Heartbeats are pounding and New Yorkers are chattering and gawking here as the city ploughs into an autumn bevy of exhibitions, new theater shows, concerts, street fairs, and fall semesters at schools and universities. The prices are climbing higher every week at the grocery store, pumpkins are popping up on street displays, and fresh aerosol graffiti and street art pieces are appearing on the street. In quintessential Brooklyn fashion, Spike Lee opens his private collection of art, black American history, Oscar statuettes, Knicks jerseys, film posters, memorabilia, Prince’s guitar, even a brownstone stoop in his “Spike Lee: Creative Sources,” show at the Brooklyn museum. The dance party in the rotunda after the opening this week was the best! Thank you DJ Spinna!
Here is our weekly interview with the street: this week featuring Dark Clouds, Lexi Bella, Free Humanity, HOACS, Zexor, Huetek, Roachi, Yok & Sheryo, Kwest, Jeff Henriquez, Fours Crew, Fire Flower, Nemz, Chaos, Kar Part, Belows, Crem, and TakerOne.
Step into a realm where art intertwines with urban tales – an upcoming exhibition paying homage to the enigmatic Darkclouds, an iconic presence that has graced streets and galleries since 2003. Williamsburg, Brooklyn, once an artist’s haven, harbored an air of creativity amidst the unsettling backdrop of these ominous clouds. These veiled forms, perhaps reflections of the fog of propaganda during the “Orange Alert” era, emerged from a complex cityscape defined by both resilience and uncertainty.
The Skewville Gallery in Bushwick acts as a poignant time capsule, transporting us back to an era when Williamsburg pulsed with creativity amid the turbulent 2000s. Amidst the atmosphere of ambiguity and encroaching gentrification, Darkclouds emerged as a symbol of apprehension, masterfully filtered by Robin Drysdale’s artistic lens. The cloud’s presence, shifting between somber gray and intense black, set against bursts of vivid color, invites us to engage with this streetwise enigma, challenging perceptions and sparking contemplation.
In this fifth solo exhibition, a celebration of a 20-year artistic journey, the core essence of the original Darkclouds image takes center stage. Evolving from a simple rain cloud, these forms replicate into a mesmerizing array, each iteration a testament to artistic prowess. A grand installation amplifies the heart of the concept, a harmonious interplay of colors, textures, and grit. As you journey through the exhibition, prints, smaller pieces, and stickers provide a tangible connection to the enigma, while steel sculptures stand as sentinels, embodying the resilient vitality nurtured under Darkclouds’ gaze.
This time of the year, many people become nostalgic, remembering earlier times that seemed simpler, bathed in sepia tones. Walking into the Pop International Gallery a couple of weekends ago – fresh from a Swoon talk with Jeffrey Deitch and on the way to the opening of Graffiti Kings at HOWL – it was a surprise trip to the mid-2000s of New York streets when the graffiti scene was adjusting to a fleet of new street art kids on the block.
Fernando “SKI” Romero was one half of a graphic team called UR New York at the time with co-writer 2Easae, and they were making their own transition from the street to the studio. In the new show at Pop called WON FOR ALL!, Mr. Romero takes us back to see a cluster of youth who were in his orbit, and if you were walking on the streets of Brooklyn and Manhattan, probably yours.
“I’ve known these artists for years,” he says, “Many of us came up together in the art world. They are my friends and family.”
Born and raised in New York, Romero is very familiar with the graffiti scene that made the city famous, even recently curating a show of some graffiti-writers-turned-artists who originally inspired him, like CRASH, DAZE and Tats Cru. After attending Parsons School of Design and selling his own stuff on the street in SoHo for six years, he took a decade to dedicate himself to developing his own deconstructed letter style for the gallery.
Now SKI is reflecting on a golden age for his own development as an artist with WON FOR ALL and shows solidarity with a small cluster of talents who have pursued their professional careers that were supercharged by their experiences on the street and around the culture. Here’s Dark Clouds with his patterned and swooping pockets of rain, alongside the graphic output of Matt Siren that hints at superheroes and graphic novels.
Elsewhere the bright font-centric Queen Andrea evokes 1980s teen mag optimism, while Gigi Chen’s formal painting techniques venture into fantasy and photo-realism. In the main window on the Bowery is perhaps the most recognizable top-hatted character, Optimo, another true born and bred New Yorker whose love for the culture is evidenced by a prodigious mass of street stickers incorporated into one of his canvasses. Partnered perhaps in their historical reverence for graffiti writers are SKI, with his sideways blown layers of bright letterforms and gritty graphic cityscapes, and Cerns’ omnivorous forays across realities – anchored by colorful characters that may remind some of the train writers during the 1970s.
“I chose these people because of talent, skills, and dedication,” he says. “During the pandemic, these artists were the ones who kept me sane and motivated during a time when I felt alone. This show is a way to bring them all together to say ‘Thank You”.
WON FOR ALLI FEATURED ARTISTS include Queen Andrea Dark Cloud Gigi Chen Matt Siren Optimo NYC Victor Ving Emilio Martinez Cern Chris Boss
Won For All! is currently on view at Pop International Galleries in Manhattan. Click HERE for further details, schedules, and location.
Ultimately people respond to graffiti and street art because of the humanity that vibrates from it. You may care deeply, or care not. If it is effective, art on the street will help you to make the connection. New York is blessed this summer to have a particularly deep and wide selection of unsanctioned and sanctioned artworks across the city that is evidence of a mature, vibrant scene full of many voices, perspectives and styles. Even our art on the streets illustrates that New York is a true melting pot.
Here’s our weekly interview with the street, this week featuring: Dark Clouds, Blek le Rat, Damien Mitchell, Dragon76, TKid170, Banksy Hates Me, Habibi, Laurier Artiste, Blame Blanco, SanekOne, Carnin Paulino, Ruma, and The Postman.
Sometimes it is a talisman who is having adventures on the behalf of an artist, a part of him/herself who stays behind and watches the area.
At other times it is a character seen through a mirror, an alter-ego who represents a fictional part of their inner world who has been set free onto the street to interact. It may be a branding element, a logo, or signature that lays claim to the artwork it is attached to. By itself it is often a form of marking territory; a practice begun by graffiti writers decades ago.
Whether it is a symbol or a figure, it is undoubtedly a personification of some part of the artists id, one that is so individual that you can spot it from a distance and if you are a fan, you’ll smile in recognition.
Many street artists have a discernable style, that is true; a hand-style, a recurrent motif, color palette, a topic that reappears, a technique of application, even a likely location in the urban landscape where they are most likely to appear.
Of that number, fewer have developed a character or a motif so well defined in our minds that it can stand alone, but we have found a few over the decades. Each is imbued with memory, with place, with personality, with character.
Welcome to BSA Images of the Week. Happy Snow Weekend!
We’re digging out from a ‘Nor’easter’ today in New York, a swirling blizzard of snow and strong winds that created such astonishing contrasts of bare ground and high-pointed drifts that kids and adults were playing together on these ledges, falling to the ground laughing.
It brings to mind the masses of Americans whose prospects and futures have been completely blown away, leaving nothing but bare soil – while bankers and corporate criminals have drifted all the wealth upwards to new stylish heights during the economic storm of the last 40 years. Feel like you are walking through two feet of snow and can never get ahead? Some would like you to think that it’s because of uncontrollable forces like the weather.
Meanwhile, it’s the calm after the storm now and we’re heading out to play in the snow this morning before it all gets dirty. It’s nice to see New York like a clean slate, full of possibility and promise. Let’s go for a walk!
And here’s our weekly interview with the streets in NYC, Miami, and Berlin; featuring ATOMS. Billy Barnacles, Boxer, Case Maclaim, Cupid, Dark Clouds, Jamie Hef, Joe Iurato, Kaynor, Klass, Modus. Smells, Ten! Tom Bob, Tony, and Wane.
Surreally yours! The art on the streets this week appears to reflect the times. It’s going to take all this creativity and force to turn the tides!
Here’s our weekly interview with the street, this time featuring 1Up, AJ LaVilla, Android Oi, Cern, Dark Clouds, Dirty Cobain, Early Riser, Invader, Jason Naylor, Little Ricky, Lubaina Himid, Lucas Blalock, Oscar Lett, Robson, SacSix, Subway Doodle, Zimer .
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.
Our selections for this week’s edition of BSA Images Of The Week are harvested from Detroit streets and rooftops and hidden little spots – the murals painted for this year’s edition of Murals In The Market, those are coming later on. Enjoy.
So, here’s our weekly interview with the street, this week featuring 907 Crew, Aryz, Avoid, Birdo, Dark Clouds, Droid, Ghostbeard, How & Nosm, Jarus, Kuma, Miss Van, NGC, Ouizi, Patch Whisky, Shepard Fairey, Smells, UFO, Vhils.
We first met Peter Carroll in the Spring of 2008 at Ad Hoc Gallery at an opening. He gave us a bunch of his Pet Bird stickers and talked to us as if he had known us for years, making us feel welcomed and like friends. That’s just how Peter was and how he remained over those years as we grew closer.
An honest, witty, straight shooter no-nonsense type of guy with a very clever glint in his eye. He didn’t suffer fools gladly, didn’t put on airs, and when he needed to call out the BS on some blabbermouth or poser he would do it, no problem.
He loved the graffiti scene and appreciated what Street Art added possibly because of what it didn’t require; permission, wordy catalogs, gate-keepers, pomposity, fakes. He loved Luna, cats, cars, graffiti, bicycles, science, medicine, and his friends. He knew how to value material possessions, was a loyal friend, loved good food and good music. When he was feeling well he’d offer to help you if you needed a hand. When the pain and the discomfort of his recent illness was too much to bear he’d stay home reluctantly but would strategize how to keep a good attitude, even though that could be very hard work as well. He’d ideally want to be out with you, playing and hanging out and when he was not being able to do so it bummed him out.
Peter and Katherine AKA Luna Park made a formidable and beautiful couple. You always could tell that they liked each other a LOT and they knew how to make each other laugh really hard and they were very kind to one another. They were an excellent role model for us and we cherished them as much together as on their own. Both were walking encyclopedias of graffiti and spoke about it enthusiastically, always excited to discover new ruins and railroad tracks and new cities together, camera in hand. Equally they were enthusiastic about the writers as individuals and they celebrated their skills together. We were blessed to know Peter, and we are all very lucky to have Luna.
We’re just rambling now, we are filled with sadness writing this, something we shouldn’t be writing, certainly not so soon…
He passed away on Monday evening, probably as a complication from recent illnesses. Our hearts go out to Luna and to Peter’s mom and to their families and to the many friends whose lives were touched by his. Shout out to Becki Fuller who is a strong and beautiful friend to Luna and the community of friends around them.
Please come Saturday night for A Celebration of Peter Carroll AKA Laserburners AKA PET Bird
and in support of his partner Katherine Lorimer AKA Luna Park whom he loved dearly.
Saturday October 3rd from 4pm until late
22 Waverly Avenue Between Park and Flushing
Brooklyn, New York
We will post more information on Facebook (Brooklyn Street Art), Twitter @BKStreetArt, Instagram @BKStreetArt as we learn it.
The Fountain fair raised the Street Art to the rafters this year with an installation curated by Mighty Tanaka Gallery and Robots Will Kill. The canvasses wave above the exhibit floor in this historic Armory space while below thousands of people milled through the booths of a varied collection of this years offerings. Here are new shots of the work we found Friday in the first full day of this weekend full of art fairs.