All posts tagged: Geometry

Hellbent, Rubin, and Aakash Nihalani In Progress on Domino Walls in BK

Hellbent, Rubin, and Aakash Nihalani In Progress on Domino Walls in BK

Williamsburg once ran heavy with renegade Street Art; names like Faile, Swoon, Bast, Shepard Fairey, Gaia, NohJColey, Judith Supine, Momo, Elbowtoe, Dain, DarkClouds, Matt Siren, Armsrock, Dennis McNett… well you get the point. Add about 40 more names and you can begin to re-construct the explosion that happened here mostly because industry had died and artists in the 80s and 90s and early 00s flocked to the previously industrial maritime neighborhood for space to create art, mount exhibitions, and have lots of free sex. Just checking to see if you were paying attention.


Hellbent at work on his portion of the wall. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Now almost 10 years into a North Brooklyn rezoning and construction boom (with a small break for the Great Recession) some of those same street artists are actually invited to paint walls in the same neighborhood – by landlords, advertisers, developers, and businesses. The Domino Sugar Factory, long an employer and symbol of industry on the river is now beginning a humungous decade-long renovation with new buildings planned while retaining the old refinery building on the site. Before buildings started coming down last summer these mammoth green construction walls went up, creating this sort of municipal/industrial sealed green monotony for five blocks on Kent Avenue.


Hellbent at work on his portion of the wall. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Today Hellbent, Rubin, and Aakash Nihalani, three artists who have been doing work in the streets for much of this time (and who have each made inroads into the gallery system), are each taking on their largest projects ever and culling more friends and buckets and cans and courage than ever to knock out these prodigious paintings. We’re calling it “Domino Walls” because we’re clever at naming things and we’re acting as “curatorial advisors” because hey, that’s what we do. BSA has a history of working with community and arts institutions, small and large, to give a variety of street artists a voice and to introduce them to greater audiences. This project provides a showcase to some of the strong voices who are familiar with working on the streets and who are pushing that language in new directions.


Hellbent. Process shot. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

A lot of urban art academics and critics have been talking about this new hybrid of art on the street that is sometimes called ‘graffuturism’ and we are very gratified to present a few of the new practitioners on the street who reflect it. Employing geometric shapes, deconstruction, abstraction, minimalism, even Op Art techniques, this quickly shifting movement unites graffiti, street art, and contemporary; at once futuristic while paying tribute to art movements more than a hundred years old. With MOMA’s “Inventing Abstraction” show last year and the Guggenheim’s “Italian Futurists” show right now, we feel like our 2012 show “Geometricks” right here in Brooklyn was actually just ahead of the curve. Putting Hellbent, Aakash, and Rubin together on massive walls in Williamsburg feels like this is right on time for this decade.

So we’ll tell you more about the project and each artist a little later but we wanted to show you the progress thus far so you know what is going on on these giant walls. If you are planning to see the astounding Kara Walker show that opens this week on the site and features more sugar than you can consume during a month of Halloweens – you’ll also definitely be seeing some rockin’ eye candy in progress right on the street here as well.


Hellbent. Detail of one of the stencils. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

“We all work in different ways but in a similar abstract nature and that is kind of why we are here together.  It shows a little of the arc of abstraction and the different sort of forms you can go with.  We’re all pretty geometric at the same time – using the power of the clean line and using optical tricks,” says Hellbent as he and his team are on their 9th day knocking out a nearly 500 foot long piece called We Walk (REM).

“I like the way Jaime (Rojo) described this wall when he said I was changing the shape of the wall through color and pattern and repetitions and that the visual effect pushes you forward. I think that more or less describes the movement for me at this moment and it is what I have been doing.”


Aakash Nihalani at work on his portion of the wall. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Aakash doesn’t typically work with paint and stencils, preferring his trademark bright masking tape method of revealing geometry in public spaces but he is going huge here for his piece tentatively titled Spaced. “I don’t have a lot of roots in graffiti, I mean, we share the same territory and spaces.  But I don’t liken myself to a graffiti artist per se.  I mean it does make sense that after a certain amount of time in a period of an art movement that it is bound to start deconstructing and abstracting, concentrating more on the form instead of the content. So I guess that kind of makes sense and I guess my work sort of fits in with that evolution, so its definitely part of that, but it is not intentional.”


Askash Nihalani letting the sky bust through on this work in progress. (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Aakash and his assistant at work on the wall. (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Aakash Nihalani. Process shot. (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Rubin at work on his portion of the wall. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

One of the most active graffiti writers in Sweden in the 1990s, Rubin has been deconstructing his earlier work and uncovering his Finnish/Swedish DNA. For his block long Resistance V. Acceptance, he says “I’m busy looking forward – I’m very much influenced by the Futurist movement , the Bauhaus. It’s also really natural for me growing up in Scandinavia – I grew up with the streamline and the IKEA – so it is like a parallel with the minimalism of Scandinavia so when I discovered the whole Futurist movement it made perfect sense,” he explains.

“Moving to working more large scale I had to adapt my work so that I can still work fast. It suits me so well. It is also is about balance – it can’t be too geometric so its’ always a struggle so that is why I try to keep my work free hand – so I don’t use projectors and stencils. I started using the chalk line more because it’s a time saver, but also I try to keep it analog and organic and physical. It can’t be too sharp – there has to be a more human element”


Rubin and one of his assistants at work on the wall. (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Rubin process shot. (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Rubin’s detail of his sketch for the project. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Read Part II of this project here:

“Done!” Murals from Rubin, Aakash, & Hellbent : Domino Walls Part II


BSAPlease note: All content including images and text are ©, unless otherwise noted. We like sharing BSA content for non-commercial purposes as long as you credit the photographer(s) and BSA, include a link to the original article URL and do not remove the photographer’s name from the .jpg file. Otherwise, please refrain from re-posting. Thanks!




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HENSE Goes Abstractly Huge In Lima, Peru

Atlanta based graffiti artist and Street Artist Hense has just created a massive abstract wall in Lima that radically energizes a beige facade along a major artery through the city.

His largest mural so far, and yet one more Street Artist who is expressing this new romance with color, geometry and pattern on the streets, Hense says the scale presented some technical challenges on how to retain a loose, painterly feel even as he felt dwarfed by his own work. “We used strings and ropes to create circles and lines that needed to be accurate. However, most gestures and shapes were created freehand,” he explains.  Familiar with transforming architecture with his non-representational, sometimes graffiti tagged work, Hense was recently in the news for re-skinning a very traditional church in Washington.

Hense (photo © Jules Bay)

This time he and a lead assistant and a crew of 10 professional painters took about a month to layer multiple patterns and sections and colors mainly in latex, with some aerosol, to mask out and create and re-create until Hense felt like he hit the mark. Without a distinct plan in hand, he took inspiration from the colors of the region, the nearby architecture, and the imagination machinations of the moment.

“One thing I feel is important when working on this scale is the improvisational use of tools to create the marks and shapes. In order to reach heights and lengths I had to attach brushes to extension poles to paint in hard to reach areas,” he says. “Every shape and mark that we made on the wall had to be massive to be seen from a great distance. I also wanted to leave smaller, details that would be seen by viewers close to the work.”

The project was organized by Morbo Gallery and funded by the ISIL Institute in MiraFlores, and Hense says he is really grateful for the hospitality of people he met and worked with. He’s still sort of marvelling at the project, his biggest yet.

“I’m always wanting to challenge myself and the viewer in regards to painting and what that can be.”

Hense (photo © Jules Bay)

Hense (photo © Jules Bay)

Hense (photo © Jules Bay)

Hense (photo © Jules Bay)

Hense (photo © Jules Bay)

Hense. The Crew. (photo © Jules Bay)

Hense. The Artist. (photo © Jules Bay)

Hense. The Mural. (photo © Jules Bay)

With very special thanks to: Jules Bay, Taylor Means, Morbo Gallery, ISIL Institute, Luar Zeid, Panorama, Angel, Paul, Pedro, Alex, Miguel, Jaime, Mayo, William, Christian Rinke, Gino Moreno, Os Villavicencio, Carlos Benvenuto, Candice House, and Elard Robles for all the hard work and making this project come to fruition.




Please note: All content including images and text are ©, unless otherwise noted. We like sharing BSA content for non-commercial purposes as long as you credit the photographer(s) and BSA, include a link to the original article URL and do not remove the photographer’s name from the .jpg file. Otherwise, please refrain from re-posting. Thanks!


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BSA Presents GEOMETRICKS, Curated by Hellbent


Curated by Street Artist Hellbent

As part of their Vandal or Visionary Series, where BSA selects one Street Artist to curate a show that follows their specific vision of the scene, BSA is proud to introduce Hellbent as curator of the inaugural show of the series titled “GEOMETRICKS” at new Gallery Brooklyn in the Red Hook section of Brooklyn, New York City, opening September 22, 2012.

Participating artists (alphabetically): Augustine Kofie, Chor Boogie, Drew Tyndell, Feral Child, Hellbent, Jaye Moon, Maya Hayuk, MOMO, OLEK, OverUnder, See One


GEOMETRICKS turns the spotlight on the movement on the streets that boasts bold color, wild patterning, sophisticated lineplay, and a modern approach to abstraction.

As the stylistic circle widens on the street, GEOMETRICKS grabs a razor-sharp cross section of the growing number of graffiti artists who depart from traditional forms of lettering, Street Artists who are not interested in Pop-inspired icons or irony, and fine artists who never considered the “rules” of the street to begin with.

GEOMETRICKS references modernists, tribalists, and the rhythmic symmetry of the natural world, with it’s hexagons and spirals and comforting repetitions. Old labels about graffiti and Street Art mean little; this group takes the formalist clarity that references geometry, folk art, and science, and often smashes it with an abstract hammer.

Parallel, perpendicular, rigid, curvilinear; lines and shapes intersect and play off color-rich pattern – challenging the shape, form and expectations of many in the Street Art scene. GEOMETRICKS show how graff and Street Art right now are exploding in a new direction together without first asking for permission, again advancing the conversation of art on the streets.


“I’m stoked to be able put together this GEOMETRICKS show with some artists who I’ve really admired for a long time as well as some of the new players on the scene. This show is a great opportunity for me to create a vision and really put a dream team of artists into one room and show people what I am diggin’ right now.” – Hellbent

The Vandal or Visionary Series presented by BSA
Curated by Hellbent

September 22 – October 28, 2012

Opening Reception
Saturday, September 22, 2012
6 pm – 9 pm

With sound provider SLEPTEMBER
Sponsored by Sixpoint Brewery


Gallery Brooklyn
351 Van Brunt St
Red Hook
Brooklyn, NY 11231


Gallery Hours
Thursday-Saturdays: 12-6pm
Sundays: 12-5pm

Vandal or Visionary Series presented by BSA

The Vandal or Visionary Series calls into question the simplistic characterization of artists who work on the street as one dimensional vandals and it wonders aloud what a gallery show would look like if viewed through their eyes. Many artists have always had a better understanding of the scene than academics or experts who talk about it and this series allow us to see a show curated by someone with a direct view and a very unique perspective. is a daily source for Street Art reporting, interviews, and photography in New York and around the world.

We’ve been thinking a lot about this show and recently published examples on the street that are indicative of this new direction;

“Art from the streets has been heralding a new eye-popping geometric disorder that can now fairly be called a movement.”
~ From our recent piece on The Huffington Post : “Color, Geometry and Pattern on the Streets”


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For more details on GEOMETRICKS please contact us at

Thank you for your support.

See the GEOMETRICKS Square Invite


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