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.
Following the evolution of The Bushwick Collective and its annual block party in Brooklyn has been a captivating journey akin to an anthropological exploration into the growing embrace of street art and murals within the realms of graffiti and HipHop. Back in the day, as the neighborhood began transforming with the influx of gentrifiers, street art faced outright dismissal or was treated as a rare phenomenon, a curiosity.
Unaware of the previous codes that roughly governed the practices of graffiti writers on the street, art-students-cum-street-art-poets often obtusely stomped their way into public view to circumvent a gallery system and to express their right to self-expression in public; something HipHop culture had been encouraging for years but had perhaps not envisioned this way. The rivalry between graffiti aficionados and street artists/muralists was sometimes palpable, with throwies vandalizing fresh paint, the OGs asserting territorial dominance, and at times, even resorting to threats and insults in person and in online forums.
As the block party, now in its twelfth year, unfolded, its early editions predominantly featured international and some local street artists eagerly seeking out BC’s visionary leader, Joe Ficalora, for an opportunity to leave their mark on his neighborhood walls. Local street art forums found fault with Ficalora, masking a barely hidden contempt for a streetwise guy taking a leadership role and betraying their own classist privileged opinions about the right to curation. That has all melted appreciably; this year’s event evidenced the remarkable shift that has been underway. Graffiti writers took the stage alongside the muralists in prime spots, sometimes seamlessly collaborating to create art transcending boundaries, all while the electrifying sounds of live HipHop performances reverberated through the air and TikTokers danced in front of them.
Let’s raise a bottle to those who always believed in the possibility of this transformative phenomenon, and to those who championed inclusivity over exclusivity. It’s yet another reason why our hearts beat for this extraordinary international art movement, the embodiment of the people’s democratic spirit and the unlimited creative spirit that is in every person. And most importantly, it’s a reminder of why we hold you dear.
Welcome to BSA Images of the Week. Did you set you clocks ahead one hour? Spring forward!
We open today’s edition of BSA Images Of The Week with Peruvian artist The Monks. He’s been splashing the streets of New York with his vibrant work… and with a much-needed infusion of color during our winter grays – as a prelude to the imminent Spring in NYC.
We’re feeling good. Is that bad? Maybe it’s the lack of daily tweets that used to hector and batter the populace for 4 years that we are slowly emerging from beneath. It’s like the Twitter Gods are showing mercy on us all.
Maybe it’s the centrist rescue bill finally passed this week that will place newly-minted cash into the hands of the newly-minted poor and desperate working-class, slowing the steady decades-long growth of the gaping chasm between haves and have-nots. (Still “no” to $15 minimum wage, “no” to Medicare for All, “yes” to a bombing in Syria). You can’t blame the Democrats, though – they only have the House, Senate, and White House.
Maybe we’re also feeling partially positive because we had two consecutive days of sunshine and even experienced 60-degree temperatures. Daffodils are positively poised for popping through the dog poop in public parks presently. No doubt we’re also feeling hopeful because a deluge of new art will begin rushing through city streets in the next few weeks as artists, like everyone else, will be racing outside like giddy teenagers.
Not that they haven’t been getting up already. They have.
Here’s our weekly interview with the streets, this week featuring Clown Soldier, CRKSNK, Donut, Fours Crew, Goog, HAZE, Kiwi, Meter, Nemz, Polka, Rambo, Roachi, Samva, Sara Lynne-Leo, Texas & Gane, The Monks, Toath, Zexor, and ZigZag.
Good to see Mint and Surf on the streets again here in NYC. We wondered where they had gone.
Wishing all of you a Happy Thanksgiving this week, whether you are alone or with family, cooking a turkey or baking a pie, spraying a tag or slapping a sticker, collecting art or collecting bills. We hope that we can all count some blessings this week. Please stay safe from the Covid-19.
Here is our weekly interview with the streets, this week featuring Butterfly Mush, Dragon 99, Eye Sticker, Fours Crew, Graff Art Kings, HOACS, Invader, Michael Conroy, Mint & Serf, Mr. Can Do, No Sleep, Only Jesus NYC, Rawraffe, Roachi, Shniz, Shorty, Smells, and Surface of Beauty.
An impromptu mid-sized style meeting of talented graffiti writers hit up an industrial block in Bushwick last week and we’re lucky to have these fresh pieces for you today.
Locals, out-of-towners, and international visitors brought letterstyles full of spring energy, adding classic and fresh new licks together for a proper BK jam. It’s always good to see talents like these getting together to write on walls, paying tribute to their peers and catching up with old friends.