All posts tagged: Ad DeVille

FAME GAME – 20 Years of Skewville, Escape from New York

FAME GAME – 20 Years of Skewville, Escape from New York

Pivotal figures on New York’s homegrown Street Art scene tell BSA that they are getting out while there is still a chance.

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Skewville (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Rough edged humorists and twin brothers Droo and Ad Deville are closing down the bong factory in Queens and the former Factory Fresh gallery space in Bushwick, Brooklyn and heading out of town.

No one is saying it is for good.

Beginning on the streets as art hoodlums named Skewville in 1996, the brothers embraced a netherworld of art-making that adroitly courted fame among peers, echoing the graffiti credo of claiming territory, commanding space, and earning respect from a fan base of informed New York urban art watchers.

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Skewville. These dogs were put up on this wall on the LES in 2003. They remained hidden under a billboard. The billboard came down in 2012. Shortly after I took this photo the wall was painted black, including the dogs. The dogs are still visible all in black. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

“It was just a New York term. Don’t step on my dogs,” Ad Deville explains of his and Droo’s flat wooden sneakers; screen printed, drilled, cut and wired together to sling over street lamp wires.

A New York signature on New York streets, these archetypes of modern city life could be seen silhouetted at a distance and read in detail when you got closer. A genius tag that incorporated street and school stories of their youth in Queens – stories of gangs and drug dealers and tributes to the dead and the marking of territories.

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Skewville (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Through the repetition of tossing their tag across the city their “flying dogs” became their unique signature on the skyline. An unheard of way to “get up” that combined the outlaw ethos of graffiti, the repetitive logo-spreading of advertising, and the D.I.Y. craft-making of what was beginning to be commonly called Street Art.

Through the 2000s they took the wooden sneakers around the world and Ad shows us a diary he made that records much of it. “This book is everywhere we tossed. I made a record of it. This is everywhere we went, the first thousand pairs. Everywhere we went – we brought this and documented it.”

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Skewville with BAST, TIKI, El Celso and EKG. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

He reads aloud what he is seeing as he flips pages. “Droo missed a bunch of times, everyone was looking… Right in front of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame….” They favored hitting wires near museums and high visibility spots not known for a graffiti or Street Art scene. There are even photos of Skewville sneakers hanging off wires on Utah Park City ski slopes.

5,000 plus pairs, more than they can count now, ended up in London, Seattle, New York, Mexico, Norway, Amsterdam, South Africa, – enough places for Droo to say they were global.

Now the Factory Fresh building is sold – the site of the early Bushwick gallery Ad founded with Ali Ha. They had leap-frogged Williamsburg into Bushwick from running the Orchard Street Art Gallery on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. Back when they arrived the ‘Wick had two other galleries that most people knew of – Ad Hoc and English Kills.

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Skewville  and FAILE. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Meanwhile they’re leaving Queens too. Droo is putting away all the unshipped bongs that emulate Coke and Heineken bottles and school lunch boxes and they’re going through the flatfiles of artworks the guys say they stole from the streets and inherited or bought from friends.

In between the epic era of flying dogs and today they say both had a lot of adventures and laughter and fights and even a period of silence between the two of them over the direction their fine art and commercial careers were headed. Recalling stories there is a lot of joking and they talk over each others sentences, sometimes quibbling over points, or clarifying details and storylines.

Never short of creative ideas, these guys have brought a hilarious blend of street humor that has consistently mocked the over-serious bravado of graffiti/street codes and the pissing matches over territory and style. They have also lampooned consumer culture and played with the obviously manipulative sloganeering of advertising that sells us stuff we don’t need.

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Skewville, GoreB, Tiki. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

With rollers and wheatpastes and sculptural installations on the street, on roofs, on walls, in empty lots, and in galleries; they have blended signage and sarcasm with the vernacular of daily life and blocky 2D figure studies that mash Picasso and dime store greeting cards from the 1970s. They’ve recycled garbage cans, milk crates, soda bottles, transister radios, air conditioner panels, suitcases, car tires, and electrical conduit. They’ve screen printed t-shirts, posters, and artworks, and jigsaw cut and constructed enormous boomboxes and merry-go-rounds and illuminated signs that say stuff like “Yo-Yo” and “Sucks Either Way”.

In their hands graffiti throwies and bubble tags suddenly got sharp corners and comically warped perspectives, blocky letters seem obvious but their smart-aleck slogans cryptically allude to conmen and street vernacular. “Brooklyn Beef”, “This Ain’t Kansas”, “Keep On Grass”, “Next Level”, “Today’s Special”, “Act Now”, “Check Yo Self”, “Step Off”, “Brooklyn Flavor”, “Fame Game.”

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Skewville, Dan Witz, EKG, ELC, BAST, El Celso and Michael DeFeo. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

“For us there are a lot of layers that go over all of the realm,” Ad says and talks about how the game has changed and how the commercial and marketing aspect that new artists bring to the streets has been discouraging to him and the people he came up with.

He shows us the walls he says he actually stole from the street to create a canvas lining a basement show in 2006 with a few artists whose names became familiar to larger audiences and says that this was when the walls actually looked like a Street Art scene was in effect.

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Skewville (photo © Jaime Rojo)

“In 2006 there was this show in a basement in Brooklyn – this guy Lou (Auguste) did a documentary called ‘Open Air.’ It was Faile, Bast, Aiko, Dan Witz, ESPO, Tiki Jay One, Michale De Feo, us. I curated the show. We lined the entire gallery with walls we stole off the streets. Nothing was for sale.” That really wasn’t the point, he says, even though already there were already people giving street art tours in Manhattan by then.

But when were the golden years exactly? In the documentary Adam was already lamenting the state of Street Art and its soul-crushing insincerity. “It’s going to die out soon. It’s going to implode,” he says. Elsewhere he says “I think the Internet is what made it so big but that is also what is killing it.”

“You kill the mystique. That’s what sucks about the Internet.”

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Skewville (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Ten years later he has invited the Internet to see and paw through boxes of what he has packed for storage just before escaping from Brooklyn. Truthfully, it looks like the brothers are going to need a small warehouse.

Lest you think it’s been easy, the guys can tell you about being overlooked in their early days by galleries and feeling neatly dissed repeatedly by early bloggers who considered themselves Street Art gatekeepers.

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Skewville (photo © Jaime Rojo)

On top of it, in 2003 the US Attorney General John Ashcroft launched “Operation Pipe Dreams” and cracked down on companies selling drug paraphernalia – and their bong business was nearly decimated because it seemed that their products did not appear to be for smoking tobacco.

These days their art is only occasionally on the street however they’ve found serious collectors in certain parts of Europe who snap up their canvasses and embrace their new ideas, so even though Droo’s got kids and a regular job and is moving to Long Island and Adam is talking about Berlin, you can wager that Skewville will simply continue to shapeshift and re-configure.

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Skewville (photo © Jaime Rojo)

“When we did that Orchard Street show of sneakers in 2003 nobody was interested in them. I remember I was selling a pair for $20 and some guy was trying to talk me down to $15,” Adam says with a half smile. “I have that entire show boxed up and you can all just suck it now.” Recent prices of one pair have topped $600 so apparently $20 would have been a good deal.

In an interview with BSA a few years ago Ad told us a similar tale of grit and regeneration. “Instead of feeling bad that made us work harder to come out with different ideas and make new stuff”.

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Skewville (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Just before they both get out of New York we want to know if this seriously means they are quitting the streets and they both say they are ready to keep pursuing other art projects, but not to worry, they’ll still be in the game.

Twenty years of Skewville and of course the scene has changed. Chasing a street rep, a fine art name, and amassing an archive of enough art to mount a mid-career retrospective never would have happened if they hadn’t done the work and made the hustle. But the brothers want to make one thing clear about their seemingly zigzagging path.

“We didn’t do things to make money, we did it for fame,” Ad says.

Check.

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Skewville. Originally on 11 Spring building. (photo © Jaime Rojo).

With the galleries and shows, Ad and Ali also helped out a lot of other artists to get opportunities and exposure.

One by one New York artists neighborhoods are rapidly gentrified, ever higher rents are chasing people out, and the art in the streets often means legal murals. They love to make fun of the new kids from the Midwest and the beards and the Street Art tours. When it comes to art and artists in NYC, leaving the city is a refrain we’ve been hearing for five years.

“Skewville is officially leaving New York, at least temporarily,” says Ad. He announces it in that dramatic way that tells you he is looking for a slogan, and examining his our existence.

“The true question is, ‘Is it even worth staying?’ ”

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Skewville (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Skewville (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Skewville (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Skewville (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Skewville (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Skewville (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Skewville (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Skewville (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Skewville (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Skewville (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Skewville (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Skewville (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Skewville (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Skewville (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Skewville (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Skewville. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Up In Smoke. Skewville (photo © Jaime Rojo)

 

 

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BSA Film Friday 02.22.13


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

Now screening: En Masse X Musée des Beaux Arts de Montréal , Entes y Pesimo AKA Los Primos in Chile, and Jessy Nite in Hollywood: Diamonds….

 

BSA Special Feature:

En Masse X Musée des Beaux Arts de Montréal from Fred Caron

The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts invited the En Masse Project in for the creation of their new educational area, and here is a record of the installation by Fred Caron. Using only black and white, En Masse covered walls, ceilings, a hallway, and a staircase in the Museum as part of a new program of “educational zones” that offer free access and workshops to kids and their adults.

Artists include: Labrona, Tyler Rauman, Jason Botkin, Rupert Bottenberg, Fred Caron, Melissa DelPinto, Alan Ganev, Beef Oreo, Bruno Rathbone, Jason Wasserman, Peru143, Raphaële Bard, Ad Deville, MCBaldasseri, Dan Buller, Adam Vieira, Peter Ferguson, Carlos Santos, Katie Green, Cheryl Voisine, Tyson Bodnarhuk, Fred Casia, Dominic Brunette, Olivier Bonnard, Troy Lovegates, Lea Heinrich, Dave Todaro.

Entes y Pesimo AKA Los Primos in Chile

Here’s a video of Entes y Pesimo on their visit to Chile in November 2012.

Jessy Nite in Hollywood: Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend…

Creating a Hollyhood Kaleidoscope for The Downtown Hollywood Mural Project in Florida, here is a sunny warm look of the installation in video edited and shot by Peter Vahan.

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Skewville Completes Mural, Jon Burgerman Flashes People

Saturday was a magnificent day for creativity and Street Art in North Brooklyn – The Northside Music Festival and Northside Open Studios and Crest Fest all conspired to bring thousands of music and art fans to trounce and march and maraud through the streets and parks and abandoned lots to discover why the axis of culture has been shifting away from Manhattan these last few years. For many important and evident reasons, it is immensely easier to make stuff happen in Brooklyn for artists and the people who love them to aid and abet them in the creative spirit. We were immensely fortunate to be around to assist talents like near legendary Street Artists Skewville and Championship Doodler Jon Burgerman to make cool work this week and we’re happy as hell about it.

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Skewville. And on the Seventh Day the other half shows up (for a photo op) (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Skewville.  (photo © Jaime Rojo)

The foot traffic was heavy beneath the scissor lift as Street Art duo Skewville was finishing up a weeklong engagement with a wall across from the Brooklyn Brewery – a Grand Finale of a cityscape called “Last Exit to Skewville” that evolved over the 7 days to become a sweeping playland of sharp abstract shapes and poppy color. In many ways it is the culmination of a direction Skewville has been taking further away from representational and closer to abstract, less text heavy and literal – more implied.

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Yeah, like a regular movie star or something. Ad Deville poses with Jeremy and friend. (photo © Steven P. Harrington)

The steady stream of inquisitors on this street and the unsolicited advice and comments brought a smile to Ads’ face and a wisecrack to his lips often. In particular he liked the observation that a guy had about the two crossed boxes he tagged in the yellow patch of color in the corner. “I like the eyes you put in the sun,” he told the artist. Others just stopped to take pictures or even get their picture taken with Skewville. At one point it was a family affair as Ad and Droo and his young son were all spraying with the aerosol – as the youngster tried his luck first on a dropcloth with the pros giving advice, and then he hit the wall with two hands clasped around the can. Good to see Father’s Day weekend in full effect and the skillz being passed down to the next generation.

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Skewville. The mark of the twins. Their legs are apparently insured for millions by Lloyds of Brooklyn. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Skewville. The new generation of Skewville in training (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Skewville. The new generation of Skewville in training (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Future Painters of America meeting in progress. Skewville. Dad and Uncle cheer on the talented boy. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Skewville. After his little practice on the drop cloth he is ready for the wall. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Happy New Year! BSA Highlights of 2010

Year-in-review-2010-header

As we start a new year, we say thank you for the last one.

And Thank You to the artists who shared their 11 Wishes for 2011 with Brooklyn Street Art; Conor Harrington, Eli Cook, Indigo, Gilf, Todd Mazer, Vasco Mucci, Kimberly Brooks, Rusty Rehl, Tip Toe, Samson, and Ludo. You each contributed a very cool gift to the BSA family, and we’re grateful.

We looked over the last year to take in all the great projects we were in and fascinating people we had the pleasure to work with. It was a helluva year, and please take a look at the highlights to get an idea what a rich cultural explosion we are all a part of at this moment.

The new year already has some amazing new opportunities to celebrate Street Art and artists. We are looking forward to meeting you and playing with you and working with you in 2011.

Specter does “Gentrification Series” © Jaime Rojo
NohJ Coley and Gaia © Jaime Rojo
Jef Aerosol’s tribute to Basquiat © Jaime Rojo
***

January

Imminent Disaster © Steven P. Harrington
Fauxreel (photo courtesy the artist)
Chris Stain at Brooklyn Bowl © Jaime Rojo

February

Various & Gould © Jaime Rojo
Anthony Lister on the street © Jaime Rojo
Trusto Corp was lovin it.

March

Martha Cooper, Shepard Fairey © Jaime Rojo
BSA’s Auction for Free Arts NYC
Crotched objects began appearing on the street this year. © Jaime Rojo

April

BSA gets some walls for ROA © Jaime Rojo
Dolk at Brooklynite © Steven P. Harrington
BSA gets Ludo some action “Pretty Malevolence” © Jaime Rojo

May

The Crest Hardware Art Show © Jaime Rojo
NohJ Coley © Jaime Rojo
The Phun Phactory Reboot in Williamsburg © Steven P. Harrington

June

Sarah Palin by Billi Kid
Nick Walker with BSA in Brooklyn © Jaime Rojo
Judith Supine at “Shred” © Jaime Rojo

July

Interview with legend Futura © Jaime Rojo
Os Gemeos and Martha Cooper © Jaime Rojo
Skewville at Electric Windows © Jaime Rojo

August

Specter Spot-Jocks Shepard Fairey © Jaime Rojo
“Bienvenidos” campaign
Faile studio visit © Jaime Rojo

September

BSA participates and sponsors New York’s first “Nuit Blanche” © Jaime Rojo
JC2 © Jaime Rojo
How, Nosm, R. Robots © Jaime Rojo

October

Faile “Bedtime Stories” © Jaime Rojo
Judith Supine © Jaime Rojo
Photo © Roswitha Guillemin courtesy Galerie Itinerrance

November

H. Veng Smith © Jaime Rojo
Sure. Photo courtesy Faust
Kid Zoom © Jaime Rojo

December

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Fun Friday 11.26.10

Fun-Friday-black-fridayFun Friday

SKEWVILLE: “You Are Not in Kansas Anymore”

A quick home made video of Ad Deville suspiciously skirting the upper wall along an entire block in Bushwick during he and Ali Ha’s block party.  Now the news is that they are talking about taking the whole block for a sculpture garden. Hell yeah!  More public space for art? Whaddaya think?

Tara McPherson New Cheap Print “Searching for Penguins”

Check it out here:

tara mcpherson searching for penguins

Banksy!

That’s all you really have to say to get people excited these days. And today in London a new piece by the anonymous Darth Vader in a hoodie debuts at a group show called “Marks & Stencils”. It also features Greg Haberny, a very strong and prolific artist showing in Brooklyn for a few years now.

Marks

“Marks & Stencils” , 1 Berwick Street, London W1. Read more about the mysterious confluence of shows opening tonight at Nuart >>>

And check out this entertaining look at French Street Artist DRAN, who is also in the show. The video features graff and Street Art living in harmony.  Who says it can’t be done?

SACE Tribute on Houston Wall

“The ever-changing graffiti wall on East Houston Street took another turn Tuesday, with taggers covering the massive canvas with a tribute to a late Lower East Side artist.

Witnesses said a graffiti crew arrived at the wall, located at the corner of the Bowery, Tuesday morning and proceeded to cover the previous piece by street artist Barry McGee in large black letters spelling SACE — the tag name of artist Dash Snow, who died of an apparent drug overdose in 2009.”

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PHOTO CREDIT DNAinfo/Patrick Hedlund

GAIA

One of his recent pieces regarding public housing.  Interesting the directions that Street Art goes….

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FUN FRIDAY 06.04.10: BOS on BSA and “He-Man said Hey” Video

Fun-Friday BOS & He-Man

BOS on BSA and He-Man Video Inspiration for Fun Friday

Bushwick Open Studios Starts Immediately, If not Sooner

To select 5 of the top picks for the Brooklyn-Centered art celebration, we asked Chloë Bass, Co-Lead Organizer of Bushwick Open Studios, to make a few recommendations. She handily reports the following:

This weekend is Bushwick Open Studios — three days of on the street, in-your-face, participatory and community-minded art events located in Bushwick, Brooklyn. The festival is hard to miss: there are more than 300 shows registered this year, and the weekend generally has a party vibe. Everyone’s out, using Arts in Bushwick’s maps to get from place to place and making friends with strangers, not to mention enjoying the snacks and drinks that studio visits can often provide. This is a great chance not only to see some new art, but also to meet the artists, who will be around for your conversation pleasure all weekend. It’s a street-wise adventure.

titleAIBBOS

Here are a few picks for Brooklyn Street Art readers. Head over to our Directory to do a search of our complete listings, or get a map and program from one of our 14 hub locations. We hope you enjoy the weekend!

Skewville at Factory Fresh

Skewville at Factory Fresh

5. Start over at Factory Fresh, Ad Deville and Ali Ha’s pop-art vibe gallery, where Deville’s new works will be up on the wall. Make sure to check out their back outdoor area, which boasts a new mural for every show. 1053 Flushing Avenue

Brooklyn-Street-Art-BOS-AnxieteamJon Burgerman & Jim Avignon perform as “The Anxieteam at Factory Fresh Saturday
At 5:30 on Saturday, there will be live music from Jim Avignon and Jon Burgerman to accent your viewing pleasure. Factory Fresh (www.factoryfresh.net): 1053 Flushing Avenue.

Brooklyn-Street-Art-BOS-SurrealEstate

4. Down the street from Factory Fresh, Surreal Estate, an artist and activist collective, will be showing prints, graphic design, and much, much more, made by artists from all over the world. Friday night also features their Performancy Forum, advertised as experimental and political. Check it out! Surreal Estate (surrealestatenyc.wordpress.com): 15 Thames Street.

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3. For the intellectually minded, check out a chat on Found Public Art at Lumenhouse, moderated by Arts in Bushwick’s own Laura Braslow. Come discuss street aesthetics, the nature of public art, and what aesthetically builds a neighborhood. Lumenhouse (http://lumenhouse.com): 47 Beaver Street. Saturday, June 5, 6 – 8 PM.Brooklyn-Street-Art-BOS-NathanPickett

2. Nathan Pickett’s studio boasts a fascination with subjects as wide ranging as “underground culture, pop-culture, illustration, technology, bike culture, drugs, monsters, animals, mythology, chaos, abstraction, hoods, dimes, bodegas, Brooklyn, hip-hop, punk rock and everything in between and outside of this or that” — if that weren’t enough, his teaser images look fantastic. Stop by: 117 Grattan Street, #421.

Lia McPherson-Rendering

1. For a migratory performance experience, catch Lia McPherson’s Bushwick Mobile-Synchronized Cycling — a dance piece that takes place on what we’ve been promised are the “cutest little BMX bikes you’ll ever see.” The dancers will be outside of five BOS hub spaces over the course of the weekend. Check their profile for times and locations.

Bushwick Open Studios + Events
Friday – Sunday, June 4 – 6, 2010
300+ shows in more than 140 locations
Produced by Arts in Bushwick (artsinbushwick.org)

sideBOSDates

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The Fun Friday Video This Week Chosen by Bishop203

He-man said Hey

“It’s the best video I have ever seen” – Bishop203

Congratulations, you just ruined my childhood.” – antidead

* Lia McPherson image a BSA artists rendering, with Gabriel Bienczycki photography of dancer.

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Pufferella Takes It Kinda Personal: “I know You Are But What Am I”

Pufferella Takes It Kinda Personal: “I know You Are But What Am I”

Factory Fresh Presents: Pufferella “I know You Are But What Am I” and Josh Mccutchen “Polymetrochromanticism”

It’s only a one-week show folks, and Adam has built a sit-n-spin ride that will make you blow all that Genesee Cream Ale like Linda Blair around the front gallery, so you don’t want to miss this opening!

 

Wanna Ride? Created by Ad Deville for Pufferella (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Wanna Ride? A sit-n-spin for four created by Ad Deville for Pufferella (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Before we go to the show, a little background; Street Artist Pufferella has played a pivotal role in the New York Street Art scene by running Orchard Street Art Gallery for 7 years with Ad Deville on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, opening the doors and clearing the way for many aspiring graffiti writers and street artists to show their work in a new public setting, many for the first time.

After losing their lease due to greedy landlords, they moved to Bushwick in Summer 2008 to open Factory Fresh, another gallery that opened it’s arms to emerging and better-known street artists and fine artists.  On her own, Pufferella has quietly established her own fine art work, consisting primarily of sewn pieces that may be more traditional flat “canvasses” or full-blown soft sculptures.

 

Pufferella

“That sewing machine is like my baby,” Pufferella (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Taking a break from the sewing machine, Pufferella shows us the inner sanctum of her office at Factory Fresh, which is carefully hung with fabric pieces for the show, effectively blocking all eyes from seeing in the window or over the counter.

The collection of new pieces are brightly colorful, boldly warm. The shiny solid shapes and figures are stiffly posed in simple arrangements, floating in awkward proximity to one another, creating a momentary scene or flash of action.  Sewn on lush fabrics, they can take special importance because of the spareness in number and bluntness of geometry.

It’s when these pieces are finished and seen together as a group that Pufferella can get overwhelmed with their significance and she questions if she has been too open as an artist.  Speaking about her art and her life, a dual set of impulses emerge – frequently warring with one another.  It may be this ongoing conflict that gives many of the pieces a raw energy that is captured in action.

Brooklyn Street Art: I don’t see as much sexual activity in this show as I thought I would.
Pufferella:
Oh, yeah?  There’s I’d say a good third of the show has those themes. There are some other things going on. Like the tigers!  They are so cute I want to take them home with me.

 

Pufferella

Two new tigers hanging out by Pufferella (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Brooklyn Street Art: So, about these various couples in positions… do you like to imagine sexual relations in unusual places?
Pufferella:
I think these are all personal things.  Stuff I’ve done or things I think about.  I’m very private but I’d say I’m a little wild in certain places.

Brooklyn Street Art: Well, this is the thing; You feel like it is very private and yet you are holding an exposition of it in a very public way.
Pufferella:
Isn’t that what art is? Aren’t you supposed to put your soul into it? If I was like, “what am I doing?” then I would produce graphic design.  So for me it is that pure.  I’m not doing it to sell it, necessarily.  So that’s why it’s like, “I think it would be funny if cotton candy fell in love with carrot.”

 

Hanky-panky in the castle with the prince. Pufferella (photo © Jaime Rojo)

A little hanky-panky in the castle with the prince. Pufferella (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Brooklyn Street Art: Do you ever have problems or fights with your sewing machine?
Pufferella:
Yeah, I mean, I have to oil it, take care of it. I know what the problems are. That sewing machine is like my baby.

When stuff falls out of place, like the pins fall out or I get sliced by stuff, I get pissed. Like when stuff moves and you get a ripple and you have to go back… I spend a lot of time fixing stuff.  But I also know what I’m doing wrong.  There’s a backing that I’m supposed to put on all of this and my mom gives it to me.  She’s like, “Why aren’t you using this?” but I don’t like the way it comes out.  It comes out so “crafty”.

So I like it to be a little messed up.  Like those kinks and things, I think for me, are what really keeps it “art”. I don’t know.

Brooklyn Street Art: So it’s an effect that you don’t like when you see it, like it has too much of a “finished” quality.
Pufferella:
Well, I come from quilters too, and I went to art school and they didn’t because they were farm people who made beautiful quilts, to keep them warm, and they did them nicely.  So, I try to differentiate.  I know what that (quilting) is, and I’ve tried but I’ve come close.

Brooklyn Street Art: You are afraid of becoming too “crafty”?
Pufferella:
Definitely. I think people expect this work to be “craft”. It’s like “appliqué”  – like what’s the defining line between me and appliqué?  Very little, but I’m hanging on to it.

Brooklyn Street Art: Right, there is a fine line… where suddenly someone is saying, “Can you make a pillow for me?”
Pufferella:
And I have done that. Like I did Abe Lincoln Jr.’s bird. But I made it poop and poop-balls came out of it. Yeah the other thing that makes it “art” is the idea.  I think when people make quilts they look at patterns.

 

A Cat and Dog scene from Pufferella's 2005 show at Pink Pony (Image courtesy Pufferella)

A Cat and Dog scene from Pufferella’s 2005 show at Pink Pony (Image courtesy Pufferella)

Brooklyn Street Art: Some of these themes are related to circus or performance or childhood fantasy?
Pufferella:
Yeah, I guess that I feel like it is always coming back to those things. Like my 2005 show at Pink Pony, where I made a circus.  I guess that is just what I think about a lot.  Funny, carnivale, freaks.  I feel like I’m very normal on the outside but very weird on the inside.

Brooklyn Street Art: Can you give me three adjectives?
Pufferella:
For me?

Brooklyn Street Art: Don’t think about it.
Pufferella:
Shiny. Giggly. Dark.

 

Pufferella (photo © Jaime Rojo)

More action on the fairgrounds. Pufferella (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Brooklyn Street Art: Okay.
Pufferella:
Like I think there is that dark humor to everything.

Brooklyn Street Art: Like “Funhouse” humor.
Pufferella:
Yeah.

Brooklyn Street Art: Did you go to state fairs, or county fairs when you were a kid?
Pufferella:
Yes, and I think I have that dual nature because my parents were raised on farms, but then they moved and raised us in a different life. We traveled and did all these things that they didn’t really do. So I think there is that dual thing.  Like sometimes they were having us milk cows but then taking us to New York City.  It was always that way.  I grew up in Morristown, New Jersey, which is just outside New York.  I did the whole club thing at 16, but I had these roots where I would go back to Michigan and see my Grandma.

 

"The Perfect Wife" by Pufferella (photo © Jaime Rojo)

“The Perfect Wife” by Pufferella (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Brooklyn Street Art: Did you tell me this is the ideal woman?
Pufferella: “The Perfect Wife” Yeah, that piece is about how I don’t feel like I get heard a lot of times. Like I have to say stuff a bazillion times. I might as well be like a video game playing and I might as well have my shirt off.  That’s the whole thing with guys. Like I might as well just be serving drinks, playing music, with the mute button on.

 

Pufferella (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Pufferella (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Brooklyn Street Art: What about this powerful image? Can you describe her?
Pufferella: “You Must Be This Tall To Ride” – this porn pose, like she is stripper dancing, but giving you a rule. It’s like a sign for entering an amusement park ride.  So the top of the leg would indicate the height the person must be, and then the other meaning could be for sex.  Like it could say “to ride me”, but it doesn’t.  That one came about from preparing for a show I was supposed to do with Thundercut and Gaëtane (Michaux), but it got cancelled.  So we were all supposed to do a sign.

Pufferella

“You Must Be This Tall To Ride”, Pufferella (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Brooklyn Street Art: So it is this “come-on” pose coupled with this rejection at the same time.
Pufferella:
It is, isn’t it? It could be used for a boy or a girl. She’s very bold.  I think that’s the boldest piece I’ve probably done, with all that hair.

Detail

Detail from “You Must Be This Tall To Ride”, Pufferella (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Brooklyn Street Art: It’s full of energy and action and movement and power.
Pufferella: Yeah, it’s funny, I have a hard time looking at that one.  Sometimes when I’m all done, I actually cry. I don’t really like my work.


Brooklyn Street Art:
Really?
Pufferella:
Yeah, like I had a breakdown. Just looking at all of it and what it all means, and really kind of having that put in your face, in a way, it’s like “maybe this is the reality”. Like “What am I trying to say? Why is this what comes out of me?”

Brooklyn Street Art: It’s revelatory, perhaps.
Pufferella:
Yeah, I guess. Like I do the drawing, and I guess it doesn’t mean as much as what it ends up being in the end when it comes to life.


Brooklyn Street Art:
That’s interesting how it causes discomfort and emotional turbulence.
Pufferella:
Yeah, I probably wouldn’t do this show if I could back out now.  Now that it’s all ready to go I would probably not show it. Because it is like “what am I doing?”  The work is very personal I guess.

<<<  >> .. .>>> ..>> ..>

Pufferella has been sewing creations for the front room and Josh McCutcheon will be showing himself publicly for the first time in the back room.

And now for your viewing pleasure, a promotional video for the show done by Pufferella’s dearest friends at PLAZTIK MAG

Polymetrochromanticism

The Artwork of Josh Mccutchen

Josh McCutchen lives and works in Bushwick, Brooklyn and this is his debut show at Factory Fresh. His narrative works are about mythology, science & technology, social commentary, body image, polymorphic shapes, and abstract urban landscapes.

As a television personality Josh hosted “Does This Look Infected” on MTVU network from 2005-2007. When he’s not painting modern masterpieces, Josh is the host, writer, producer, and editor of the Josh McCutchen Show. You can see him in action at http://www.youtube.com/joshmccutchen

<<<  >> .. .>>> ..>> ..>

Pufferella’s Site is HERE

Factory Fresh Site is HERE

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Welcome to Greenpoint! India Street Mural Project is Progressing….

Welcome to Greenpoint! India Street Mural Project is Progressing….

Ad DeVille from Skewville collaborates with Chris Stain and Logan Hicks

The India Street Mural Project is the inaugural project by a new public art group called North Brooklyn Public Art Coalition (NbPac), a loosely knit group of volunteers whose mission it is to join with local artists, community members, arts organizations and businesses to put up as much public art and street art as possible and re-connect community in the public sphere.

A lot of words all at once there, I’ll pause here while you digest.

Yes, someone else is taking Street Art and Street Artists seriously and is making a point to work with the artists and the community to bring more of it.

For the sceptical and jaded among you, I’ll translate: “GOOD NEWS”.

We’ll be talking to NbPac in more detail in an upcoming post but in the mean time, take a look at this cool new piece for the India Street Mural Project below. You’ll recognize the collabo is from three of your favorite street artists!  Mos Def some freshness in Greenpoint, even though Alphabeta has left.

"Welcome to Greenpoint" by Skewville, Chris Stain, and Logan Hicks

Welcome to Greenpoint by Ad Deville, Chris Stain and Logan Hicks (images Jaime Rojo and Steven P. Harrington)

Brooklyn Street Art: How did you guys get involved with this project?

Logan Hicks: The good ol boys over at Skewville asked me to get involved, and I gladly obliged.
Chris Stain:
It was a dark night in early spring. I was contacted by a liaison who said they worked for someone at a factory in Bushwick…. oh wait that’s classified information.
Adam DeVille: I heard about NbPac and the mural project competition they had going on in Greenpoint on India Street.  Originally I contacted them about trying to get help funding a mural idea I had in Bushwick. I know the owner of the building next to the Factory Fresh (gallery); It’s a 300’ wall down a back alley that everyone dumps trash on. My idea was to spell out “Bushwick” in the Skewville font and have 8 different artists fill in the letters, kinda like an old school postcard.  Ciara, from NbPac was down with the idea but also asked me to submit to the India Street mural project.  Being a die-hard “Bushwickian”, at first I said no, but at the last minute I decided to give it a shot.

Brooklyn Street Art: So how big is this piece? 20′ x 25′ ?
Chris Stain: I’m not sure.
Adam DeVille: It’s 30’ wide by 20’ high, when they told me there was 40 feet between each mural I stretched ours 5 feet… 40 feet of space was a waste…

Originally I submitted an idea to do the whole wall at India Street by spelling out “Greenpoint” and having the artist of their choice fill in the letters. The main idea was to unify the whole wall instead of having separate murals with no connection to each other.  As a back-up I submitted a 20’x 25’ version, which they ultimately chose.

I remember the day Ciara called to congratulate me on winning the contest.  I was excited and asked if I got to do the whole wall. When she said they liked the idea but chose the smaller version, I was kind of a little…bummed they didn’t choose the big one.  I’ll save that for Bushwick.

Brooklyn Street Art: What is the inspiration behind the lettering and style of the piece?  With its bold greeting and poppy colors, it looks kind of like a giant Postcard you might get from Niagara Falls.
Adam DeVille: You called it. It’s like a postcard but instead of a beauty shot inside it would have a lil ghetto flavor.  The main idea was to include other artists but to still have an overall Skewville feel.

Gimme a Beeeeeee! (image courtesy Chris Stain)

Gimme a Beeeeeee! (image courtesy Chris Stain)

Brooklyn Street Art: Chris and Logan, how did you choose the images you used to fill in the B and K?

Logan Hicks: I took Chris’s lead on this. I had asked him what he was thinking and he said he was leaning towards something nautical because Greenpoint was a working class ship building area back in the day.  I tried to mirror his thinking.Chris and I are both from Baltimore, which is a working class town, so we both come from that blue collar mindset. For me it was about the work force that was behind this. I have been doing these pieces that have tons of people in them, and I had this image that I loved so I used that as the jump-off point for my side of the piece (the “K”).  I used the same color scheme (grey, black, red) that I normally use but tried to mix it up by using brush this time.  In the end I think the execution parallels what Chris’s does, so it holds together nicely.
Chris Stain: Yeah, I did a little research on the area and found that Greenpoint was a shipbuilding town. I had some images I cut some time ago and decided they would work well for the piece.

Brooklyn Street Art: The images look like they are working class or poor people.
Chris Stain: The image I used is of a dockworker actually from the South Street Seaport back when it was functioning.

Gimmee a Kaaaaaaaayyy! (image courtesy Chris Stain)

Gimmee a Kaaaaaaaayyy! Logan’s piece in progress (image courtesy Chris Stain)

Brooklyn Street Art: What role does a public art project play in the community? Does it impact people’s perceptions of a neighborhood?
Chris Stain: Ultimately its subjective but I feel it does affect how people view the area, especially outsiders.
Adam DeVille: It’s weird because I don’t think anyone goes down this street anyway except to get high. Maybe now more people will come down this block and or have something to look at when they get high.

Brooklyn Street Art: Do you see yourself as an artist only, or also as a communicator?
Logan Hicks: I try not to define what I do, but I’d say that any good artist is a communicator, so in that sense, I am both.
Chris Stain: I think an artist is a communicator. Each painting tells a story about the person who created it. Some stories are easier to figure out than others.

Brooklyn Street Art: Is there an overall message or meaning to this piece?
Chris Stain: The meaning to me is one of history of the area and (it’s a) a show of admiration for the hard work of the people who built the community.
Adam DeVille: The meaning is “Welcome to Greenpoint”, but you should really check out Bushwick.

Logan Hick’s Site

Chris Stain’s Site

Skewville Site

NbPac

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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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“Cheap Shots” Endless Love Crew at a bar in Bushwick

“Cheap Shots” Endless Love Crew at a bar in Bushwick

Who you calling Cheap?

No, that’s the name of the show, silly.

Bushwick Open Studios is this weekend, and of course that means that in between scattered studio visits and avant garde performances you will have to go to bars in the ‘hood to soak up that local D.I.Y. flavor.  Conveniently, there will be art there too.

Not to be confused with the Kings County Bar Association, the name of the bar is Kings County (so is the county by the way) and the ever morphing roster for this round of ELC mayhem is: RoyceBannon, Anera, infinity, Celso, Abe Lincoln Jr., Ad Deville, Matt Siren, and Dark Clouds.

Brooklyn Street Art: What themes have you been working with?
Royce Bannon:
The theme is ELC on a smaller scale, collabos, transmissions, hot chicks, and monsters

Brooklyn Street Art: Who has more fun? Monsters or voluptuous babes?
Royce Bannon:
I think that when you combine monsters and voluptuous babes the only outcome is fun… its been proven.

Brooklyn Street Art: Will you be serving cheap shots?
Royce Bannon:
Shots are cheap.

New piece by Matt Siren and Royce Bannon (photo courtesy ELC)

New piece by Matt Siren and Royce Bannon (photo courtesy ELC)

More about Cheap Shots on our Calendar here.

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“Cheap Shots” show by ELC at Kings County

The street art collective known as ELC (Endless Love Crew) and other
street art stars will be hitting Kings County Bar for an art show of
extreme proportions. This show will open in conjunction with the Arts
In Bushwick’s yearly “Bushwick Open Studios” event which is sure to
rock Brooklyn!

Participating artists include:
royce bannon
anera
infinity
celso
abe lincoln jr
ad deville
dark clouds

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