Nomadland won the Oscar for the best movie this year, a fact that you may not know because A. The Oscars are nearly completely irrelevant, and B. Covid era-awards programs have been the equivalent of watching your dad unclogging the kitchen drain. An unvarnished story about a growing ecosystem of Americans living in cars, trucks, and RVs in parking lots across the country, Nomadland toes a line between blaming neo-liberal vulture capitalism/ de-industrialization of the last 40 years and dipping into the American myths of people who just want to live their life free and unencumbered.
Meanwhile, in New York more people are finding the rent to be too high and are moving into RVs, according to The Daily News this week. In the article they speak with Giovanni, a first responder whom we were probably clapping for last year when he was saving lives from Covid.
In the article Giovanni says, “I was an EMT… you want to talk struggling‚ that was really rough,” he explained. “I had to have somebody rent out my living room just to be able to cover the rent. That’s how hard it was. After doing that for three, four years, I was like, I’m done with this. I quit. I’m over it.”
“I went to college, I did pretty much everything that I was told I was supposed to do in order to have a good life. And it didn’t turn out that way,” he explained.
As the moneyed Real Estate kingpins are fighting against extending a rent moratorium in the city to August 31 and to end moratoriums across the country, you have to wonder where everyone will go once the stimulus checks have dried up, inflation kicks in, and landlords evict people.
Meanwhile, we’re following the street art in a number of neighborhoods in New York this week – and wondering where the topical or political works are. The current generation who are putting work on the streets may venture into politics, but only identity politics. BLM, trans rights, that sort of thing.
So here’s our weekly interview with the street, this time featuring: 2 Much, Armyan, Cautious5, Cekis, City Kitty, Cramcept, Denton Burrows, GIZ, Healer, Homesick, Leviticus, LNE Crew, Lunge Box, MalincheArt, MeresOne, MrBbaby, No Sleep, Paul Richard, Ponzi, Ramiro Davaro-Comas, Smart, and Stikki Peaches.
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.
This week we received a note from a friend in the graff/street art community urging us to encourage street and graffiti artists to create artwork on the streets that beseeches GenZ to get the Covid-19 vaccine.
They needn’t worry.
Graffiti and street artists have continued to respond to the COVID mask and vaccine issues as much as they did with the rejection of Trump and everything that came with him. During the last few years, they also have strongly responded to the BLM movement, to the topic of police brutality, to structural inequality in our economy, to last fall’s election, to indigenous people’s rights, to Asian hate, LGBTQ rights, to drug use, to anxiety, to depression, to love, to hope, to our effect on the Earth’s environment, and many social/political issues. Not always high-minded, Street artists also like pop culture icons, cute animals, and emulating successful artists who came before them and whom they admire.
It’s all part of the gig.
When we hit the streets in the pursuit of arts, we never know what we’ll find and where we’ll find it. This week we were surprised by a certain uptick in the number of sculptures on the streets. The artists used different materials, from ceramic to resin, metal, cement, and techniques associated with papier-mâché. The sculptures were mostly affixed to traffic signposts but sometimes were placed on street construction barriers. We are always happy to see sculptures on the streets as they bring back the days when sanctioned murals were definitely not the norm, and illegal street art ruled the streets in myriad small formats.
So here’s our weekly interview with the street, this time featuring: A Cool 55, AJ Maldo, Billy Barnacles, Chris Protas, City Kitty, CRKSHNK, JJ Veronis, Mataruda, Miyok Madness, Mort Art, Mr. Triple Double, Patrick Picou Harrington, Phetus, Raddington Falls, Sibot, Spy33, Turtle Caps, Winston Tseng.
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.
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.
You could be forgiven for feeling a little like a Grinch for a part of this Christmas; a global virus and a completely fumbled response to the economic well-being of all Americans has left many without home, food, jobs, healthcare, security on this day in 2020.
But let’s rejoice that we persevered, and we found some reasons to be positive, to be hopeful, and to work together. New York is unbeatable! God Bless NYC!
And we are thankful for you. From your friends at BSA we wish you a very Merry Christmas.
Looking for a Christmas tree? An accurate barometer of the income gap perhaps, we found two vendors on the streets of Williamsburg who each told us a 6 foot tree this year starts at $150 this year. Later in the neighborhood of Bushwick we saw a collection of 6 foot tall trees for $60 each. In Soho or 5th Ave just double it, or quintuple it.
Here is our weekly interview with the streets, this week featuring City Kitty, Elfo, Exposure, Easy and Joz, Gak, Giani NYC, Kest, No Sleep, Quality Mending, Raw Raffe, Skewville, TV Head ATX, UFO907, Muk 123, Gen 2907, Oze108, and Unlok.
Happy Diwali to all our Hindu neighbors here in Brooklyn and around the world. We hope you find some ways to celebrate safely over the next few days in this year of COVID-19. Diwali is a festival of lights that symbolizes the spiritual “victory of light over darkness, good over evil, and knowledge over ignorance”. We need that for sure.
A week after the US election was called, the current president is trying to foment discord and raise funds for himself, but with war-loving folks like John Bolton and Carl Rove jumping ship, can it be much longer until a stampede of similar careerists and military industrialists follow suit?
And while certain yellow newsreaders on corporate TV were desperate for open warfare in the streets in the days around the election, most people are just waiting until the inevitable capitulation. This has hardly been a bloody revolution, but keep trying Rachel and whatsisname?
Street art is reflecting the current mood in broad strokes and pointed ones. New Yorkers can never keep their big yaps shut, so the level of discourse may sometimes be crude and brash – but it can also be insightful, enlightening, and even an invitation for thoughtful exchange. It’s times like these you can be proud of the voices on the streets, which very likely will persevere.
Here is our weekly interview with the streets, this week featuring Baston714, Cake$, City Kitty, Dan Bennett, De Grupo, Faile, I Heart Graffiti, Lunge Box, Pure Genius, Reisha Perlmutter, Rubin 415, and Sac Six.
Feeling dizzy? Not much to worry about should be a slow week coming up.
Here is our weekly interview with the streets, this week including Billy Barnacles, Calicho Art, City Kitty, D7606, Fire Flower, GoInco, Lucky, Lunge Box, Phetus, Praxis, Ree Vilomar, Turtle Caps, Wayne, Zuliamiau.
Welcome to BSA Images of the Week. Shana Tova to our Jewish brothers and sisters, even as we mourn the Friday passing of one of Brooklyn’s own, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. She was born here on East 9th Street in Midwood to Russian immigrant parents in 1933 and the governor says we’ll have a statue honoring her here too.
Compared to all these news, the scene with Street Art appears tame. But from Red Hook to Soho to LES to Bushwick to Ridgewood, it is definitely not lame.
Here’s our weekly interview with the streets, this week featuring BK Foxx, Chris Tuorto, City Kitty, CRKSHNK, De Grupo, Downtown DaVinci, Freakotrophic, Half, Joe Iurato, Kesta, Logan Hicks, Mish, Ouch, Praxis VGZ, Sac Six, Sean Lugo 9, Stikman, and You Go Girl!
The winds of change are gathering force and weaving together – social, political, financial, environmental… and it is all being reflected in street art today. Ironically, because media in the US is addicted to money and misdirection and is completely disinterested in the poor and working class as a whole, thoughtful analysis that pops off city walls seems unadulterated, capable of giving you more truthful assessments of what is missing, what is out of whack, and who’s gotta take action. Your face here.
Here’s our weekly interview with the streets, this week featuring Adam Fu, AJ LaVilla, Antennae, Black Ligma, City Kitty, CRKSHNK, De Groupo, Hearts NY, Novy, Pork, Surface of Beauty, The Greator, Winston Tseng, X Rebellion NYC, and Zuli Miau.