Happy Memorial Day Weekend! – we are smack in the middle of it today.
Colloquially thought of as the first weekend of summer in the US, it is also the first weekend when there are lifeguards at the beach. Since New Yorkers love to head to the Jersey Shore (no offense Coney Island) we thought we’d regale you with some fresh shots this week of cool murals on the boardwalk in Asbury Park, New Jersey.
Most of these are part of the “Wooden Walls” a program created by Jenn Hampton, co-director of Parlor Gallery, who tells us that it was inspired by the destruction of a hurricane here that pulled up so much of the wooden boardwalk that is iconic to the shore experience here.
“I started doing it after Hurricane Sandy because they were all these boards up from the devastation,” she explains. “It kind of reminded me of when you go into an artists’ studio and there are little excerpts of paintings that the artist is working on. Some may feel sad because they see unfinished paintings – but for people who are creative it creates excitement because it is about ‘what’s to come.’”
She’s always trying to bring art to the public space, so this devastation prompted her to write proposals to start the program and it worked. “It’s weird that it took a natural disaster for me to get funding for an art project!” she laughs. Five years of steadily growing the list of artists, the project now includes local, national, and internationally recognized street artists.
Wooden Walls producer Angie Sugrim says that this project is as personal as it is public. “Jenn and I both feel a deep sense of stewardship in our community and this project and all it entails are our way of giving back and helping to grow what we love about our town. We both are eternal believers in the power of art and seeing it help to transform Asbury Park.”
“I try to curate it from the eyes of a six-year-old and a 20-year-old and a 80 year-old – because we get such a diverse crowd on the boardwalk,” says Hampton. “I just want to make sure that there is art in that spirit of creation next to the ocean. I think that there is something really poetic about.”
Time and the elements have begun to fade and weather the walls, but she thinks it just adds character.
“I think people get too attached to public art,” she says. “The impermanence of it makes it really special and you have to see it and engage with it – Mother Nature will take it back when it wants!”
So here’s our weekly interview with the street (or boardwalk), this time featuring Ann Lewis, Art of Pau, Beau Stanton, Dee Dee, Fanakapan, Haculla, Hellbent, Indie 184, James Vance, Jessy Nite, Joe Iurato, Lauren Napolitano, Lauren YS, Logan Hicks, London Kaye, Porkchop, RC Hagans, Rubin 415, and Shepard Fairey.
*The classic 1973 album from Bruce Springstein, “Greetings from Asbury Park, NJ” – more HERE