The street and its art is a reflection of the society that
it is part of, and right now in New York many in our communities are mourning
the loss of family, friends, leaders, and followers.
Because of the circumstances of the illness, many people
could not see their loved ones while they were in the hospital, could not bid
them goodbye in the way they would have wanted, worry about what their last
days had been like.
No matter the station, the loss of someone can have an
impact on you. One street artist has created a new campaign honoring those who
have left us called “Forget Me Not”.
“For those parts of our community whom we can not
properly mourn, a small tribute asking that we honor the overlooked. Reminding
us of our fellowship,” the artist says.
For more please see @forgetmenot.nyc on Instagram.
While New York has always been a melting pot of cultures and languages and people from all over the world, it’s also a fundamental responsibility to also keep our eyes and ears on the folks who are “born and bred” here as they say.
They hold a deeper sense of the DNA of an ever-evolving city and its history, its true nature; the lowdown of what it means to be from this place.
We’ve been hit hard. Some much more than others.
The economics and their implications of this Covid-19 disaster are devastating to many of us, but the mourning and human loss compounds our sense of sadness, even while we are resolute to overcome. If we are all metal in that melting pot of New York that explains how we create a powerfully strong alloy of humanity. We know how to triumph together in times of need and we are unbeatable and loyal allies, despite our sometimes aggressive side.
Artist Oliver Rios was raised in El Barrio of New York from Puerto Rican parents and grew up as an artist drinking in the color, sounds, smells, and style of late 70s Hip Hop culture. Shaped and formed by the beauty and the devastation that life can bring to us, he has channeled his spirit into memorial wall painting, illustration, photography, advertising, digital design.
Profoundly moved by the events that Covid-19 has spun into existence here, Rios is sharing with us a dense and meaningful piece of art that speaks to his history, his heroes, his fears, and his passion for this city and the people in it. Using a subway map for canvas, he depicts first responders – in this case people he knows personally or admires sincerely.
“The image of the nurse is my wife Carol Rios,” he tells us. “She is a Nurse Practitioner at the John Therur Cancer Center in Hackensack, NJ. The police officer is PO Ramon Suarez who perished in 9/11 and who was also my first daughters’ grandfather. The image of the fireman is inspired by a retired fireman and childhood friend from East Harlem who helped at Ground Zero in the days after 9/11. His name is Dennis Mendez. The subway train is an homage to the Late Great Dondi White.”
We asked him more about the creation of and motivations behind “Native New Yorker 2020”:
Brooklyn Street Art: As a Native New Yorker you’ve probably seen and experienced this city being hit hard by different crises while living here: Financial crisis, economic downturns, 9/11 etc…This pandemic is possible New York’s biggest crisis during our lifetimes. What do you think makes New Yorkers get up and fight every day? Oliver Rios: In order to survive you have to be “NY Tough”, to quote Governor Andrew Cuomo! It’s a different kind of toughness that not many people understand. To live in NYC you have to understand and go through the city’s everyday grind! Understanding the everyday hustle, the history, the diverse cultures, the crime, the rats, the pigeons, the parades, the clubs, the bars, the historical sites, the crowded subways, the cabs… everything. Once you live in NYC and understand that lifestyle – to overcome anything is possible.
Going out to party in the greatest city in the world also helps ease the daily stress. We as New Yorkers protect and love the city and that’s why we get up every day and fight!!
BSA: Your work on the poster sends a message of unity and perseverance while at the same time it honors those who are at the forefront of the pandemic. Can you tell us what was your inspiration to create this artwork? OR: This project was really about painting a piece on a subway map. As I tuned into Instagram and join DJ DNice’s “Club Quarantine”, I heard him play “Native New Yorker” by Odyssey , a favorite song of mine. I immediately started with the “Native New Yorker” theme and decided to give it a 2020 version. I wanted to really honor my wife Carol Rios who’s a Nurse Practitioner at the John Theur Cancer Center in Hackensack NJ, my Brother-in-Law who’s a Fireman/Veteran in Belleville, NJ, all the first responders and essential workers dedicating their lives to help fight this pandemic.
I started with my wife who is on the top of the poster and it evolved from there.
BSA: You mentioned that your wife is a nurse. How has it been for the family to see her every day going to work knowing the risks and dangers she will confront at the hospital? OR: It’s an uncomfortable feeling every day, knowing that your loved ones are heading out the door to face danger every day. I try to keep the kids busy with school work and video games as we wait for her to get home to have dinner, watch our favorite TV shows, or play board games. We appreciate all she does and her patients do as well.
BSA:By including some members of your family and friends in your artwork you are honoring them and their work, preserving and commemorating their memory, and at the same time you are persisting with your creativity. How does an artist find the motivation to create works like these in such challenging times? OR: For me, it’s never easy… the inspiration is around me every day in my studio; I have a framed photo taken by Martha Cooper of a memorial mural dedicated to my good friend Juan Anthony “TEE” Castro that I painted during 1993 in El Barrio (East Harlem). On the frame, I have prayer cards of family and friends who have passed away during the years. Next to it I have a photo of my brother who was murdered by gun violence in 1981. My oldest daughter’s grandfather PO Ramon Suarez is there too; He perished saving lives during the 9/11 attacks on the Twin Towers. The UPS worker is the guy I see driving up and down the street delivering packages. Fireman Dennis Mendez is a childhood friend from East Harlem who helped dig out debris at ground zero days after 9/11. The Subway train is an homage to the Late Great Dondi White.
I find that as artists we have to remind ourselves how we are all connected. This is my way to thank and connect to my Native New Yorkers. God Bless!
Dark humor is precisely what we need at this moment. 20,000 people in New York City have died. Bodies are stacking up in refrigerated trucks and unmarked common graves in New York while the obtuse Trump is trying to tell us its safe to “reopen” states.
Right. You first.
Meanwhile Italian artist Elfo is taking inspiration from the classic horror zombie film, “Day of the Dead” with this new text intervention scrawled across a wall.
Yes, out door advertising is often a pox, a blight, most agree. But once in a while, artists take it over and it becomes a service to society.
Example; this new campaign by Mark Titchner that reassures all of us that this is a temporary situation, and we will pass through it. The bold lettering and direct statements may bring to mind original text-based culture-jammers like Barbara Kruger or Jenny Holzer, who wrested the nomenclature of mass marketing and rather rearranged it. Clearly the sentiment here is a bit easier to connect with.
But during a time where there appear to be more questions about the virus than there are answers, and the power-holders are slyly seizing more while the rest of us drift further toward poverty, it is a nice bit of a reassuring sentiment. Don’t you believe?
CLICK HERE TO PRINT A FREE HOME VERSION OF THE POSTER
Funky Fresh pages for your fresh paint from the Museum of Graffiti in Miami today.
They’ve been doing their best to make your quarantine dope! Every week for the last month they’ve been releasing new pages in what will ultimately be the biggest most supercharged graffiti coloring book we’ve seen.
This week Volume IV is here with a special cover designed by PURE TFP, featuring art by CES, DOC TC5, DR. DAX, INTEL TCI, and MICKEY. Pick it up a hardcopy by ordering it online – and they’ll immediately send you a PDF file to print.
Don’t forget to be sure to tag your work-in-progress or finished photos at @museumofgraffiti on instagram or Facebook!
It’s good to see that Stikman is still lucidly dreaming himself into a world of mid-century superheroes and gorgeous dames even while in lock-down for this never-ending quarantine.
A charmingly witty self-insinuator into all manner of Americana from yesteryear, the mysterious Street Artist who started simply as a man made of matchsticks regularly utilizes a sophisticated array of printing methods to place himself in pop and pulp settings.
And he shape-shifts into the background easily, sometimes assuming a character or using himself as a billboard, or in a couple of these, a reminder to wash your hands and stay home.
“Like everyone in the world, my family has been affected by this pandemic,” says celebrated Street Artist, painter, pop culture jammer, and marketer Ron English.
He’s reflecting on Covid-19 from the perspective of someone who’s been knocked down by it and who was able to get back up. While he is feeling good now, he says the impact on his health was substantial and says it will affect his art-making going forward due to damaged lung capacity.
“That means no more spraypaint for now,” he says, “and it’s
possible that I may never paint another public mural.” Let’s hope that changes
For now his wife Tarza has poured herself into making
amazing masks to give to nursing homes, postal workers, grocery clerks – first with
leftover fabric scraps, eventually with Ron’s PopLife Popaganda cotton shirts.
Now that the English’s joining with Threadless and “a purchase price that goes directly to MedShare”, his custom design face masks are going to the next level.
Ron says he is proud to do this work and BSA is proud to support families – his and ours – and yours!
Banksy’s “The Girl With A Pierced Eardrum” painted
in Bristol’s Albion Dock in 2019 has experienced a Covid-19 makeover.
The famous piece inspired by the other more famous piece
“Girl with a Pearl Earring” by Dutch artist Johannes Vermeer has been
enhanced by the addition of the now-ubiquitous blue face mask on the girl’s
Word on the street is that the addition might not be that of the famously reclusive artist himself but that of an admirer. Usually, Banksy gives his pieces on the street his imprimatur by posting them on his Instagram account. At the time of this posting on BSA, such action hasn’t yet been taken.
This way when the neighbors in the building across the street see you hanging out the window during our 7 pm public applause session — they’ll know even more about your worldview.
“Art has the power to bring us together, even when we’re apart,” says Street Artist, graphic artist, fine artist Shepard Fairey, who has designed posters along with his Studio Number One for us all to use as we like. It may even help many of us feel like we are doing this together, instead of solo.
“We are all in this together,” Shepard says, “and we will
Where is the People’s Bailout? Why has the bailout that was promised to small businesses already run out? Why is congress on vacation? Why is Biden staring up at the wall like he’s concentrating on a dead spider? The people are dying, running out of food, the economy is dying, businesses are dying. The Post Office, starved and bad-mouthed for years by the capitalists who want to kill it, is finally dying. Do we realize which direction the US is being dragged by the oligarchs and their one party corporate Republicrat-Demoblicans?
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
Rosie the Riveter has been working hard to raise awareness of political and social causes ever since the character was a propaganda tool for the “war effort” in WWII. The image of strength and defiance in the face of formidable foe, a symbol of women’s empowerment, this is an image that tells everyone to pull together.
With a face mask and gloves, we admire her gusto and recognize that the burden of calamity often lands hardest on the working class and poor. Our sincere thanks to all the medical personnel who work so hard. Here re-interpreted by Maki from Boston, keep your eyes out on the street for this one. But really we should just STAY HOME.