This Tuesday night the annual benefit with work donated by 100+ artists will keep WAGMAG free for everyone. The local art guide started around the same time as the current street art explosion did in the early 2000’s – and the handy guide existed solely as a way to get the word out about openings at art collectives and galleries in the then-artist-neighborhood of Williamsburg. While gentrification has chased most of the artists out of Williamsburg now, Brooklyn continues to boom with some of the freshest ideas and talents and WAGMAG’s maps help you to find shows in 15 neighborhoods all over the borough.
The brainchild and labor of love of Brooklyn artist and gallery owner Daniel Aycock in those early years, WAGMAG now is run by Daniel and his artist wife Kathleen Vance. Together they own the Front Room gallery and regularly work with most of the players on the Brooklyn art scene, keeping it real and accessible. They are also big Street Art fans and have allowed the walls on the front of their gallery to be painted and pasted many times over the years by a parade of Street Artists.
Street Artist Noah Sparkes donates work to the WAGMAG Benefit (photo © Jaime Rojo)
In celebration of all the good work they do to enable artists to receive exposure for their work, and to encourage you to go to their fundraiser Tuesday, BSA talked with Daniel and Kathleen about WAGMAG and Brooklyn.
Brooklyn Street Art: How long have you been in Williamsburg?
Daniel Aycock and Kathleen Vance: WAGMAG, started in 2001 as W(illiamsburg) A(nd) G(reenpoint) M(onthly) A(rt) G(uide). Eventually the demand for listings in other neighborhoods throughout Brooklyn made it necessary to expand to include all of the art districts in Brooklyn. Then we dropped the Acronym and became WAGMAG, Brooklyn Art Guide. We now serve the communities of Bedford-Stuyvesant, Boerum Hill, Brooklyn Heights, Bushwick, Carroll Gardens, Clinton Hill, Cobble Hill, DUMBO, Fort Greene, Gowanus, Greenpoint, Park Slope, Prospect Heights, Red Hook and Williamsburg.
Brooklyn artist Scott Chasse donated this piece “Keep Smiling” to the WAGMAG Benefit.
Brooklyn Street Art: Can you describe what WAGMAG is?
Daniel Aycock and Kathleen Vance: It’s a free monthly art guide that promotes art venues and exhibitions in Brooklyn with a free listing service of art exhibitions and events, with locations and times, community maps and critical reviews.
Art venues are listed in community networks with adjoining maps and alphabetical listing of exhibitions updated monthly and circulated throughout New York. Guest writers present recommendations of exhibits to visit, with critical reviews for additional reference. WAGMAG, a Brooklyn Art Guide, is online at wagmag.org and in print with a free 16-page printed guide that is circulated throughout New York and surrounding areas.
Street Artist Gilf! donated this piece “Empower Equality” (62/200) to the WAGMAG Benefit
Brooklyn Street Art: You have had street artists on your wall outside the gallery like Noah Sparkes, C215, Nick Walker. How do you look at street art in Brooklyn?
Daniel Aycock and Kathleen Vance: The offices of WAGMAG are in The Front Room Gallery in Williamsburg, in a building that has historically been a fertile ground for street artists. We love the public access to art, made available 24hrs, 7 days a week by street artists, which is unexpected, sometimes challenging, and innovative in process and placement.
Street Artist Chris of the collective Robots Will Kill donated this piece “We are 138 ” to the WAGMAG Benefit.
Brooklyn Street Art: Are there any Street Artists donating to the WAGMAG benefit this year?
Daniel Aycock and Kathleen Vance: Yeah, absolutely. We have Chris (RWK), LOL, Gilf!, and Noah Sparkes.
Brooklyn Street Art: Why is Brooklyn such a vibrant lively place for artists to work and live?
Daniel Aycock and Kathleen Vance: Brooklyn has been a magnet for artists for decades. The availability of studio space and relatively lower rents creates an oasis outside of Manhattan – making it into a huge artists’ mecca. Brooklyn builds strength from its communities – which have a friendly and open attitude that fuels creativity and expands the boundaries of art-making today.
Here’s a piece in Bushwick Chris (RWK) did a couple of years ago (photo © Jaime Rojo)
WAGMAG benefit committee member and artist David Kesting was doodling the rules on a piece of paper during one of the organizing meetings and he came up with the de facto WAGMAG Benefit guide! Good job David! This makes it so much easier to understand how the benefit works. (© David Kesting)
Brooklyn Artist Ward Shelly is one of the better known names who have contributed art to the WAGMAG benefit. This print is called “the History of Science Fiction” (© Ward Shelly)
Street Artist LOL donated this “Love Soldier” to the WAGMAG benefit and will be happy to install it for you (photo © LOL)
The WAGMAG Benefit will be at The Boiler (191 North 14th Street) in Williamsburg. Additional info is at www.supportwagmag.org
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