If you are a New Yorker feeling the burn it could be the Hasidim who lit fires every two blocks in parts of Brooklyn Friday to mark Passover (see our final image). The smoke and ash were staining sidewalks and wafting through neighborhoods until being washed away with the Purple Rain Friday night, or maybe those were just the collective tears of so many who were mourning the sudden death of a loved one, Prince.
“Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today, to get through this thing called life,” he inveighed to us in the beginning of one of his songs, and we’re going to have to find a way to celebrate his life when this heaviness passes, but for now a black lacey veil seems more appropo. Yes, Street Artists have begun to put up their tributes, and we hope to have some fine examples to show you next week. The one featured here by Pussy Power was actually up before he passed away.
So here’s our weekly interview with the street, this week featuring Balu, Bast, Christina Angelina, Dain, Dee Dee, FTW, Icy & Sot, Irwin Bakx, Kid Super, Kuma, Purge, Pussy Power, ROA, Star Fightera, Thomas Allen and Wall Play.
A lot of people thought so, and the rise of commercial festivals and commissioned public/private mural programs probably brought more artists to more walls than in recent history. Judging from the In Box, 2016 is going to break more records. Enormous, polished, fully realized and presented, murals can hold a special role in a community and transform a neighborhood, even a city.
But they are not the “organic” Street Art that draws us into the dark in-between places in a city, or at its margins.
We keep our eyes open for the small, one-off, idiosyncratic, uncommissioned, weirdo work as well, as it can carry clues about the culture and reveal a sage or silly solo voice. It also just reinforces the feeling that the street is still home to an autonomous free-for-all of ideas and opinions and wandering passions. For us it is still fascinating to seek out and discover the one-of-a-kind small wheatpastes, stencils, sculptures, ad takeovers, collages, and aerosol sprayed pieces alongside the enormous and detailed paintings that take days to complete.
The main image above is from a vinyl subway advertisement that was high-jacked and we published it in February of this year on our Images of the Week posting. It’s small, personal, and very effective as you can see someone suspiciously similar to Batman is jumping out of the mouth of someone looking awfully similar to Hedwig of “Angry Inch” fame.
Of the 10,000 or so images photographer Jaime Rojo took in 2015, here are a selection 140+ of the best images from his travels through streets looking for unpermissioned and sanctioned art.
Brooklyn Street Art 2015 Images of the Year by Jaime Rojo
Brooklyn Street Art 2015 Images of the Year by Jaime Rojo includes the following artists;
365xlos43, Amanda Marie, Andreas Englund, Augustine Kofie, Bisser, Boijeot, Renauld, Bordaloli, Brittany, BunnyM, Case Maclaim, Casg, Cash4, CDRE, Clet, Cost, Curve, Dain, Dal East, Dan Budnik, Dan Witz, David Walker, DeeDee, Dennis McNett, Don Rimx, Ricardo Cabret, LNY, Alex Seel, Mata Ruda, Don’t Fret, Dot Dot Dot, ECB, El Mac, El Sol25, Ella & Pitr, Eric Simmons, Enest Zacharevic, Martha Cooper, Martin Whatson, Ever, Faile, Faith47, Findac, Futura, Gaia, Gilf!, Hanksy, Hellbent, Hot Tea, How & Nosm, Icy and Sot, Inti, Invader, Isaac Cordal, James Bullough, Janet Dickson, Jef Aerosol, Jilly Ballistic, Joe Iurato, John Fekner, Le Diamantaire, Li Hill, LMNOPI, London Kaye, Low Brow, Marina Capdevilla, Miss Van, Mr. Prvrt, Mr. Toll, Myth, Nafir, Nemos, Never Crew, Nick Walker, Nina Pandolofo, Old Broads, Oldy, Ollio, Os Gemeos, Owen Dippie, Paper Skaters, Pet Bird, Kashink, Smells, Cash4, PichiAvo, Pixel Pancho, QRST, ROA, Ron English, Rubin415, Saner, Sean 9 Lugo, Shai Dahan, Shepard Fairey, Sheryo & The Yok, Sinned, Sipros, Skewville, Slikor, Smells, Sweet Toof, Snowden, Edward Snowden, Andrew Tider, Jeff Greenspan, Specter, Stray Ones, Sweet Toof, Swil, Willow, Swoon, The Outings Project, Toney De Pew, Tristan Eaton, Various & Gould, Vermibus, Wane, Wk Interact
Such a pleasure and honor to give a tour to Brooklyn Museum members yesterday – mainly because of the mixture of people who traipsed through Brooklyn streets with us: older, younger, academic, street smart, curiosity seeking, students, teachers. The questions and observations helped push our perspectives wider.
Good to be schooled by someone who knew a lot about REVS & Cost, and to learn that LMNOP may have chosen her name with QRST’s in mind. Who knew? It was also great to describe the linotype process as it pertains to Swoons’ practice – and only a block later to discover an original carved plywood version of a linotype drilled to a wall by TipToe!
It was especially refreshing was talking with the woman who had not heard of Banksy or Faile or JR but thought she had heard of Swoon – and to see her write these names in a small book for further research. Sometimes we think all this Street Art stuff is such a big deal, then that “perspective” thing kicks in.
Here’s our weekly interview with the street, this week featuring Dain, DeeDee, Don Rimx, Elbow Toe, Faile, Gilf!, Klone, LMNOPI, London Kaye, Myth, Os Gemeos, QRST, Rae, Royce Bannon, She Wolf, and TipToe.
It’s not that the island has been bereft of murals of late – the Los Muros Hablan festival in Harlem has been through a couple of iterations way uptown, Brooklyn has the Bushwick Collective, and Queens has been hosting the Welling Court Project.
The irony lies in the fact that this Lower Manhattan Arts Festival (LoMan) is really the first codified effort to highlight the work of graffiti and Street Art creators in a section of NYC known from the 1970s-90s for the free-range street stylings of artists like Jean Michel Basquiat, Al Diaz, Keith Haring, Dan Witz, Jenny Holzer, Richard Hambleton, John Fekner, WK Interact, REVS/Cost, and artist collectives like AVANT, among many others.
In other words, on this baked concrete slab of downtown New York that was once a creative cesspool and Petri dish for on-the-street experimentation calling upon all manner of art making, today’s newly arriving young artists have no dream of moving in. In fact, most have fled in search of affordable rent.
Now the entrepreneurial spirit of a couple of guys, Wayne Rada and Rey Rosa, is luring artists back into Lower Manhattan, if only to paint a mural and help the tourist trade in Little Italy. That is how the L.I.S.A. Project (Little Italy Street Art) began three years ago, bringing in about 40 artists – a list that includes big names and small with varying degrees of influence on the current scene.
Despite the historically inhospitable demeanor of hard-bitten and often bureaucratic old New York greeting him at many junctures, Rada has had some measured and great successes along the way, convincing local wall owners to give a mural a try and raising funding from local businesses and art fans to help artists go larger.
So LoMan Fest’s first edition has finished this year, and along with a few volunteers, a smattering of helpful partners, and nearly continuous negotiations with local building owners, art supply companies, cherry picker rentals, and a collection of local and international artists, Rada and Rosa have pulled off a new event. Impressively it included large murals, smaller street installations, a couple of panel discussions, some live music performances, outdoor film screenings, a sticker battle, a live painting battle, live podcasts, a graffiti zine table, and a sculpture garden in an emptied parking lot on Mulberry Street.
“Struggle would be a good word. But like anything else when you are starting something for the first time you are spending a lot of time putting systems in place,” says Rada of the process. “There have been interesting challenges with the building owners and with the artists but when it is all said and done it has been all worth it.”
For a scene that was initiated by autonomous un-permissioned art-making on private property, the process of organizing graffiti and Street Artists to do approved pieces on legal walls may try the patience of the rebels who look on mural festivals as lacking ‘street cred’. But Rada sees it differently.
“You know there are people in this world that don’t appreciate this and I just want people to enjoy the pieces as long as they can. Isn’t the fun part of street art that moment when you turn the corner and discover it? That’s really what we are trying to do here. For me it’s a collaborative process of trying to find them a spot – which is also normally something bigger where they can take their time and really think it out. In turn, when that work is complete their existing fans enjoy it, and also it helps them get new fans.”
A final irony is that LoMan is joining a long list of Street Art-inspired mural festivals worldwide that you might have thought New York would have been near the front of.
Brooklyn Street Art:I imagine you’ve seen the rise of Street Art festivals and you’ve seen the character perhaps of specific festivals in different parts of the world. Do you think there is something specific about New York’s current Street Art scene that has a personality or specific voice? Wayne Rada: First of all I studied every single festival out there from Pow! Wow! to Nuart, every single one. I’ve also had conversations with people who coordinate those festivals so that I could do a better job with this. I just feel like New York is, and this is grandiose to say, the nexus of the universe for the art world. It just seemed there was something missing and it made sense to have something here.”
Given the history and the populations of NYC, maybe the strength is the diversity of styles and international artists who are drawn to this particular city to drop a piece throughout the year on rooftops, under bridges, on abandoned lots and doorways. After a minute, Rada decides that this may be what makes a festival like this distinctly New York.
“So in the art world there are so many artists and there are so many Street Artists – and Lower Manhattan especially is represented by something like 126 different cultures and many different races and languages that make up downtown,” he says, “so it makes sense to try to be as diverse as possible and have as many of those voices represented as we could – men and women, all ages, and all walks of life.”
Here’s your first look at LoMan, but it won’t be your last. Rada and Rosa tell us they already have 2016 all planned.
Did you see the blue moon over New York Friday night? Looked to be more crimson actually. Welcome to August and the hot sticky band of dirty grit that comes with it. Escape from New York if you can, even if it is just on a lawn chair in a park. NYC parks have a lot of free movies this summer and a huge array of free concerts all through the remainder of dog days. Naturally there is great deal of artful expression on the streets available on your way to and from the venue, very dramatic in its own way.
Here’s our weekly interview with the street, this week featuring $howta, 52, Brolga, BustArt, Esteban Del Valle, Dain, Dasic, Don Rimx, Droid, JR, Julien de Casablanca, KFA, LMNOPI, London Kaye, Ron English, Rubin415, Sokar Uno, and Willow.
Chomp chomp, slurp slurp, spraaaaaaaaayyyyyyyyyyy spray sp sp sp spraaayyyyyyyyyy. The sounds of a sidewalk barbecue and painting a new piece on a wall on a hot July day in Brooklyn. Also honking, screeching, sirens, and Action Bronson, Hot Chip, or Major Lazer pumping out the windows of a passing car. Want a cherry popsicle?
Here’s our weekly interview with the street, this week featuring $howta, Barlo, BD White, Brad Robson, DAIN, Dee Dee, Denton Burrows, Faith47, Fin DAC, Jack Fox, Jorit Agoch, LOMNOPI, JPO, London Kaye, Marina Capdevila, Skirl, Sosta, and Zimer.
Here’s our weekly interview with the street, this week featuring ASVP, Dain, D. Hollier, Dee Dee, Free Humanity, Homo Riot, Hunt, Jorit Agoch, Myth, Old Broads, Philippe Herard, Solus, The Electric Tattoo, Oji and Wing.
Summertiiiiiiiiiiimmme, and the living is eaaaaassssssyyyyy. Yessir, today is the first day of Summer here in New York and the longest day of the year – which means you can take a nap under a tree in the park or on your towel at the beach and still have plenty of time to play when you wake up. There are abandoned buildings to explore, murals to paint, wheat-pastes to stick, interventions to engineer, stencils to cut, selfies to snapchat, potato chips to eat, beer to swig. That couch by the window is calling me even now, the big temptress, as she does so often on these languorous days, induced by the heat. But I will not heed her siren song.
Here’s our weekly interview with the street, this week featuring Bezt, Buff Monster, Dain, Dee Dee, Faile, Fra. Biancoshock, Free Humanity, Gold Loxe, Li-Hill, Natalia Rak, Okuda, Old Broads, Phoebe, Sophia Hirsch and Johannes Mundinger, and Simon Vazquez and Sebastien Waknine.
Shout out to all the great Swoon fans we met last night during the artists talk with her. All the seats were filled so it was standing room only in the back but yet it felt so intimate. Ya’ll are stupendous and smart and handsome and beautiful and we were honored to be with you.
Shout out to the family of American blues institution BB King who passed on this week. His music and talent influenced so many. Sending love and condolences to his family and friends.
Let’s see what Jeffery Deitch has in store for Smorgasburg Coney Island starting this week in preparation for the Memorial Day weekend opening – published reports have the roster of street artists at 15 but we’re hearing closer to 25 will be hitting up temporary concrete walls in this outdoor gallery he is doing in partnership with a large real estate firm to promote the new Coney Island. Some names you’ll recognize are old skool 70s-80s train writers like Lee Quinones, Crash, Daze, Lady Pink, Futura, and new people he has been reaching out to from the 2000s and 2010s scene who we bring you regularly like How & Nosm, Skewville, Steve Powers, possibly even ROA . This list will surely grow as word gets out and artists besiege Mr. Deitch to participate. The full installation is to last a month and will be surely caught on film and timelapse video.
Meanwhile, here’s our weekly interview with the street, this week featuring Alexis Diaz, Alka Murat, Appleton, Marco Berta, Blaqk Blaqk, City Kitty, Creepy Creep, Dain, Dasic Fernandez, Duke A. Barnstable, Elsa Sauguet, Eva & Adele, Ever, Goldman Rats, Ines Maas, JR, Penny Gaff, Robert Janz, Sebastian Reinoso Salinas, Seikon Stav6, and Swoon.
” ‘头部 (The Head)’ is an art installation based on the analysis of Chinese Communist posters. When the posters represent the ‘idea’, people are always down the picture and the Mao Tse Tung portrait always floating in heaven, protecting that theory founded in the Russian winters. When they want to describe the pragmatics, Mao is cultivating flowers, going to visit schools, etc.
The idea with ‘The Head’ is to think why the “communist theory” fails in its application to reality, and this is because many times the idea has to be corresponded o taken through a body, a body that exercises the idea, that exercises power. That’s why, part of the installation that we present here, invites people to get into the head, so we all can have the feeling that we are not loyal to the theory; the idealization is as dangerous as it is obsessive.”
When some of the artists were with us in Berlin for the BSA show “Persons of Interest” at Urban Nation, they also managed to hit up a few walls in the city. Not only did they plaster these in broad daylight, neither DAIN nor El Sol 25 even looked over their shoulder; folks welcome the new art work – often posing for selfies in front of it.
Our weekly focus on the moving image and art in the streets. And other oddities.
Now screening :
1. BSA PM/7 “Persons Of Interest” Documentation by Dario Jurilli, Urban Nation, Berlin.
“Pipedream“ feat. Tok Tok by PARASITE SINGLE
2. Urban Nation Berlin and BSA: PM/7 “Persons Of Interest” by Talking Projects
Today we debut two videos on BSA Film Friday that have just been released in support of PERSONS OF INTEREST, our curated program for Urban Nation last month in Berlin. The Project M/7 was all about honoring the practice of cultural exchange between the borough of Brooklyn and the City of Berlin.
Artists from both cities have been collaborating and influencing each other for years and we were honored to work with such a talented and varied group of Brooklyn-based artists who each came at the project from very different perspectives. We follow a philosophy that says “honor the creative spirit in each person” first and great amazing things will follow.
While it is challenging the structures that have codified art through centuries, we deeply regard the art that took root on the streets as democratic and idiosyncratic and as something that is given to all of us. This movement doesn’t necessarily require or benefit from gatekeepers and exclusivity to prove its value to a culture – we see it every day.
And speaking of talent, our hats off to the driving forces behind these two videos which tell different stories about the same program. Our partners at Urban Nation augmented the program with ideas of their own and grew the scope of our original ideas further. We admire the point of view taken by the documentary style video that appears first because it captures the message and the atmosphere we had hoped to engender – one of mutual support and respect. PERSONS OF INTEREST honors the artist and the muse. As artists and directors we know that this kind of thinking actually goes a long way – and art can save lives and hearts and minds – we’ve been lucky to see it.
The second video is styled more as a music video, an atmospheric pastiche that plays on the second meaning associated with the words “Persons of Interest” – one where graffiti and Street Art overlap with the darker aspects of a subculture that is transgressive. Carefully not dipping into cliché territory, the stories woven here give a serious nod to the graffiti/skater/tattoo/BMX cultures – which among many other influencers are in the DNA of, have given birth to today’s art in the streets. Its a cool concept and it produces a few surprises.
We hope you dig both of these works.
Our sincerest thanks to the videographers, musicians, stylists, performers, technical experts, participants, administrators, artists, marketers, directors, poets, captains and dreamers who make this stuff happen.
URBAN NATION PROJECT M/7
“Persons of interest” curated by Jaime Rojo & Steven P. Harrington of Brooklyn Street Art
ESTEBAN DEL VALLE
EL SOL 25
DOT DOT DOT
The companion show for “Persons of Interest” at the UN Gallery is a pop-up show by the same Brooklyn artists whose portrait works were in the windows of the future museum but there were two important differences from those installations:
1. The artist had no limitations or guidelines regarding the subject or style of their chosen piece
2. The installation was to be mounted directly on the wall and not for sale.
After asking each artist to research and select their “person of interest” for the main windows and façade of the UN, it only seemed fair that we put no restrictions on the content or inspiration for their other piece for the opening to allow more free expression.
While we like gallery shows that sell art it felt much more natural to see the artists hit the walls directly as they would on the street – from floor to ceiling and side by side, they created a sort of continuum that lead out of the gallery doors out to the walls of this much-decorated city.
Because these new artworks will have a limited run that ends in their destruction, the experience for the gallery goer of viewing them is an acknowledgement that the roots of this art-making practice embraces its ephemeral quality.
Something about that fact makes the work more immediate, more consequential, knowing that the work you are viewing on the street may not be there tomorrow. Each one of these artists knows this on the street, something another kind of artist may find difficult to accept or incorporate into their thinking.
In the first couple of days everyone was recovering from serious NY-Berlin jet lag, and a handful of the artists were wearing the same clothes they arrived in while waiting for their luggage that was stuck in Düsseldorf because of a strike by bag handlers. One artist missed his plane, others got a little lost on the metro, and there were two lost phones – but these are small problems once you are confronted with a blank wall next to 11 peers on which to create something amazing.
It is a prospect full of opportunities and maybe a little bit of anxiety, but each artist brought their A-game and knew they were in a supportive environment. They also created it – reaching out to help with a brush or a ladder or can of paint, a word of advice and some problem solving too. Ultimately they were total professionals with skillz to lay down. By adapting and excelling at their work, the collective effect that this eclectic harmony produced clearly energized the crowd that overflowed onto the sidewalks Saturday night.
The result on the gallery walls is an acid rainbow pop of personality, metaphor, text, pattern, socio/political commentary, activism, and a tribute to ancestors. Each artist brought their individual style and approach to gallery walls in much the same way that appears on the street. For a few it was the first time meeting while others were long-time friends and clearly some were fans of each others work.
One coincidence that sort of blew us away was that Don Rimx and Specter both told us that their pieces were meant to be a “blessing” to their hosts; Rimx featuring a re-worked traditional image of a Puerto Rican grandmother and overflowing bucket of water – “the source of life” he said, and Specters post-modern repetition of leaves from a plant that he said you would bring someone as a gift. Neither had consulted with the other or us, and yet both mounted these pieces side-by-side.
Any day you get to work with artists is a good day – especially driven dynamic talented ones who are always challenging themselves, digging deeper to pull out something that speaks, that means something. These few precious days in Berlin with these few artists were very good days indeed for us and we hope for them too.