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.
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.
Remember that time when your best friend’s boyfriend was installing a towel rack in the bathroom of their apartment, and he clumsily busted a hole through the wall, revealing a hidden room – which subsequently released a ghost who regularly appeared at the foot of their bed and slammed doors throughout their dwelling? We do. That’s why it was/was not shocking when a New York woman investigated the breeze emanating from her bathroom mirror. She took the mirror off the wall and discovered a portal to a three-room apartment.
Dude, if that happens to us, we’re not putting it on Tik Tok. We’re heading to Bed Bath and Beyond. In a space-starved city, newly discovered square footage is like finding gold bullion or bitcoin between couch cushions.
In other New York news, some street art neighborhoods are devoid of new works these days – perhaps because January and February are a frozen, mischievous purgatory that chases you inside in a normal year – doubly so when you’re on your 37th consecutive month of pajamas, Minecraft, and Chef Boyardee Beefaroni. Have faith; the next tumultuous 8 weeks of winter-spring-winter-spring weather will eventually coax the street artists and graffiti writers outside in a perennial sign of spring like the appearance of a robin on your windowsill.
Despite the paucity of prancing vandals at the moment, our Editor of Photography, Jaime Rojo, still managed to capture new art in the streets this week in Red Hook, Bushwick, Chelsea, and Bushwick – amongst the scores of closed restaurant huts that have besieged sidewalks citywide. Movie theaters will open for 25% capacity now, and perhaps the moribund restaurants will be coming back to life in this city that never quite sleeps.
Here’s our weekly interview with the streets, this week featuring Adrian Wilson, Berkit, Binho, Blur, Captain Eyeliner, Colin Capernick, Comik, DYM Crew, Ethan Minsker, Know Your Rights Camp, Locs, Matt Siren, Paolo Tolentino, Sara Lynne Leo, Shark, Taboo, The Monks, and Tony De Pew.
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.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg (1933-2020) A role model. A trailblazer. A pioneer. An intellectual. A woman of her time. A feminist. A mother. A wife. A daughter. A sister. A grandmother. An extraordinary human who dedicated most of her life to extending the reach of justice to all of us, and to protect us from the tyranny of others, including the state.
Her work is done and we are in deep gratitude to her for being such an amazing role model to us – even while we realize that our work will continue. Rest in Peace, Justice Ginsburg.
“Dissents speak to a future age. It’s not simply to say, ‘My colleagues are wrong and I would do it this way.’ But the greatest dissents do become court opinions and gradually over time their views become the dominant view. So that’s the dissenter’s hope: that they are writing not for today, but for tomorrow.” – Interview with NPR, 2002
Please tell us again about that two-party system we hear about every day. Why does it look like one party? Have you heard about this new documentary coming called “The Swamp”?
Maybe its the time in quarantine but the quality of the workspersonship on the streets these days appears to have increased overall – perhaps because artists have much more time to pour into their paste-ups, stencils, paintings.
Here’s our weekly interview with the streets, this week featuring Amir Diop99, BK Foxx, Black Ligma, Captain Eyeliner, City Kitty, De Grupo, Downtown DaVinci, Epizod Tagg, Panam, Texas, Zuli Miau.
When a socio-political-economic nexus is forged with such historically contentious factors, it only takes a spark. If you are wondering who will win, merely look at history, as past is prologue. Sorry, we won’t be spoilers.
Historically sky-high unemployment in an economy headed for depression, a somnolent political-corporate class standing listlessly by to watch as you are lowered deep into the well, an unprecedented heist of the US cupboard in broad daylight, the flames of social inequity fanned by a muscular and shiny fascism. What’s not to like?
In one irony (among many) New York City is opening tomorrow. Except for the curfew at 8pm. It’s also boarding up. Just as graffiti and street art were effectively scrubbed from Manhattan, the city offers artists and poets thousands and thousands of brand new plywood canvasses. It’s a jubilee!
Here’s our weekly interview with the streets, this week featuring Captain Eyeliner, Niko Alexander, Cadex Herrera, Greta McLain, Xena Goldman, Pablo Helm Hernandez, Dusty Rebel, No Sleep, Pajtim Osmanaj, Russian Doll NYC, and Soul Thundre.
An unusual worldwide quarantine requires unusual solutions. Because the virus is preventing us all from going to a gallery show at the moment, it’s been fun to see artists, museums, galleries, gallerists and organizers devise new ways for us to interact with each other and art. One you can participate in Sunday is called “What’s In the Box?”.
You might also call it “Who’s On the Box.” Seriously, Duster? Al Diaz? Terrible TKID170? Zimad? That would make you sit up and pay attention.
Organized by Adam Levine (@3Alxnyc) this is a project whose central conceit is a secret – and you have to get inside a virtual space to find it out. In addition the works are all completed on a box which may contain an object of “precious metals and jewels”. We’re curious!
“I’ve assembled close to 30 artists – some old school legends, some NYC staples, West coast players and some fresh faces,” he tells us. “They have all come together and each artist created one unique and original design on a custom wooden box sent to them to decorate that will house something very special.”
“When I say ‘special’ I’m not kidding. This is something that you guys or anybody else on the planet for that matter has never ever seen before.” Those are big promises. Hell, you’re just stuck on this couch for the next forever, so text PIPEBOX to 31996 to get on the VIP list.
Show starts Sunday at 4:20pm in New York, so that’s 21:20 in London and 22:20 in Paris Sunday night. Have fun and support many artists whose work you know from serious well regarded old school writers to Street Art new kids on the scene.
Participants include Al Diaz, A Lucky Rabbit, AJ Lavilla, AngelOnce, Baston, Belowkey, Captain Eyeliner, City Kitty, Dirt Cobain, Duster ua, EASY, Free Humanity, GoopMassta, Stephanie Grajales, Jeff Henriquez, Nite Owl, Sara O’Connor, The Postman, Raddington Falls, Reggie Warlock, Renda Writer, Sacsix, Vincent Scala, Savior Elmundo, Terrible TKID170, TRAP.if, Turtlecaps, Uncutt, Zero Productivity, Zimad.
What’s in the Box? Tune in to the live stream Sunday, 4.19.20 at 4:20 P.M. EST. The only way in, is to text the word:“PIPEBOX” to 31996 to get on the V.I.P. launch list and receive the live link. Video production by Silvertuna Studios
Here’s our weekly interview with the street, this week featuring 1Up Crew, Blanca Romero, Captain Eyeliner, Flash, Frank Ape, M Quan, Makh21, Neon Savage, Neckface, Praxis, Pure Genius, RAW, Shiny, The Brujo, Theo, Yiannis Bellis.
The pronounced disparities and hypocrisies of society are now on display and on parade in our politics, on our multiple screens, in our bank accounts, our hospitals, our music, our schools, our neighborhoods, and in our Street Art — which again proves an apt and reliable reflection of society, despite the fog.
While our politicians and political machines and corporate media and cultural institutions are now being questioned more openly and often for their alliances, their entrenched classism, and exploitation of the rank-and-file, you can see those dynamics reflected in the messages and alliances that are occurring in Street Art as well – and questioned more often as well.
Will a torrent of populism be unleashed? Will our institutions fall or further erode? Who knows. As ever, one must be vigilant to spot the colorful wolf in populist clothes, often right in front of you in black and white.
Here’s our weekly interview with the street featuring Adam Fu, Albertus Joseph, Anthony Lister, Captain Eyeliner, COSBE, CRKSHNK, JR, Poet Was Taken, Praxis, Sara Lynne Leo, Vivid Trash, Will Power, Wing, and WK Interact.
We’re up to our necks in deep frosty wind-whipping winter, and yet the Street Art right now is verbose, detailed, bright eyed, distinct, political, critical, stylish, dense, richly colorful.
Here’s our weekly interview with the street, this week from Miami, and this time featuring Armyan, Captain Eyeline, Cash4, China, City Kitty, COMBO, CP Won, Food Baby Soul, Glare, Jaroe, Jaye Moon, Jazi, Marameo Universe, Plasma Slug, Rodak, Sara Lynne Leo, Smells, UK WC, and Winston Tseng.
Here’s our weekly interview with the street, this time featuring BRCEDU, Captain Eyeliner, Damon, Dark Clouds,Fhake, Ghake, Jerk Face, Mad Villian, Mattew Hyte, MurOne, Praxis, R Burns Wilder, Shepard Fairey, Sinned, Stikman, Tatyana Fazlalizadeh, Thomas Allen, and Vy.