The summer storms keep coming, and yet somehow so does the incredible show of creativity on our streets; the celebration of murals and graffiti burners and painters and sculptors and characters and opinions and cogitations. However hot and steamy and hard New York can be sometimes, it also is positively ebullient and inspiring. We know our many differences are our greater asset, our combined aspirations a stunning new possibility.
Here’s our weekly interview with the street, this week featuring A. Smith, Captain Eyeliner, China, Cody James, CP Won, David Puck, Gabriel Specter, Huetek, Iquene, Jason Naylor, Jitr!, Amanda Valdes, Lorenzo Masnah, M.R.S.N., Not Your Muse, Peachee Blue, Sara Lynne Leo, Sasha Velour, Say No Sleep, Tyler Ives, and Winston Tseng.
Did you catch the celebrities singing in Central Park last night before the rains of Hurricane Henri reached New York? Talk about electricity in the air! New York is a magnet for a pretty face, it would appear, and a grizzly or wild one too; and our street art proves it. Just a quick survey of murals in Brooklyn this week turns up many a fun face.
Here’s our weekly interview with the street, this week featuring Adam Fujita, Anthony Zpadilla, CP Won, Damien Mitchell, David Puck, Dwag Star, Jeyde, Lorenzo Masnah, Mister Alek, NotBanksy, Numak1, Outer Source, Outer Source, Reme821, Sef01, Sipros, United Crushers, and Vers718.
We like findings spots that feature walls slammed with street art in a most organic way, the aesthetic signature of a current ecosystem mid-evolution. These spots are often a magnet for street artists to get up in NYC, L.A., Berlin, Lisbon, Madrid, Paris, Barcelona, Mexico City, Miami, Boston, London, and beyond. Usually illegal, they allow the artists a quick way to safely leave their imprint on the chaos of the city, a welcome to international artists on their spraycation as well as locals who relish the feeling of standing among peers. The art is usually limited to small original pieces, stickers, and posters, wheat pastes.
We call them “magnet walls” – and NYC has had its share of them. Now, however, they are increasingly endangered because of Gentrification and the voracious real estate market in the city with its apparent never-ending appetite for building new soaring soul-free glass towers. One spot is still welcoming artists to its walls: Freeman Alley. This favorite enclave, composed of two long walls along a narrow corridor in the Lower East Side, is constantly updated in an organic way with contributions by local and international artists. We have surveyed it for years, often publishing our findings in the popular “BSA Images Of The Week.”
Last week we rolled by the alley again and to our surprise, we discovered a gate ajar; one that leads the lobby of a relatively new hotel. Usually locked with a code, this secret Bowery spot instructs guests to enter through the alley. Once inside, they’re greeted with a nicely landscaped, small-scale courtyard leading to a lobby. Surprisingly, it is now bursting with new stickers, posters, stencils, paintings, collages, wild imaginings. Technically, this is a legal magnet wall – but most of the artists whose work is on display here can also be found illegally on the walls of the alley. Here’s a fresh selection just for you:
We pause to thank Mother Nature and the graffiti gods for blessing New York with an embarrassment of riches this summer. Amidst the swirling skirts and thunder thighs and sins of youthful exuberance, we are counting the beat of the street and the creative spirit that runs wild with or without permission.
Movie recommendation: Summer of Soulis the inspirational movie of this season, placed in thecontext of 1969 and timeless in its cultural resonance to 2021.
It’s been a hammering of the psyche again this week, as national and international news fixates on unvaccinated Covid patients flooding hospitals everywhere. Few mention that the price of vaccinations is gently bumping upward; a new subscription you didn’t realize you bought into like Netflix. Need a booster?
The art on the streets is banging onward, though, with new kids bringing the jokes, and the feels. OGs are up as well, including some people who have been on the street since we went off the gold standard – 50 years ago this week.
Here’s our weekly interview with the street, this week featuring A Lucky Rabbit, Acne, Bastard Bot, Cern, Chris RWK, David Puck, Jason Naylor, Michael De Feo, Sac Six, The Daffodil Project, We The People, Acne, Bastard Bot, M, Praxis, A Very Nice, Say No Sleep, Damien Mitchell, Sonni, Bisco Smith, NYCM2, BK Foxx, 2MUCH, Hink, Smile.
Can you feel the power of July’s full Buck Moon that arrived this weekend? Not to be confused with the full buck-naked moon; those are the guys climbing the fence to skinny dip in McCarren Pool.
Looks like the new George Floyd statue in Flatbush, Brooklyn got defaced by racists but will be restored and move to Union Square in Manhattan. The vandals must have been mad about all the confederate statues that have been coming down around the country.
You’ll be thrilled to learn that two self-driving cars were tested in New York this week, and no skateboarders or seniors were mowed down. The footage looks pretty tame, to tell the truth. Let’s try the test on any average drunken Saturday night and see how the rabble-rousers fare. Truthfully, a driverless car is exactly the way it feels taking a yellow cab sometimes.
Here’s our weekly interview with the street, this week featuring Adam Fu, Adrian Wilson, Allison Dayka, Baston, Captain Eyeliner, City Kitty, Comik, David Puck, SEK@DX, Denis Ouch, Duel Heck, Flore, Foxito, La Plaga Invade, Lorenzo Masnah, Lunge Box, Rex Bantron, S. Cifu, Sinclair The Vandal, Sticky Monger, Sule Cant Cook, and Westgard.
In honor of the 50th
Anniversary of the Stonewall Inn uprising in the West Village in Manhattan, we
are giving the spotlight this Sunday to the many artworks that have been
created by dozens of artists from all over the world in the city over the past
weeks. Some of them are commissioned works and others are illegally placed on
the streets, regardless of who made them or under whose sponsorship they were
created or if they were placed illegally the important thing is to realize that
the struggle for recognition, acceptance, and justice didn’t just happen
because somebody was willing to give that to us.
It happened because a lot of people before us dared to challenged the establishment and fought to change the cultural norms, the laws in the books and ultimately the perception from the society at large. People suffered unspeakable evil and pain at the hands of unmoved gatekeepers and power brokers. People died rather than living a lie. People took to the streets to point fingers at those who stood silent when many others were dying and were deemed untouchable.
People marched to vociferate and yelled the truth and were arrested and marked undesirable. Many brothers and sisters who were much more courageous than we’ll ever be, defied a system that was designed to fail them and condemn them. Restless souls confronted our political, business, media and religious leaders right in their front yards with the truth and never backed down.
So we must pay homage to
them. We have what we have because of them. We owe it to them and we need to
understand that it was because of their vision, intelligence and fearless
actions that the majority began to understand that without them and their help
we would never get equal treatment. Equal rights. Equal opportunities.
So yes let’s celebrate,
dance and sing together but let’s feel the pain of those who can’t join in on
the celebrations because today still they are on the margins, hiding in the
shadows, being cast out from their families and communities and even killed and
tortured. Let’s remember that the job isn’t done, indeed far from it. Many
countries still have in their laws harsh punishment for those that don’t
conform to their established norms. Let’s keep the fight on, the light on, the
courage on, the voices loud and the minds open. Happy Pride.
Here’s our weekly interview with the street (or boardwalk), this time featuring Aloha, Buff Monster, David Puck, Divine, Fox Fisher, Homo Riot, IronClad, Jason Naylor, Joe Caslin, JPO, Meres One, Nomad Clan, Ori Carino, Royce Bannon, Sam Kirk, SAMO, SeeTf, and Tatyana Fazlalizadeh.
From Tatyana about this piece: “Some of Us Did Not Die. We’re Still Here. – June Jordan, Black, bi-sexual, activist, poet and writer. .
Last fall I met with members of @griotcircle, a community of LGBTQ+ Black and brown elders for my residency with @nycchr. I got to speak with them about their lives and some things that came up were the challenges of being Black and gay in New York years ago, like having to travel in groups because queer folks would be attacked for walking alone. Or not being served at restaurants because they were also black. “
Jeez, that only took 50 years. “Stonewall Riot Apology: Police Actions Were ‘Wrong,’ Commissioner Admits”, cooed the New York Times this week. Of course the NYT headline at the time focused on how the helmeted, armed police were affected, rather than the couple of hundred citizens who they harrassed, intimidated and beat up for being many shades of LGBTQ – “Four Policeman Hurt in Village Raid”. Thankfully Macy’s and HSBC bank and all the corporations ran to the rescue of those folks in 1969 and throughout the 1970s and 1980s, 90s, right?
Aside from the multiple lessons we all continue to learn in the fights for people’s equality across society and in our institutions, one lesson comes through loudly and clearly: real, meaningful change almost never comes from the top down. Social, political, and economic justice comes from the grassroots, rank-and-file, everyday people fighting day after day, year after year.
That’s why we keep our eyes on graffiti, Street Art and all manner of expression on the street – its proven to be a reliable source for the vox populi.
So here’s our weekly interview with the street, this time featuring CANO, Carl Paoli, Dain, David Puck, El Ergo, FKDL, Infynite, Isabelle Ewing, Justin T. Russo, Little Ricky, Meres One, Ramiro Davaro-Comas, Sara Lynne Leo, Screwtape, SeeTF, Skewville, Solus, and Stray Ones.