (photo © Clara Anton)

Artist Mr. Sis is in Barcelona painting this pair of full figured females going in for the kiss on this billboard for Contorno Urbano. The community powered initiative invites all manner of artists to participate and this illustrator who also is formally trained in dance and theater is gratified to have the opportunity to create a public painting. He calls this “Sol Un Beso” or “Just a Kiss”.

As we recognize that not everyone around the world has the freedom to love who they want, in fact face violence and threats from state and civil entities, Mr. Sis says he would really love it if people use his new hashtag #SoloUnBeso.

Post a kiss and tag it! Your image may go a long way.

Mr. Sis. “Solo Un Beso”. Contorno Urbano Foundation / 12+1 Project. Barcelona. June 2019. (photo © Clara Anton)
Mr. Sis. “Solo Un Beso”. Contorno Urbano Foundation / 12+1 Project. Barcelona. June 2019. (photo © Clara Anton)
Mr. Sis. “Solo Un Beso”. Contorno Urbano Foundation / 12+1 Project. Barcelona. June 2019. (photo © Clara Anton)
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Abe Lincoln Jr. Keeps Fighting & He Isn’t Alone

Abe Lincoln Jr. Keeps Fighting & He Isn’t Alone

What is #keepfighting?

Street Artist and activist Abe Lincoln Jr. is one of the growing ranks of subvertising executives on the streets today who are flipping the script on public messaging. Phone booths on city streets were meant as a public accommodation but eventually they were commandeered for private advertising and endless campaigns of commercial speech.

Jilly Ballistic. #keepfighting (photo © Jaime Rojo)

With his new #keepfighting ad takeover campaign of art by himself and other artists, the self proclaimed agitator says we should continue fighting for what we believe in. What do you want to raise awareness about? That is up to you.

Icon Brad. #keepfighting (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Mahaala Saker. #keepfighting (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Captain Eyeliner. #keepfighting (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Head over to @keepfightingnyc on Instagram to keep up with the campaing

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