All posts tagged: graffiti

BSA Images Of The Week: 02.03.19

BSA Images Of The Week: 02.03.19

“Man, what’s with this cough that never goes away?” you ask your boy Tre, who’s laying on the moss green living room rug by the radiator drawing in his black book with an extra fine tip paint pen, listening to Wu Tang. “Could be January,” he offers. “Or maybe its asbestos from that work they’re doing in the elevator shaft.”

Right. “Never mind, lets watch some Beer Bowl!”

Meanwhile on the streets the ideas never stop. We were pretty excited to get up to 167th Street station to see the new mosaics by Brooklyn artist Rico Gatson, who does painting, video, sculpture and installation. These portraits of important contributors to the culture make us all proud. Here are just a handful but there are more and you should go and see them yourself.

Here’s our weekly interview with the street, this time featuring Atomik, Captain Eyeliner, Deih XLF, finDAC, Go Vegan, Hoxxoh, Kai, Kevin Ledo, Lefty Out There, Mastrocola, My Dog Sighs, Pez, Rico Gaston, The Revolution Artists, Uninhibited, and What is Adam.

Kai (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Captain Eyeliner (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Supreme Justice Sonia Sotomayor immortalized by Rico Gatson in the NYC Subway. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Poet Laureate Maya Angelou immortalized by Rico Gatson in the NYC Subway. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Singer Celia Cruz immortalized by Rico Gatson in the NYC Subway. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Lefty Out There in Miami. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Go Vegan (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Atomik and friends in Miami. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
What Is Adam in Miami. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Pez in Miami. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Collaboration between FinDAC and Kevin Ledo in Miami. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Uninhibited in Miami. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
The Revolution Artists in Miami. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
A collaboration among different artists in Miami (photo © Jaime Rojo)
A collaboration among different artists in Miami (photo © Jaime Rojo)
A collaboration among different artists in Miami (photo © Jaime Rojo)
My Dog Sighs (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Mastrocola in Miami (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Untitled. Wynwood, Miami. December 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
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Mural Kings Tats Cru At The Houston/Bowery Wall

Mural Kings Tats Cru At The Houston/Bowery Wall

Boogie Down bombers the Tats Cru representing New York in its classic flava, the Houston Wall is now blessed by some of the original mural kings, and all seems right with the world for a moment. 

Tats Cru. Houston / Bowery Wall. January 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

With a legion of fans on the sidewalk and on social media saying that Bio, Nicer, and BG183 were finally bringing New York back to this New York wall, the trio was joined by a who’s who of peers and fans over a cold 4-day installation in a way that reminds this town of its proud roots in graffiti and the myriad styles it spawned.

Tats Cru. Houston / Bowery Wall. January 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

In the end, this is a love letter to New York on many levels. It’s a memorial to Tony Goldman, who captured the zeitgeist of the early graffiti/Street Art movement and provided opportunities for artists.

There is a black and white VIP section that reinvents a Tseng Kwong Chi of Keith Haring and Kenny Scharf standing infront of the wall – a meta experience to see NY graff royalty stopping by to tag the image of the Houston Wall that showed people tagging the Houston Wall. New aerosol contributors included people like Zepher, Terror 161, Duster, and Dez and many others.

Tats Cru. Houston / Bowery Wall. January 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Among other pop imagery and classic fonts and letter styles sits a stylized heart from the famous Milton Glaser design of I (heart) NY at the very center. Additional work was contributed by Daze and Crash and a special tribute is made for local activist Liz Christy who began the First Community Garden in New York City in 1973 nearby.

“’Bout time we got some real NY graff writers to rock that wall,” said Da Kid Tac on Instagram, a possible reference to the number of Street Artists who have been invited to paint here over the last few years. Based on the responses and happy reunions of writers and fans we saw over many visits to the wall during its production, Tats Cru has again created an instant classic.

Tats Cru. Houston / Bowery Wall. January 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Tats Cru. Houston / Bowery Wall. January 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Tats Cru. Houston / Bowery Wall. January 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Tats Cru. Houston / Bowery Wall. January 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Tats Cru. Houston / Bowery Wall. January 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Original image of Haring in front of the Houston Wall reprised by Tats crew. Tseng Kwong Chi © Muna Tseng Dance Projects, Inc.
Tats Cru. Houston / Bowery Wall. January 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Tats Cru. Houston / Bowery Wall. January 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Tats Cru. Famed photographer Martha Cooper helps to fill in the VIP Tags section of the wall. Houston / Bowery Wall. January 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Tats Cru. Houston / Bowery Wall. January 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Tats Cru. Graffiti writer Duster was also on hand to tag the VIP section of the wall. Houston / Bowery Wall. January 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Tats Cru. Houston / Bowery Wall. January 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Tats Cru. Houston / Bowery Wall. January 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Tats Cru. Houston / Bowery Wall. January 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
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BSA “Images Of The Year” For 2018 Video

BSA “Images Of The Year” For 2018 Video

Here it is! Photographer Jaime Rojo of BSA selects a handful of his favorite images from his travels through 9 countries and around New York this year to present our 2018 BSA Images of the Year.

Seeing the vast expressions of aesthetics and anti-aesthetic behavior has been a unique experience for us. We’re thankful to all of the artists and co-conspirators for their boundless ideas and energy, perspectives and personas.

Once you accept that much of the world is in a semi-permanent chaos you can embrace it, find order in the disorder, love inside the anger, a rhythm to every street.

And yes, beauty. Hope you enjoy BSA Images of the Year 2018.


Here’s a list of the artists featured in the video. Help us out if we missed someone, or if we misspelled someones nom de plume.

1Up Crew, Abe Lincoln Jr., Adam Fujita, Adele Renault, Adrian Wilson, Alex Sena, Arkane, Banksy, Ben Eine, BKFoxx, Bond Truluv, Bordalo II, Bravin Lee, C215, Cane Morto, Charles Williams, Cranio, Crash, Dee Dee, D*Face, Disordered, Egle Zvirblyte, Ernest Zacharevic, Erre, Faith LXVII, Faust, Geronimo, Gloss Black, Guillermo S. Quintana, Ichibantei, InDecline, Indie 184, Invader, Isaac Cordal, Jayson Naylor JR, Kaos, KNS, Lena McCarthy, Caleb Neelon, LET, Anthony Lister, Naomi Rag, Okuda, Os Gemeos, Owen Dippie, Pejac, Pixel Pancho, Pork, Raf Urban, Resistance is Female, Sainer, Senor Schnu, Skewville, Slinkachu, Solus, Squid Licker, Stinkfish, Strayones, Subway Doodle, The Rus Crew, Tristan Eaton, Vegan Flava, Vhils, Viktor Freso, Vinie, Waone, Winston Tseng, Zola

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BSA Images Of The Week: 12.09.18

BSA Images Of The Week: 12.09.18

BSA-Images-Week-Jan2015

What a week! The New York Post cover says that Friday was a “Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day” for Trump, but who among us is surprised about #Individual1 ? No one in Brooklyn, or his hometown Queens, or the City of New York, for that matter.

Now this national disaster opera is a 24 hour a day rolling dumpster fire that sells ads for TV and media companies – with no desire by them to make it end. Or as Leslie Moonves said famously about this institution-eroding tragedy: “It May Not Be Good for America, but It’s Damn Good for CBS”.

And on that cheerful note, Happy Holidays to you! Sincerely. Best wishes to our Jewish friends now completing Hanukkah, to our African diaspora friends readying for Kwanzaa, to our Christian friends already in the Christmas spirit, to our pagan friends getting ready for Solstice, and to our atheist friends who are thinking positive about the New Year. We collectively are incredible and full or promise, if we can seize upon it and fulfill it.

And welcome to our last BSA Images of the Week for 2018! We can’t tell you how excited we are every week to share the new images of Street Art, graffiti, murals, and art in the streets that we find – mostly because their existence confirms the ever-present creative spirit that is flowing through the air like radio waves, waiting for us all to tune in to it and let it course through our minds and hearts. Next Sunday we present our Images of the Year and during this week will begin our year-end lists of top books, murals, postings of the year.

Then, as is our tradition, BSA readers will take over the site for the last couple of weeks of December to reflect on the year and tell us their Wishes and Hopes for 2019!

And here’s our weekly interview with the street, this week featuring $smell$907, Adrian Wilson, Blake2018, Bond TruLuv, City Kitty, Dee Dee, Ever Siempre, Gnome Surf, Jilly Ballistic, Kobra, Raf Urban, SicKid, and Vinny.

Top image: Adrian Wilson plays with words to reflect our pop culture trolling both Warhol and Banksy. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Urban Landscape with graffiti. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Kobra (photo © Jaime Rojo)

City Kitty trolls Kobra. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Don’t point your gun at me Sir! Blake2018 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Jilly Ballistic appropriates an ad in the subway. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Bond Truluv in Leipzig, Germany. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Bond Truluv in Leipzig, Germany. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Bond Truluv in Leipzig, Germany. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Please do! (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Unidentified artist (photo © Jaime Rojo)

$mell$ 907 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

LA’s SicKid (photo © Jaime Rojo)

SicKid (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Dee Dee (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Gnome Surf (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Raf Urban (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Vinny (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Ever & Friends (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Utitled. SOHO, NYC. December 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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BSA Images Of The Week: 11.11.18

BSA Images Of The Week: 11.11.18

BSA-Images-Week-Jan2015

100 years since the end of World War I today. The US is engaged in 7 wars right now. Two facts to contemplate as the city takes a breath and regroups from another election cycle.

Republicrats won at the polls and the ratings were high on TV – yet for some reason you still don’t have health care and you have about $1,000 in savings.

GOOD NEWS! – Manhattan real estate has experienced a dip this quarter so that the average apartment is just a little more than $1.1 million to buy.

This week in NYC there were Anti-Trump Pro-Mueller demonstrations in Times Square, the head of the subway system has resigned, and NYC is turning into a major tech hub with 25,000 more tech workers said to be flocking here for jobs at Google and Amazon.

Also Manny down at the corner deli just got this new calico cat that has already caught two mice this week.

Somehow the streets are always alive, always teaming with new images, installations, paintings, fire extinguisher tags.

So here is our weekly interview with the streets, this week featuring Adam Daily, Adam Fu, Bortusk, Cy Tremblay, DAIN, Dolganov, Invader, JeimeOne, Kobra, Sabio, and SacSix.

Top Image: Adam Fu for Spread Art NYC. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Cy Tremblay (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Resa.Menace for JMZ Walls. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Artist Unknown (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Dain (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Bortusk (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Artist Unknown (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Sabio (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Sabio (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Artist Unknown. A very old stencil in Moscow. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Adam Daily (photo © Jaime Rojo)

 A clever step back from JeimeOne for JMZ Walls. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Artist Unknown (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Kobra (photo © Jaime Rojo)

ASacSix (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Dolganov in Moscow. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Invader (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Untitled. Manhattan. Fall 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Sunshine Cinema Now Showing: FAUST’S “Sunset”

Sunshine Cinema Now Showing: FAUST’S “Sunset”

The Sun Sets on Sunshine: FAUST Writes Paean to NYC Streetscape

The five projectors at the Sunshine Cinema have gone dark as of January, and this month the 150+ year old building is scheduled to be razed for a 9 story office building. Because, you know, we need one. Graffiti writer FAUST just secured permission to say his own goodbye to the theater in a poetic way with his ornately scripted street style calligraphic hand, marking a sunset on Sunshine.

BSA is proud to debut FAUST’s own penned thoughts on this New York story of love and loss, of continuous building and destruction, of cultural touchstones that disappear seemingly overnight – usually so someone can make a buck. Herewith we present the words of FAUST for BSA readers with our thanks to him and to you.


 

Faust. Sunset (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Every time I approach a new work, I try to find a word or phrase that would be clever, poignant, and site-specific. Oftentimes, that could take weeks of research and brainstorming, but on Houston Street that wasn’t the case. With so many memories inside of those walls, this mural on the shuttered facade of the Sunshine Cinema felt much more personal than most of my previous projects.

The first time I saw the gate down and learned of the theater’s demise, I instantly knew I wanted to paint it in homage to the historic site. And the following day it came to me, a poetic sendoff to both celebrate and mourn the final days of the Sunshine Cinema. Sunset. 

Faust. Sunset (photo © Jaime Rojo)

I confess, as a teenager I became well-acquainted with the back door to the Sunshine Cinema which granted me free access to other worlds on the big screen. Growing up in New York City, a significant part of my adolescence was spent at that Lower East Side movie theater which focused on independent and foreign films. I snuck into the critically-acclaimed 2002 Brazilian feature City of God so many times that I started to believe I knew Portuguese because I had memorized the subtitles.

But my favorite time to go to the Sunshine was for their midnight movie. Each weekend they screened a different cult classic on Friday and Saturday nights. I spent my 19th birthday catching a sold out screening of The Warriors, my first time seeing the 1979 film that depicts a New York that no longer exists – gritty, overrun by street gangs, and covered in graffiti.

Faust. Sunset (photo © Jaime Rojo)

My career as an artist is deeply rooted in my upbringing as a graffiti writer. The style of my work derives from a contemporary history of writing on walls and subways that spans nearly 50-years. Anytime I paint abroad, I feel like a cultural ambassador bringing my distinctly “New York” aesthetic across the globe. But New York is always home–and always will be. At home the work takes on a different meaning; carrying on the tradition of a wide-spread (albeit illicit) art movement that has risen up from the streets and making a statement that hopefully resonates with my friends and neighbors who see it.

Faust. Sunset (photo © Jaime Rojo)

The 30,000 square-foot building on Houston Street has a long history of entertainment in the Lower East Side. Sections of the building date back to 1844, when it first opened as a church, before being converted into the Houston Athletic Club, a prize fight club, in the early 1900’s. Shortly after, the building was purchased and converted into the Houston Hippodrome, which offered moving picture shows and Yiddish vaudeville acts to the growing Jewish immigrant community in the neighborhood.

In 1917 the theater was converted into a nickelodeon and renamed the Sunshine Theater. The theater closed in 1945 and was used as storage up until the 1990s. For a brief period, from 1994 to 1998 the space was rented out for concerts and events before being leased to Landmark Theaters. After undergoing a $12 million renovation, the Sunshine Cinema as I know it opened on December 21, 2001. 

Faust. Sunset (photo © Jaime Rojo)

The Sunshine Cinema isn’t even the latest in a string of closures of historic NYC theaters including the Ziegfeld Theater in 2016 and Lincoln Plaza Cinemas which just closed it’s doors on January 31st. When these cultural institutions have no chance of keeping their heads above water in the current real estate market is it officially time to say New York is dead? As early as 1927 author H. P. Lovecraft had declared “New York is dead, & the brilliancy which so impresses one from outside is the phosphorescence of a maggoty corpse.” But we all know that couldn’t be further from the truth. Each successive generation inevitably breathes new life into the city and finds inspiration in the hallowed concrete jungle.

I discussed my idea for the mural with filmmaker Charlie Ahearn and described my dismay when I found out about the closure. I was surprised that he didn’t share my sentiment. Rather, he said he always thought of the Sunshine as a new theater. I suppose if I had lived though the New York art world of the 70s, 80s, and 90s as he had, I’d likely feel the same way. “Have you been to the Metrograph? Now that’s a great theater!” he told me about the new cinema that opened in the Lower East Side in 2016 and recently hosted a sold out screening of his cult classic film Wild Style. 

It’s ingrained in us all as New Yorkers to gripe every time a local landmark shutters, be it a cultural institution in a historic building or a corner bodega that can no longer compete with the new Whole Foods that opened down the block. It’s part of our DNA to wax poetic about the New York City we grew up in, whichever era that was. But it’s safe to say that more prescient than the idea that New York is dead is another old adage; the only constant is change.

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A Graffiti Painted Cityscape: Laura Shechter Documents Street Art on Canvas

A Graffiti Painted Cityscape: Laura Shechter Documents Street Art on Canvas

If there is someone who knows Brooklyn Street Art and graffiti, it is Laura Shechter.

Dart, Cash4, Cost, Sace, City Kitty, Chris Stain, she knows them all.

And yet she doesn’t know them at all.

When you live in a city and see graffiti or Street Art the creators of the scene cannot hope to define everyone’s experience of their work. In fact, it is an entirely unique trip for each person.

Laura Shechter (photo © Jaime Rojo)

If Laura Shechter happened to capture a graffiti tag or throwie or Street Art wheat-paste or stencil or sticker in one of her careful and precise photo-based cityscapes, she probably didn’t see it as you did, because she may not see her city in the same way you do. Ms. Shechter has spent hours with these pieces; recreating, rendering, and documenting by hand and brush the coded chaos and conversation on city walls. For this painter it is about supporting the craft of the artists of this time much in the same way that she used her earlier still life painting to support the craft of hand painted china from the 19th century.

Others may see these graffiti works as indicators of blight, as eyesores, or signs of the decline of a block or neighborhood. For the majority it may be a visual noise that doesn’t register, let alone merit contemplation or documentation. Laura Shechter is placing this graffiti and Street Art front and center on her canvas, and the rougher the better.

Laura Shechter (photo © Jaime Rojo)

She doesn’t always call it tagging; sometimes she calls it signing or a signature. The graffiti practice of “going over” someone else’s work as a sign of dismissal is called “over writing” in Schecter’s descriptions. She also sees graffiti as “beautification of urban blight.”

Separating the layers of paint and planes with her mind’s eye and layering opaque with transparent, she is perhaps more aware of the strata of pigment, hue, shade, tone, and technical history of a graffitied wall than she is of the vernacular and terminology of day-to-day graffiti and Street Art culture.

Laura Shechter (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Shechter discovered many of these scenes on walks or trespassing adventures with her artist husband Ben and she felt a connection to them, these aerosol tableaus, wanting to save them for posterity.

“I’m good at rendering because I have been a student of 10,000 years of art history,” she says. “I’m involved with technique, observing, and perception. I also understand what is underneath. When I’m rendering the graffiti I am also rendering the graffiti that is underneath it. I’m also sensitive to plane changes so I understand graffiti when it is fading out and when it is sharp.”

She talks about her attraction to this kind of work and perhaps her feeling that she has a connection to the people who practice it. “I was raised in Brownsville, Brooklyn and I am of the ghetto,” says the unpretentious artist who has spoken of a home life in the 1940s and 1950s that was characterized by poverty and very challenging circumstances.

Laura Shechter (photo © Jaime Rojo)

“My work is rarely about the murals that are painted by those who went to art school. I was also a caseworker for the city and I walked most of the ghetto neighborhoods of NY. I am a really aware how ugly it was,” she says.

Today she’s concerned about what gentrification has done to similar neighborhoods and families. “I don’t know if there are any poor people left in Williamsburg. When you are going on a main shopping street on a Saturday, there’s almost nobody older than 30 years old. It almost becomes artificial and I would never want to live there. It would be an unpleasant place because it has become plastic,” she says.

Laura Shechter (photo © Jaime Rojo)

To the painters’ eye these raucous graffiti walls are colors, textures, planes, gestures; gyrations and rhythms of the vibrating city, our history of cacophony distilled, the forceful and waning multi-accented assertions of the vox populi captured here on a wall. One can imagine that Shechter can hear very clearly some of those voices splashed and layered here.

A contemporary realist, Shechter studied at Brooklyn College with noted abstract painter and a father of minimalism, Ad Reinhardt, in the mid 1960s. She says she  absorbed some of his minimalist techniques even with her still lifes in oil, watercolor, pencil, silverpoint, and lithographic prints. Here work developed into a career with gallery representation and a steadily growing collectors base over the next 35 years or so.

Laura Shechter (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Sometime in the late 1990s she says there was a crises in her work and she began thinking that she had explored still life painting and drawing completely, with no where left to go. In the early 2000s she grew interested in photo-based cityscapes through looking at and watching the art practice of her husband, who worked with his own photography as inspiration for his paintings.

In a speech given about her work last October at Mendez Soho in New York she spoke of her departure from still life painting and learning to paint cityscapes, sky, water – and how difficult it was to learn again. “It had to do with humility. The humility came from the idea of ‘how to deal with something that you are extremely competent in and then go back and become incompetent?’ ” She painted densely packed scenes of multileveled high-rises, seeing her city in a new way in terms of plains and horizontal lines and complexity.

Laura Shechter (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Then one of her cityscapes that she captured while looking off the Williamsburg Bridge happened to contain graffiti “only by chance”. It was exhibited at the National Academy later and the curator of that show introduced Shechter to the graffiti haven in Queens called “5 Pointz” and she did a painting of the massive complex crushed in pieces, thowies, tags.

“Basically doing that painting changed the whole direction that my work was taking,” she says. A few years later in 2015 her body of graffiti cityscapes won her the NYFA Artist’s Fellowship from the Academy.

A photo to use as a painting study from Hackney, London. May 2017. (photo © Laura Shechter)

In 2016 her husband Ben passed away after nearly five decades together and their warm Park Slope Brownstone brims with the intermingling of the two artists styles and interests. She says it has been difficult to adjust to the loss, but she has been busying herself with projects. To seek new inspiration from the streets abroad she travelled to London this spring to see the vibrant graffiti, Street Art, and mural scene there and to shoot photos for reference in her next body of paintings.

Siting the many legal walls that she discovered, the bright poppy colors that are popular today, and a perceived lack of direct relationship to the struggles of low-income people, her Brooklyn pride may overshadow her appreciation of what she captured in another city.

A photo to use as a painting study from Shoreditch, London. May 2017. (photo © Laura Shechter)

“Although London Street art is powerful, it lacks the finesse and craft of New York graffiti and it did not evolve naturally from the poorer neighborhoods,” she tells us. “Early New York graffiti writers had a limited palette of aerosol colors that tended to be intense.”

A photo to use as a painting study from Brick Lane, London. May 2017. (photo © Laura Shechter)

“They used natural arm movements that produced a more sensuous line and incorporated effects that result from the aerosol can; fuzzy edges, drips that add interest to the surface. London aerosol artists tend to fill in areas and their colors are the new tints and a heavy use of silver. Although there is some oversigning, they lack the beauty of layering of tags in New York graffiti, ” she says.

A photo to use as a painting study from Hackney, London. May 2017. (photo © Laura Shechter)

A teacher and lecturer at Parsons and the National Academy of Art, Schecter’s works are today included in several museum collections including Art Institute of Chicago, San Francisco Museum of Fine Art, and her hometown Brooklyn Museum where she prizes the feminist perspective which the institution champions, recalling her involvement since the 1970s as a member of both Women in the Arts and the Woman’s Caucus for Art. With such a rewarded career of professional accomplishment it is all the more interesting that the artist holds a certain reverence for the aesthetics of graffiti and Street Art.

But she is from Brooklyn after all.

Brooklyn Street Art: As an admirer of aesthetics, where do you find beauty in public spaces?
Laura Schecter: I enjoy walking the streets or riding a train and encountering sudden beauty when it is unexpected. Buildings used to be dirty brown, grey. I like simple doorways with 100 signatures…Especially graffiti on old brick and weathered wood, and the graffiti trucks are ever evolving and pure works of art.

I liked walking with Ben for miles and miles. Some photos he had to take because he was taller. I was always surprised how different our photos could be of the same spot. Sometimes I used his. I’ve been making home videos – one I made for him about him and his songs last summer and a personal one called “Brownsville Childhood.” That’s what you do when someone dies, you get projects.

Laura Shechter (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Brooklyn Street Art: As a contemporary realist, what are you observing in the cityscape that others may be missing?
Laura Schecter: I was painting the still life and felt that I had nothing more to say about it. My husband Ben Shechter used photos and other sources in his own art work. I borrowed one of his photos that he shot from the “F” train looking into the Gowanus Canal. It was like jumping into the abyss.

It presented a new problem where I had to teach myself new skills and develop a point of view. That process took about six years. I exhibited a painting of Williamsburg with graffiti at the National Academy of Art and when I became friends with the curator Marshal Price, he told me about this place called 5 Pointz in Long Island City. The rest is history – I always tell him that this series of paintings is his fault.

Laura Shechter (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Brooklyn Street Art: What lead you in 2002 to begin painting and drawing photo-based cityscapes?
Laura Schecter: I have strong feelings about landscape space. A space that is created by having parallel horizontal bands. I have an innate sense of rhythm and patterns. I never have trouble with tedium, bring on all of those boring windows and bricks! I can now paint at ground level as I hone my vision.

I have overcome some of the drawbacks of photorealists (whose work can be mechanical) with my knowledge of 10,000 years of art and I can paint views that a painter on site misses, from being on moving trains and trespassing on roofs.

Laura Shechter (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Brooklyn Street Art: So you actually follow the Street Art scene?
Laura Schecter: Because I am constantly walking the 5 boroughs, I may revisit the same site once a year and see how it develops. I also visit centers of street mural art. And of course I read BSA every 2 weeks. This past May I spent an intense 6 days photographing graffiti in many sites and talking occasionally to young street Artists

Brooklyn Street Art: How would you describe how you approach graffiti and Street Art as an artist, as a person? When capturing graffiti and Street Art, is it about form and color and texture – or is it about culture and people and the visual conversation on the street?

Laura Schecter: I am most interested in graffiti walls that are well developed over time with over writing. In the beginning signing might have been random but later each tag was placed with intention, improving the general composition of the site.

What I like about earlyish graffiti was the limited color. Less is more. The graffiti writers maximized with these limited colors. I have gone to newer sites – one in south Bronx and the other in northern Queens where younger street artists are using pastel colors – For me it’s a little less than gritty.

Laura Shechter (photo © Jaime Rojo)


This article is also published The Huffington Post

 

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Selina Miles : Wishes & Hopes for 2017

Selina Miles : Wishes & Hopes for 2017

brooklyn-street-art-wishes-and-hopes-for-2017-ani-1brooklyn-street-art-holiday-garland2-2016

As we near the new year we’ve asked a special guest every day to take a moment to reflect on 2016 and to tell us about one photograph that best captures the year for him or her. It’s an assortment of treats for you to enjoy and contemplate as we all reflect on the year that has passed and conjure our hopes and wishes for the new year to come. It’s our way of sharing the sweetness of the season and of saying ‘Thank You’ for inspiring us throughout the year.

Australian filmmaker and nomad Selina Miles specializes in street art and graffiti, and is also in love with music video, documentary, and most people she meets. First making her mark with a series of mind-baking action videos with Sofles a few years ago, Ms. Miles is now a dynamic storyteller. She is just as likely to be shooting artists as she is plundering their histories and connecting the dots of their influences, aspirations. Willing to take creative risks and to push her own limits, look out in 2017 for Selina to craft a piece on one of the biggest documentary subjects whom she’s profiled yet – in a way that only Selina can do.


Image of Charles and Janine Williams
Papeete, Tahiti
October 2016

Photo by Selina Miles

I love this photo because Charles and Janine Williams really embody my hope for the future street artist. I still love graffiti, the more ignorant/illegal the better, but if artists are entering into a community and putting up a huge mural in the context of street art, this is the right way to do it in my opinion.

They worked together on this wall in Papeete, Tahiti as part of a series they are working on, painting different species of birds native to a particular area, particularly focusing on endangered species. The CR on this painting of a Tahitian Monarch means the bird is critically endangered. They collaborated with the local bird watching group, who provided the photos and also attended a blessing when the wall was finished, where Charles and Janine sung a traditional Māori song as thanks.

In my opinion, this kind of deep, genuine engagement with people and place is the future of street art, in contrary to the commercialisation and trivialisation we see from sponsored / branded events. As a film maker, these are the kinds of stories I look forward to documenting in the future.

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BSA Images Of The Week: 03.27.16

BSA Images Of The Week: 03.27.16

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Happy Easter to the folks who are celebrating this day of Christ’s rise from the dead. The rest of ya’ll can just enjoy the Sunday roast dinner we made for you. Cousin Charlemagne has already eaten both the ears off his chocolate bunny and there are two eggs that have not been found during the hunt. Let’s look for them after we eat. Pass the scalloped potatoes please.

Here’s our our weekly interview with the street, this week featuring A Visual Bliss, Bang Bang Errol, Cash Cash RFC Crew, Chupa, CJ Fly, Dasic Fernandez, Geoffrey Carran, Jay Shells, Jesse A. Edwards, Joseph Acker, KLOPS, Kuma, LMNOPI, Lunge Box, Myth, Papoose, Rocko, Rowena Martinich, Sorick 21, Trifer, Wallplay, Willow, and Zimers.

Our top image: Rocko and Zimer painted this tribute to King Biggie Smalls back in October of 2015 for Spread Art NYC. We just hadn’t been able to flick it. So here it is. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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And speaking of Biggie Smalls, urban artist and lyric lover Jay Shells left this plaque just across the street recently. His unique campaign of placing original rap lyrics at the geographical spot they refer to has taken him to cities across the country. These new platters have just popped up like spring tulips. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Jay Shells (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Jay Shells (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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LMNOPI brings the street a new portrait of “a Haitian girl I met when I was in Port Au Prince in 2010.” (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Sorick21 . Trifer . Chupa (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Kuma (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Artist Unknown (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Klops(photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Dasic Fernandez (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Cash Cash RFC Crew (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Geoffrey Carran . Rowena Martinich (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Lunge Box (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Jesse A Edwards and RAMBO Memorial for @bang_bang_errol at Wallplay. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Artist Unknown (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Myth “A culture fixated on female thinness is not an obsession about female beauty, but an obsession about female obedience” (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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A Visual Bliss (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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The Koch Brothers. Portrait by Joseph Acker – Prision ID #15967538. Mural by Willow. The Captured Project in conjuction with The L.I. S.A. Project. People in prison drawing people who should be. More information here. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Untitled. Good Friday 2016. Williamsburg. March 2016. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

 

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Hot KNARF Pushes a Graffuturist Organic Edge in BK

Hot KNARF Pushes a Graffuturist Organic Edge in BK

Currently in Miami painting by a bus stop in the midst of the Wynwood storm, Austrian Knarf brought his sketchbook to life with characteristic wit and rhythm in Brooklyn last week on a large wall in Bushwick. The echo of lines and patterns may recall Japanese prints and the organic rippling of water on the shore or radio waves.

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Knarf (photo © Jaime Rojo)

The hand-rendered extemporaneous quality of his blocking and texts keep you in the moment, the movements imperfect, the unveiling of sophisticated forms and palette a surprise. His is a studied interconnected biology and geology, shapes and abstractions, the foundational elements in black and white with a selected primary geometric form to make the contrast surge. With shout outs to Jes, Jaime, and his own Irga Irga Crew ((Mik Shida, Fresh Max, Mafia_Tabak) the bio and morphic dance into a third dimension here, bisected by a diagonal bar of aerosoled green, keeping it geometric and pushing Knarf right out onto a newer edge of the graffuture.

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Knarf (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Knarf (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Knarf (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Knarf (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Knarf (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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FUTURA At The Houston Wall, Heart of the Concrete Jungle

FUTURA At The Houston Wall, Heart of the Concrete Jungle

The Houston Street Wall took a turn for the abstract, atmospheric, and the futurist imaginings of New York artist Futura these last few days. Pushing his own borders and in a reductionist state of mind, the graffiti writer abandons the splashy colors and recalls the monochrome pallet of the NYC train yards he ventured into as a teen; black of night, steel grey, the glint of light on the tracks that lead out through the city.

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Futura. Houston Wall. September 2015. Manhattan, NYC. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Stepping back and leaning in you can see the exposed vertical trussing of an NYC that always under construction with cranes stirring the sky; once building factories now high-rises and thin ultra luxe finger towers, these steel structures are adorned with ivy, razor wire, plastic bags fluttering in the gritty breeze.

As he sat cross-legged on the pavement before his “Concrete Jungle” for a cluster of photographers while holding open the double page spread of his 1980 train paintings, “Break,” only Martha Cooper could claim to shoot both this scene and the one thirty five years earlier.

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Futura. Houston Wall. September 2015. Manhattan, NYC. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

This wall can sometimes feel like a backdrop for a family reunion, with all manner of friends, associates, peers, culture critics, photographers, fans, family, writers, photographers, fashion models, and selfie-stick carrying tourists stopping by to check the progress and say hello.

With hometown hero Futura at the brush, this heart of a concrete jungle becomes more of resting place by a tree, a welcoming urban oasis without the rose-colored glasses. Actually, now that you think of it, this guy posing gamely with open arms and happily signing your sketchbook or dollar bill does have red reading frames on, and his New York stories smooth over the rough patches and frequently look for a positive tone to strike.

As you see him painting and creating his massive piece in-the-moment here while people swarm by, cars honk their horns, trucks roar their engines, and sirens scream, it strikes you that this is New York then and this is New York now, thanks to the truly contemporary Futura.

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Futura. Houston Wall. September 2015. Manhattan, NYC. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Futura. Houston Wall. September 2015. Manhattan, NYC. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Futura. Houston Wall. September 2015. Manhattan, NYC. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Futura. Houston Wall. September 2015. Manhattan, NYC. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Futura. Houston Wall. September 2015. Manhattan, NYC. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Futura. Houston Wall. September 2015. Manhattan, NYC. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Futura. Houston Wall. September 2015. Manhattan, NYC. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Futura. Houston Wall. September 2015. Manhattan, NYC. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Futura. Houston Wall. September 2015. Manhattan, NYC. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Futura. Houston Wall. September 2015. Manhattan, NYC. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Lee Quinones : The NYC Graffiti Train Storyteller Tells His Own Story

Lee Quinones : The NYC Graffiti Train Storyteller Tells His Own Story

Never Seen Notebook Drawings and Recent Paintings Span 1975-2015

“It was an identity crisis for youth in NYC in the 1970s,” explains Lee Quinones, the whole subway car “bomber” who claims the mantel of aerosol story teller for NYC’s rolling gallery of public art during that nearly dystopian decade. He is sitting on a folding chair before a small crowd of gallery visitors with Glenn O’Brien talking about his youthful creative process during a time when New York was seething with raw emotion, roiling in an identity crisis of its own with social, political, and economic issues all contributing to a perception of pending anarchy.

The occasion is the end of his current show that includes work from two distinct periods: now and 40 years ago. Witnessing one clearly informs your understanding of the other.

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Lee Quinones (photo © Jaime Rojo)

“I’m a recovering graffiti artist,” the dynamo LEE likes to say with a wink, and signs of his addiction are framed around the unpolished Chinatown pop-up space to help you see how deep the scars are. Pulled directly from home sketchbooks done in 1975 at the age of 15, these original drawings, some nearly four feet across, belie the level of manic dedication and wizardry his illegal storytelling required in those rusted screeching halcyon days when graffiti tags began to metamorphose into the representational and a certain wilder style.

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Lee Quinones (photo © Jaime Rojo)

With personal graffiti influencers on the street like the expressionistic Cliff 159 and the pop-painting Blade lighting his way, LEE says he was searching for a way to break out of the “alphabet soup” of the prevailing lettering and tagging that was enveloping trains and subway stations and burning city walls.

“The small umbrella we were under was too small,” he says as he describes the way he tapped into a superheroes’ courage to fly from the housing projects of Lower Manhattan into social and political themes that took him up and down the number 5 subway line; his own publishing platform that reached thousands, probably millions.

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Lee Quinones. Silent Thunder. Whole Car. Detail. 1984 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

“I wanted to create storytelling on the subway. Why not address the civil rights movement?,” he asks and you think immediately of the photos and film you’ve seen of the hand sprayed images and text addressing the Vietnam War, economic inequality, environmental degradation, nuclear annihilation, love, death, longing, community, brotherhood, and Donald Duck. A ninja in the train yards, LEE also was a conscience on the rails.

“I wanted to sarcastically address the doctrine that was being thrown at me,” and he did, often collaboratively with four other writers, forming The Fabulous Five. Over that time he estimates he painted many more than a hundred complete subway cars with characters, scenes and public speeches questioning accepted truths and advocating at least a reexamination of them.

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Lee Quinones (photo © Jaime Rojo)

The show is a rare opportunity to see these works in person, an illuminating collection of detailed sketches, marker drawings, possible titles, poetry, crossed out ideas, musings, and paint lists. Even in his youth LEE was showing his undying commitment to his art and it’s expression, wherever it lead.

“I feel comfortable being uncomfortable,” he says of the winding route over four decades that now includes a very strong studio practice and shows in major institutions and work in significant collections. He says it has brought a desire to simplify. “On canvasses now I want to say more with less.”

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Lee Quinones. Subway Car Montage. Study #2 1980-1983. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Coupled with a smaller collection of recent works, one large monochrome stylized wall tag, and his newest painting, Golpe de Suerte that includes his mother’s hand-written recipe cards and lists collaged and spelling out “amor”, this is a personal show not likely to be seen again.

Including his mother and her lettering style completes a cycle; that’s the same ‘mom’ to whom he dedicated in aerosol many of his trains in the late 1970s and early 80s. Considered as a whole, this show captures a passionate imagination that is still on fire, tempered by experience. Looking at it all, free from the hype, this is the kid who you hoped you would find.

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Lee Quinones (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Lee Quinones. Crossing Delancy (Basquiat at the Clarinet). 2014. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Lee Quinones. The Fabulous 5. 1976. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Lee Quinones. In The Yards. Color palette list. 1982. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Lee Quinones. Untitled. 1980 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Lee Quinones. Golpe de Suerte. 2013-2014 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Lee Quinones. Golpe de Suerte. Detail. 2013-2014 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Lee Quinones. Golpe de Suerte. Detail. 2013-2014 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

 

For more information please contact Nicole Klagsbrun Gallery.

 

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Please note: All content including images and text are © BrooklynStreetArt.com, 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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This article is also published on The Huffington Post

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