At the moment in New York most of us are staying off the street because it is bitterly cold outside. We just had a wind chill of -1 degrees fahrenheit (-18 celcius). Not a lot of graffiti and street art goes up during this weather.
But that doesn’t stop us from going out to shoot it.
So here’s our weekly interview with the street (in New York and Miami), this week featuring 2OX Crew, Arson, ATOMS, Boy Kong, Buff Monster, Ivan Roque, Jason Naylor, Jimenez, Kern Myrtle, MrKas, Patrick Kane McGregor, and Pleks.
The street art can double as advertisements, the advertisements can double as street art, and all of it has been supplanted by fevered talk about NFTs, as if the speaker whom you’ve been accosted by invented them. For a scene that likes to consider itself to be on the bleeding edge, this is all a bit disappointingly 2017 to hear, but there you have it.
Yet we are still pleased to see that the neighborhood is popping with more fresh new creativity than last year and you again feel like new things are to be discovered around almost every corner. Oh sure, there are many cultural looters here, but that’s always been the case. It’s good to see that some new transgressive pieces, eye-opening missives, and dripping wet tags are scattered here among the permission-based walls and ghosts from December past. No one knows what the socio-economic future holds, but for now, Wynwood’s holding steady.
Here are a few shots from Jaime Rojo as he made a few laps among the streets.
You know the shy kid at the party who won’t hit the dance floor even if Jesus himself begged him – and then he hears his jam and suddenly starts doing flips, tricks, and power moves?
That’s what it felt like last week when all the funk-tech-floral-social-abstract-steez planets spun together into a powerful 2021 solar system at the Jersey City Mural Festival. How many times did you hear the word community, as if we’ve all been starved of it?
And the aesthetics were solid – you would not have guessed how sweet some of these combinations could be – with just enough curation to let the sparks crackle in the gritty oil-coated zones that are surrounding the MANA Contemporary compound. This most diverse generation is now freely tossing any rules and hierarchies out the window; these inheritors of the winds now gathering speed.
The first annual Jersey City Mural Festival brought together dozens of street artists, mural artists, graffiti writers, photographers, and art lovers to this new New Jersey. This festival in another year would have been a festive event just like any other festival – formulas have been discovered for how to mount public cultural events like these around the world – and we’ve been to many.
But this time, the energy was extra charged by the undeniable fact that we’re all emerging to a familiar yet changed world formed by fear, death, insecurity, and longing. Artists were elated to see their peers once again doing what they love doing most: painting outdoors. There is a recognition from the artists, and everybody around that life is precious and the scars left on us by the Pandemic made this event a jubilant one.
The collection of artworks presented here are only a fraction of all the works painted during the festival. Half a dozen of murals were still not completed when we departed. We hope to bring you the rest soon.
The festival unfolded over several days of painting and rain and an oppressive heatwave on two locations in Jersey City. Both locations are the remnants of Jersey City as an industrial powerhouse. The complex in Newark Ave, Mana Contemporary, is now an art center with several galleries, exhibition spaces, and artists’ studios. The complex on Coles Street still conserves its industrial grit. Still, a storage company has replaced the factories, and empty buildings in the decay process appear ready to be demolished.
The Jersey City Mural Festival was presented by Mana Public Arts and the Jersey City Mural Arts Program with the imprimatur of Jersey City Mayor Steven M. Fulop, the city’s Municipal Council, and the Office of Municipal Affairs.
Jose Mertz talks about his mural.
We would like to thank the organizers and production team for all their assistance during the duration of the festival and to Mario at Tost Films for helping man the lift for our final photo session.
Our weekly focus on the moving image and art in the streets. And other oddities.
Now screening: 1. Homily to Country by Artist JR 2. Jersey City Artists at Work Painting for the first Mural Festival Here
BSA Special Feature: Homily to Country by Artist JR
“We must throw off the chains of corporatization to save us all,” is the last statement in this narrative about historical, cultural and natural resources being stolen. His statement could have started with that.
Maybe JR will make a project about fairly taxing the rich next.
Jersey City Artists at Work Painting for the first Mural Festival Here
Two homemade videos below of a handful of the participating artists at work in their murals this week for the inaugural edition of the Jersey City Mural Festival.
See the action with Dragon76, José Mertz, L’Amour Supreme, Boy Kong, and Kirza Lopez in action at Mana Contemporary Complex.
Elle, Queen Andrea and Beau Stanton at the Ice Factory Complex
After a lot of planning and with great fanfare Jersey City is launching its inaugural mural festival and BSA is proud to bring it to you as media partner – and we are excited to see familiar and new local talent take over walls in grand style.
After hosting an open call for local artists of all disciplines and aesthetic approach, organizers MANA Public Arts and Jonathan Levine worked with the Jersey City Mural Arts Program to put together a deep field of talents that will impress in its quality and diversity – that’s our prediction anyway.
Since this weekend is the official unveiling to the public, we found a number of artists laboring on walls this week in preparation – and here are process shots as some of the pieces are already taking form.
From old skool graff writers turned fine artists like John Crash Matos, to early street art takeover artist and pop wiseguy Ron English, to the cherished and polished vernacular of Queen Andrea, to the pop-surrealist Dasic Fernandez who’s been crushing it for the last decade all over New York, this marquee is immediately full of heavy hitters you’ll recognize.
We’re also happy to see serious current talents on the roster; you’ll see they’ve invited many of the newest names and hybrid specialists you have been getting familiar with on the street. Considering the work from just the first two days we can say that straight out of the gate, this show rocks already.
To learn more about the Jersey City Mural Festival click HERE
Meanwhile new stuff is popping off in Ridgewood, Queens, where some of the stuff below is from, proving that the scene is still incredibly relevant to artists and fans alike.
So here is our weekly interview with the streets, this week featuring Boy Kong, Chris RWK, City Kitty, Chance Paperboy, Damien Mitchell, Jaye Moon, Kashink, Kirza, K Liu Long, MeresOne, Myth, Raf Urban, Rx Skulls, Square, Squid Licker, Gane, Texas and Zimad.
Here’s our weekly interview with the streets, this week featuring AJ LaVilla, Boy Kong, BunnyM, ColpOne, Cycle, Haculla, Jappy Lemon, JR, Lungebox, Raddington Falls, RX Skulls, SacSix, SAMO, Sheryo, The Yok and Winstont Seng.
“…but no one was interested in the facts. They preferred the invention because this invention expressed and corroborated their hates and fears so perfectly.” ~ James Baldwin, from Notes of a Native Son.
Here’s our weekly interview with the streets, this week featuring Boy Kong, Cane Morto, Dmote, El Sol 25, Hower, Invader, Joe Iurato, Logan Hicks, Pixel Pancho, Resistance is Female, Rime, Sean9Lugo, Smells, UFO 907, Vhils, Vik, Voxx Romana, XSM, and Zimad.
Here’s our weekly interview with the street, this week featuring Alice Pasquini, Boy Kong, El Topo, Flood, Foxx Face, GSC, Kaffeine, Li-Hil, LMNOPI, Myth, NTC Cru, Olek, Ozmo, Texas, Gane, TV With Cheese, and Versus.