Hooray Hooray, first of May!” chanted your cousin Felix, “outdoor fucking starts today!”
You both broke out in peals of laughter while your mom was walking out from the kitchen with a basket of garlic bread for your Saturday night spaghetti dinner. “What did you just say??”
It’s hard to believe it’s May already, and the smell of lilacs and aerosol paint and pot smoke is in the air in New York again. Ahhhhhhh. Duck between the skateboards and the hellions delivering Chinese on electric bikes, and you’ll see the chess players are setting up again in the park.
For the 12th week in a row, the President of the United States hasn’t tweeted something glorifying violence or attacking faith in public institutions, and people are beginning to mention the “H” word in reference to the rate of Covid-19 vaccinations in New York.
Keep squeezing your silver and keep your eyes open and don’t get hit by any NFTs. They seem to be dropping everywhere
So here’s our weekly interview with the street, this time featuring: 2 Much, Andrea Carlson, Banksy, Bastard Bot, Bueno, Free Britney, Homsick, Marcos De La Fuente, Myles, Posterboy, Resop, Same PPP, Tom Bob, Vanessa Alvarez, WGE, and ZigZag.
Welcome to BSA Images of the Week! Ramadan Kareem to Muslim brothers and sisters in New York and around the world. May you have an easy fast.
We’re bowled over by the beauty in the streets and parks and rooftops right now, with performances and painting and the blossoming of flowers underfoot and on branches overhead. Fires are alit in hearts everywhere.
“All the roofs are wet and underneath smoke that piles softly in streets, tongues are on top of each other mulling over the night.”
from Gamin ~ Frank O’Hara
Yes, there is a sort of battered nervousness in conversations on the streets and as we go about our quotidian duties; a discerned increase in agitation due to economic instability, surges of new Covid strains in our hospitals, and ongoing examples of police brutality toward black and brown people is met with resistance and sometimes violence as well.
Still, consider the robin. In your heart, may hope spring eternal. Also, we learn today that summer may be returning at least one exceedingly creative and participatory public art event as the Gothamist reports that “Coney Island’s Mermaid Parade May Return In The Flesh This Summer.”
And yo! Don’t sleep on the street artists who are putting up new work right now. They are addressing our ills, regaling us with visual puns, poking at our foibles, recontextualizing and performing feats of wonder under cover of night, or while heads are turned in broad daylight. Entertaining, bragging, dreaming… onward they go.
So here’s our weekly interview with the street, this time featuring: Absconded Project, Atakbf, Bastard Bot, City Kitty, Clown Soldier, Degrupo, George Collagi, Lexi Bella, Manik, Marka27, Matt Siren, Peachee Blue, Royce Bannon, Sonni, Teens for Press Freedom, Vexta, and Zaver.
Happy Easter to all the Christians! Happy end of Passover to the Jews! – and welcome to a new spring of spiking daffodiles and spiking Covid cases in New York City even while the age for vaccinations drops to 16 this week. The graffiti and Street Art is blossoming under bridges and in empty lots, as are the much needed $1400 checks and PPP loans are blossoming as well. They are meant to keep us all barely above water, which is where many New Yorkers are financially.
Maybe the trillions that Biden and Yellen and the banksters are suddenly printing will lift us, or maybe instead they’ll just trigger hyperinflation so your savings will be worth ever less? Perhaps we could require corporations and the rich to pay their fair share of taxes – or any at all? Secular heresy to suggest such a thing!
Ahhhh, but the streets! They are still alive and well, and budding with small hand-made one-off pieces, multiples, and murals. Not quite a renaissance, but we are seeing a sincere march forward by all many of artistry in the shadows and in the broad daylight, even as Rome appears to languish.
So here’s our weekly interview with the street, this time featuring: Bastard Bot, Billy Barnacles, Captain Eyeliner, Cucker Tarlson, Jesse Kreuzer, Kiki the Fox, Lunge Box, Mort Art, Nicholai Kahn, Nite Owl, NY State of Mind, Praxis VGZ, Puke Punk, SacSix, Trades Only Bro, and Urban Russian Doll NYC.
A few weeks ago we saw a populist uprising invade one of this culture’s most sacrosanct public institutions out of anger and disillusionment, among other factors; generally a repudiation of what was perceived as a corrupt cabal who ignores the will of the people. Within days the news was full of stories of the State tracking down and cracking down on the dangerous insurgents and tracing their words and actions. Alliances were suddenly severed, fingers were wildly pointed, threats were issued, straw men swiftly collapsed. An historic quake, the tremulous ground is still shifting.
We’re don’t intend to oversimplify here, but you have to admit there appear to be parallels in these stories.
In the end, we see the ripples through street art. Actually, sometimes we see the antecedents to events like these as well – but we may not recognize them as such until later. One cryptic prophet and cultural critic from the street art world, Don Leicht, passed away this week after a very trying illness. His original use of the digitalized Invader predates the high profile street artist of the same name; his comic/cutting assessments of modern hypocrisy echoed across walls of New York as early as the inception of the video game itself. A long time trusted friend and creative collaborator with street artist John Fekner, Leicht was quickly memorialized with this new installation on the street (below).
Here’s our weekly interview with the streets, this week featuring 1UP Crew, Bastard Bot, Below Key, CRKSHNK, De Grupo, Don Leicht, Duke A. Barnstable, Ethan Minsker, Freedom, John Fekner, Maks Art World, Nick Walker, No Sleep, and Young Samo.
Reposted from John Fekner:
“Don Leicht (October 12th, 1946-January 22nd, 2021)Don was my fierce older Libra brother, colleague and collaborator throughout almost fifty years of friendship. Don was a passionate and devout painter who played by his own Bronx cool rules; whether as a teacher in the public school system in the South Bronx, or in his hand-written personal writings or hand-cut metal, plastic or cardboard sculptural works, all visually charged with a deep meaning and social purpose. His imagery could spark a laugh or a smile; but were intended to cause a reaction within a viewer’s heart, mind and soul.
Don was a steadfast bridge to carry me through my sometimes unwieldy behavior. He would provide answers with care, understanding and positivity; whether it was in person or through a 10-minute or hour phone call. Within our conversation (and with many of his friends), he would always repeat the message as to be sure that you ‘got the message’ and would act accordingly. Don always had a simple soothing solution: ‘Get one thing done by the end of the day.’
Don was preceded in death by his wife Annie; and he will be deeply missed by his two sons, Anthony and Nicky, who helped their father throughout his overwhelming health issues, especially in this past year.
Walk on dear friend. We celebrate your life work!”
Many people in New York and around the world breathed a collective sigh of relief this week when our native son from Queens got on that helicopter with his immigrant wife and A. left the White House and, B. flew to Florida.
But for this week anyway, the streets are saying let’s give Biden and Harris and this new administration the congratulations and the honeymoon they deserve. We wish them (and us) the best!
Here’s our weekly interview with the streets, this week featuring Anna is a toy, Bastard Bot, CRKSHNK, Elfo, Jason Naylor, Lunge Box, Praxis VGZ, and Queen Andrea.
Now that the orange man has been censored by social media he’ll have much more time to pack his boxes and do some deep vacuuming of the living room furniture.
All tolled, this week was perhaps the most effective public demonstration of white privilege on parade for everyone to see – and one that was beamed across the world, including into the countries who once looked to the US for leadership and promise. BLM could not have made a more powerful and impactful statement about the systemic inequality that is baked into American society. Did you see all those video split screens of how police treated the different crowds?
Trump is on his way out, but as the author Thomas Frank likes to say, Trumpism is here to stay.
Ahhhh, but the future is unwritten. Where’s you marker?
Here’s our weekly interview with the streets, this week featuring Adrian Wilson, Bastard Bot, De Grupo, Ethan Minsker, Gane, Glare, HeartsNY, Lunge Box, Timothy Goodman, Wane, Winston Tseng, and You Are Loved. Yes, you are loved.
Welcome to the first BSA Images of the Week of 2021 !
We start our collection this week with an image of Christ crucified on a Facebook logo. If this is the level of subtlety that we can expect from the new year…gurl, we in trubble.
In fact, we have found that much of the organic street art that we find today has become increasingly strident in opinions expressed, especially around themes of social justice and political skullduggery. It’s all mixed in with favorites like pop figures, sports figures, cats. In a way, the artists are ahead of us, so we consider these images as the tea leaves for what is coming.
How will you interpret these messages from the street? Will you become emboldened? Scared? Or will they not have any impact on passersby?
Here is our weekly interview with the streets, this week featuring 7 Line Arts Studio, Bastard Bot, Calicho Art, Captain Eyeliner, Calisi Maultra, City Kity, CRKSHNK, David F Barthold, Degrupo, Elle, Jeff Roseking, Joseph Grazi, NohJColey, Poi Everywhere, Sickid, Sticker Maul, and Stikman.