Nowruz Mubarak! Happy Persian New Year to all the New York neighbors who celebrate it. Also, Happy Spring! Did you think it would never arrive? Already the birds are chirping in the trees, and the crocus is popping up from beneath the garbage and dog crap. That guy who lives downstairs named Manny and his brother are washing their car on the curb while blasting a mix from Marley Marl & Red Alert at top volume for the block to enjoy. All the while, there is a colorful parade of young bucks and shorties who are strutting around the neighborhood with big eyes and a burning flame of hope in their hearts.
So here’s our weekly interview with the street, this time featuring: Almost Over Keep Smiling, City Kitty, D7606, Damien Mitchell, Ethan Minsker, Invader, LET, Matt Siren, Mort Art, NET, Rambo, Raw Raffle, Royce Bannon, SacSix, Sara Lynne Leo, Sticker Maul, Tram, Voxx Romana, and Winston Tseng.
What the hell just happened? Has it been a year? Or has it been 10 years? Or just one long nightmare/daymare? Or has it been 10 years? Did we already ask that?
In March 2020 we awoke to a world that was transforming before all of our eyes, yet we felt so cut-off from it and each other. The first days seem so long ago as we mark the first anniversary of the pandemic. Still, the initial shock of those days resonates in our chests so strongly that we confidently talk about a collective global trauma that has indelibly marked a generation.
From Stockholm to Mexico City to Barcelona to Bethlehem to New York to LA, BSA brought you street art that was responding with fear, derision, critique, hope, and humor to the never-static, always evolving barrage of Covid news. Stuck inside and afraid to expose ourselves to each other, we New Yorkers became accustomed to experiencing the outdoors only through our windows, connecting with neighbors we’ve never met who were also banging pots and pans or clapping and waving and yelling.
We listened to ambulances screaming past our windows every half hour or so during those first weeks, imagining the torn families, the terrified fellow New Yorkers now being rushed to the hospital and separated from their loved ones without a goodbye, gasping for air. We wondered if we would be next.
When we did go to the streets, they were empty – or nearly. In New York this was unheard of. In this bustling, noisy metropolis, we experienced a daily disconcerting quiet. That is, until the killing of George Floyd by cops finally pushed the anger/anxiety into the streets all summer.
The deadly hotspot of New York quelled, but the fires of Covid spread west, grabbing communities who thought they would avoid impact. At the same time, local, state, and national leaders fumbled and argued or famously callously ignored the desperation of citizens, occasionally admirably filling the shoes they were elected to occupy, often misstepping through no fault of their own.
We have no particular wisdom to offer you today beyond the obvious; this pandemic laid bare inequity, social and racial and class fault-lines, the shredded social net, the effect of institutional negligence, the ravages of 40 years of corporate privatization, and the power of community rising to the occasion to be in service to one another in ways that made us all more than proud.
Here are some of our favorite Covid-themed street art pieces from over the last year, a mere sampling of the artistic responses. Interspersed we paste screenshots of the daily events (via Wikipedia) in 2020 that shaped our lives, and our society.
We mourn the losses of family and friends and the broken hearts and minds in all of our communities. And we still believe in the power of art to heal and the power of love to balance our asymmetries.
As NYC went on complete lock-down and New Yorkers were ordered to remain in their homes in complete isolation the city’s residents organically joined together in a collective 7:00 pm ritual in support to the first responders. To the nurses, doctors, paramedics, trash collectors, public transportation, police, fire fighters, supermarkets workers etc…with their services and sacrifices we, the residents of this megalopolis were able to keep out hopes for brighter days to come.
Video of four former presidents urging people to “roll up your sleeve and do your part” and get the vaccine.
Anarchists and lawlessness on the streets of New York? Where are you looking exactly? This is a narrative that charlatans like to slander our fair city with, where we spent 8 hours hanging out on blankets on the grass yesterday in Prospect Park, performing anarchist acts like eating sandwiches, reading books, taking naps, going for walks with thousands of our neighbors. So far this is one of the most beautiful Labor Day Weekends we’ve seen in ages and there was no army present.
Every time the fearmonger’s from outside of NYC try to scare people into voting for something, you have to be amused by their ignorance and obvious disinformation – and wonder if it isn’t a generalized fear of black and brown people that drives their critiques. Maybe they are fearful that New Yorkers are the most ethnically diverse population in the country and we are always getting along just fine with each other, even liking and loving each other on a daily basis and we have been doing so for years. Gorgeous and expansively green Prospect Park in the middle of Brooklyn is a fine example of it this weekend – you’ll see people of many backgrounds hanging out happily and civilly, barbecuing meats and vegetables, playing volleyball with the youth group, tossing the frisbee with their girlfriend, sitting on blankets and playing board games with their kids and neighbors, helping babies take their first steps, helping grandpa into a folding chair.
We didn’t see one fight or argument Saturday, and the park was completely teeming with people, and we saw maybe one or two police officers throughout all day – because apparently tens of thousands of us co-New Yorkers know how to enjoy a sunny day in the park with each other and without invoking chaos. On blankets, in lawn chairs, on picnic tables – there we all were; Indians, Africans, Mexicans, Germans, Italians, Jews, Conservatives, Liberals, Koreans, Chinese, Europeans, Buddists, LGBTQI, singles, couples, families, church groups – too many to list here. You could see all kinds of different foods if you walked around and heard music being played – some of it live and spontaneous, like the Dixieland jazz band, the violin quartet, the guy on the flute. We love New York and we love New Yorkers more than ever before.
So, no, Mike Huckleberry or the Foxes or the Divider in Chief, we don’t fall for it because we know the great people of our city. Scare people in the middle of the country with stories about lawlessness in our city, but you don’t fool us for a second. For the record, 93% of the Black Lives Matter marches across the country this year have been peaceful. We’re all capable of having the hard conversations, despite what you and your networks want people to believe – New York has been proving that for years. Sorry, society is moving on – or in many cases already has moved on – from the cultural hegemony phase. It ain’t perfect, but Jesus sometimes it can feel like it.
And now some street art images recently shot – our weekly interview with the street, this week featuring Almost Over Keep Smiling, Antennae, Damon NYC, JKos Art, Little Ricky, Raw, Stikman, and Urban Russian Doll NYC.
Here’s our weekly interview with the streets, this week featuring Almost Over Keep Smiling, Billy Barnacles, Gianni Lee, City Kitty, CRKSHNK, Early Riser NYC, Seven Line Arts Studio, M*Code, Ori Carino, Sticker Maul, Turtle Caps, Urban Russian Doll NYC, and You Go Girl!
A painted portrait of Emmett Till, who would have turned 79 yesterday, leads the collection of images this week. A 14 year old sweet faced boy who was brutally mutilated and killed in Mississippi by white men in 1955 for allegedly flirting with a white woman. He was a year younger than representative John Lewis, who was eulogized rest yesterday in Alabama and will lay in state at the Capitol this week. Our legacy of racism haunts us just as abhorrently this summer as it did sixty-five years ago, two hundred years ago…
But in many ways, you have to suspect that these raucous cries are the dying wheezing of racists who have lost the argument and frankly demographics, and it frightens them. They know that the new generations don’t support them, actually resist against them, are determined to light a new path toward reconciliation and healing and equality.
Covid-19 is out of control in the United States thanks to the utter mis-management and lack of leadership in the country. Yesterday, “150 medical experts, scientists and other health professionals signed a letter organized by a prominent consumer group and delivered to government leaders Thursday calling for new shutdowns to bring case counts down and ‘hit the reset button’ to implement a more effective response.” They forecast that we are going to hit 200,000 deaths by November 1.”
Here’s our weekly interview with the streets, this week featuring Almost Over Keep Smiling, Billy Barnacles, Catt Caulley, Dyne Elis, Knor, Koffee Creative, Liza and the Clouds, Lorena Tabba, Maya Hayuk, Oliver Rios, One Rad Latina, Ron Haywood Jones, Siva Stardust, Snoe, and Zalv.
Welcome to BSA Images of the Week. The weather has been beautiful in NYC and the organic art popping up on the streets is still forcefully advocating for social and political solutions amidst great upheaval, even while…
Here’s our weekly interview with the streets, this week featuring Adam Fujita, Almost Over Keep Smiling, Billie Barnacles, Black Lives Matter, Bosko, Detor, Downtown DaVinci, Eric Haze, Fumero, Insurgo, Marco Santini, Marina Zumi, Praxis VGZ, Sara Lynne Leo, and Who is Dirk.
The New York street artist who works under the moniker “Almost Over Keep Smiling” reinterprets slightly this Boston warning poster telling anybody who was black in a “free” state like Massachusetts or New York to stay away from the police because the federal government had passed a law empowering people to capture them and return them to slavery.
The Act was one of the most controversial elements of the 1850 compromise and heightened Northern fears of a “slave power
conspiracy”. It required that all escaped slaves, upon capture, be
returned to their masters and that officials and citizens of free states
had to cooperate. Abolitionists nicknamed it the “Bloodhound Bill,” for the dogs that were used to track down runaway slaves.
The Act contributed to the growing polarization of the country over the issue of slavery, and is considered one of the causes of the Civil War.
Welcome to BSA Images of the Week and welcome to summer in NYC here on its 2nd day. Also Happy Father’s Day in the US.
Juneteenth. White Fragility.Defund the Police. How to Be an Antiracist. All of these new terms and phrases erupting on the main stage of the public lexicon today speak to a fundamental disgust with the system that’s been in effect. As uncomfortable as it may be, our better selves know that the conversations and changes that have started are vitally necessary to have if we ever want to move forward as a society.
Right now in New York people are marching, protesting, drinking on the street, setting off fireworks, and holding doors open for one another with a new sensitivity thanks to internal bruising. We also see people disregarding safety precautions in the spread of Covid-19, and honking their car horns more often.
The streets are alive with street art and pointed political protest. NYC citizens are joining the cities and communities across the country who are demonstrating furiously over the newest examples of systemic, latent, and explicit racism and police brutality that have characterized our society for so long. Of course it’s just one fire that has been waiting to spark as economic conditions run parallel with social inequity. In the face of sky-high unemployment, unpaid rents, increasing food insecurity, a “rescue” program that gave the store to the rich, and the ever-growing gap between hyper-rich and the chronically poor/ newly poor, the summer here looks like it could be torrid.
We won’t need or see a large number of street art festivals for a while. This show of politically/socially inspired artworks and text messages is probably just warming up on the streets and you can imagine that artists won’t find it appealing to be sitting on panels and pontificating about the genesis of mark-making, the original roots of punk anarchy, or how they are incorporating being woke or inter-sectionalism into their “street practice”. The creative class, however you define it, has suffered a huge blow and many are out of work, and patience. Based on what we have been witnessing here these past few weeks, you may predict that the more aesthetically inclined will seize the opportunity to make art for the city, on the city.
Here’s our weekly interview with the streets, this week featuring 1UP Crew, Adam Fujita, Almost Over Keep Smiling, Billy Barnacles, Combo-CK, Denis Ouch, Indecline, Jason Naylor, Lunge Box, Matt Siren, Mr. Toll, and Woof Original.
Such a New York sentiment and at the heart of it we believe in our fellow New Yorkers and people in general to pull through this series of cavalcading catastrophes that are befalling us as many of our would-be leaders stand by and watch.
“Times are tough..” – It’s also a new piece this week on BSA Images of the Week from Captain Eyeliner. Let’s look for common ground, fundamental fairness and a common dream – without being tricked into fighting each other.
Meanwhile here’s some of the genius and humorous works this week on New York streets (and one from Tel Aviv), as we nurse our wounds and mourn our dead, and praise our nurses – and so many others. Hang tough people!
Here’s our weekly interview with the streets, this week featuring Adam Fujita, Almost Over Keep Smiling, Billy Barnacles, Captain Eyeliner, CRKSNK, Lunge Box, Maya Hayuk, Merk, No Sleep, Praxis, Quasar, Sac Six, Tag, and You Go Girl!
Here’s our weekly interview with the street featuring Add Fuel, Almost Over Keep Smiling, BR163, Crash, Degrupo, Disordered, Early Riser, finDAC, Fours, Jason Naylor, Leleus, JL, Maya Hayuk, Obey, Sara Lynne Leo, Surface of Beauty, Telmo & Miel.
Here’s our weekly interview with the street, this time featuring Ali Six, Anthony Lister, Chris Stain, Cogitaro, Gixy Gal, Hans Haacke, I Heart Graffiti, Jimmy C, JR, Laszlo, Lizzo, Pay to Pray, Rano, and X Vandals.
Did you see that micro-moon on Friday the 13th? We were up on the roof with artists and friends and weirdos celebrating “mid autumn moon” and looking at the New York skyline and that beautiful moon, which didn’t seem 14% smaller, did it? Seemed like your run-of-the-mill gorgeous Harvest Moon, right? Also, a dope opportunity to say “apogee“, which you just don’t get to say very much. No those are not those tassels that exotic dancers put on their nipples.
So here’s our harvest of Street Art and graffiti for you! The city has been producing amazing crops all year, to tell the truth.
Here’s our weekly interview with the street, this time featuring Almost Over Keep Smiling, Crappytalism, Jason Naylor, Jocelyn Tsajh, Li-Hill, Peoples Power Assembly, Plannedalism, Pure Genius, Rider, Subway Doodle, Surface of Beauty, The Joker, Thomas Allen, and Will Kurtz.