It’s an annual event in Street Art and mural programs in New York for the last decade, The Welling Court Festival – now poised to be a victim of its own success. The original concept by a couple who ran Ad Hoc gallery in Bushwick, Brooklyn, the neighborhood was full of working class and economically struggling families in a part of the city that had fallen into the margins. Suddenly it was full of color and imagination thanks to Garrison and Alison Buxton and their eclectic and widely dispersed cadre of local and international graffiti and Street Artists who spent one weekend out of the summer smashing walls side by side with community members in a cacophonous untamed way.
This year was no different, with families and children getting into the action, and relationships renewed between artists and admirers on a gorgeous New York summer weekend in June. But what is also evident is the invasion of developers and higher-rent homes and businesses being built. You’ve seen this movie before, and you know how it ends. Owners cash in, renters are priced out, and these walls will be commercial shortly – used to sell shampoo.
The connection between murals and gentrification? That debate continues, but for some, it’s a settled causational relationship. The question about what to do about it, if anything, is unsettled – and unsettling.
Here’s our weekly interview with the street (or boardwalk), this time featuring Caleb Neelon, Cey Adams, Depoe, Rene Gagnon, JCorp, Kimyon333, NYC Hooker, Peat Wolleager, Pinky Weber, Sara Erenthal, Caryn Cast, Joe Iurato, John Fekner, Never, Praxis, Queen Andrea, Hellbent, Bella Pharma, Color Eyes, and Hiss.
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
“Anxiety is normal in an unjust society” says the new piece by Disordered in Welling Court, Queens, a working class neighborhood of New York where the latest Ad Hoc mural party was held a couple of weekends ago under the direction of Garrison Buxton. He started this festival with his former partner Alison Buxton nine years ago to create community here with a number of artists from across the graffiti/Street Art spectrum, and it has always been a great day to see families and kids interacting with artists on the street.
Anxiety rings true when the giveaways to business interests for nearly four decades under both dominant parties have gradually placed folks like these in this neighborhood constantly in fear of missing the rent, the grocery bill, the car payment, the cost of providing for their kids.
Some companies adore this dynamic exactly the way it is because when you are always feeling anxiety about losing your job and worried about paying the bills you won’t speak up to notify anyone when your boss is dumping poison in the river or placing his hand upon your seat. Imagine working so hard and getting paid so little that you are still relying on public assistance, as Walmart is known for now. Anxiety is normal for many today, and it is reflected in the art on the streets as well.
Here’s our weekly interview with the streets, this week featuring Cern, Caleb Neelon, Col Wallnuts, Damien Mitchell, Daze, Disordered, FKDL, Hellbent, JCBK, Joe Iurato, John Fekner, Lena McCarthy, LMNOPI, Maria Wore, Michel Velt, Never, NYC Hooker, Praxis, Queen Andrea, Robots Will Kill, Rubin415, Seeone, and Toofly.
Our weekly focus on the moving image and art in the streets. And other oddities.
Now screening :
1. “Serenity” with SNIK in Manchester
2. Hellbent in Albany, NY
3. And Now a Message From Our Sponsors: Aphukenbrake
4. Low Bros in Rabat, Morocco
BSA Special Feature: “Serenity” with SNIK in Manchester
“To women who stood against injustice. We honor you. We witness to your courage and are humbled by your sacrifice,” says the narrator and activist Leigh Cook about the suffragettes in this new video following the duo SNIK as they create “Serenity” on Little Lever Street in the northern quarter of Manchester, directed by Doug Gillen at Fifth Walls TV.
And below is a behind-the-scenes reporter-on-the-ground-and-in-cherry picker video where Mr. Gillen speaks with organizers who attempt the gentrification issue that accompanies the mural campaign they’re expanding and Laura takes a swing at the topics of feminism, empowerment and the #METOO movement. Doug does some dancing.
Hellbent in Albany, NY
A promotional video for a mobile company using the mural painting of Street Artist Hellbent painting in Albany, New York.
“Good memories of last year’s JIDAR festival in Rabat, Morocco,” say Low Bros in this very entertaining brief visit to a beautiful part of the world. The use of their own footage throughout makes this much more eclectic and personal. Thumbs up for the music track by ADP & Levi Lennox.
Long before Bushwick Open Studios and the Bushwick Collective there was Ad Hoc Gallery in a part of Brooklyn better known for bullet proof plexi-glass at the corner deli than being any kind of artists haven. Kool kids were actually filtering in to find cheap rents and space in the early 2000s and Garrison and Alison Buxton and a few other closely knit creatives, teachers, entrepreneurs, and activists created a gallery/community center that welcomed Street Artists and graffiti peeps.
Their gallery featured solo and group shows that included Shepard Fairey, Swoon, C215, Chris Stain, Know Hope, and many others over a five year period and Ad Hoc provided an entrance to the contemporary art world. Somehow they did it in a way that honored the roots of the culture, not simply cashing in on it. Smart and worldly, they also had open hearts to other people’s projects. We even had our inaugural BSA show and book launch there in 2008, donating all the money to Free Arts NYC and selling work from an impressive number of talented artists whose name you might recognize.
10 years later the actual gallery is long closed and they moved to Vermont to get more space to raise their daughter Halcyon, but the Buxtons still sell art, curate the occasional show, and have stayed seriously in the New York mix by hosting an annual street mural jam called Welling Court for the last half decade. True to their community roots, they keep the roster very wide and inclusive. This year the mural painting continued long after the actual event, so we recently went back to Queens to catch the ones we didn’t during this summers jam.
Coming up this weekend there is a big 10th Anniversary party for Ad Hoc here in Brooklyn again, we thought we’d show you the murals we missed for the first collection of 2016 murals HERE. Hope to see you at this weekends Ad Hoc 10th Anniversary event at 17 Frost.
A lot of people thought so, and the rise of commercial festivals and commissioned public/private mural programs probably brought more artists to more walls than in recent history. Judging from the In Box, 2016 is going to break more records. Enormous, polished, fully realized and presented, murals can hold a special role in a community and transform a neighborhood, even a city.
But they are not the “organic” Street Art that draws us into the dark in-between places in a city, or at its margins.
We keep our eyes open for the small, one-off, idiosyncratic, uncommissioned, weirdo work as well, as it can carry clues about the culture and reveal a sage or silly solo voice. It also just reinforces the feeling that the street is still home to an autonomous free-for-all of ideas and opinions and wandering passions. For us it is still fascinating to seek out and discover the one-of-a-kind small wheatpastes, stencils, sculptures, ad takeovers, collages, and aerosol sprayed pieces alongside the enormous and detailed paintings that take days to complete.
The main image above is from a vinyl subway advertisement that was high-jacked and we published it in February of this year on our Images of the Week posting. It’s small, personal, and very effective as you can see someone suspiciously similar to Batman is jumping out of the mouth of someone looking awfully similar to Hedwig of “Angry Inch” fame.
Of the 10,000 or so images photographer Jaime Rojo took in 2015, here are a selection 140+ of the best images from his travels through streets looking for unpermissioned and sanctioned art.
Brooklyn Street Art 2015 Images of the Year by Jaime Rojo
Brooklyn Street Art 2015 Images of the Year by Jaime Rojo includes the following artists;
365xlos43, Amanda Marie, Andreas Englund, Augustine Kofie, Bisser, Boijeot, Renauld, Bordaloli, Brittany, BunnyM, Case Maclaim, Casg, Cash4, CDRE, Clet, Cost, Curve, Dain, Dal East, Dan Budnik, Dan Witz, David Walker, DeeDee, Dennis McNett, Don Rimx, Ricardo Cabret, LNY, Alex Seel, Mata Ruda, Don’t Fret, Dot Dot Dot, ECB, El Mac, El Sol25, Ella & Pitr, Eric Simmons, Enest Zacharevic, Martha Cooper, Martin Whatson, Ever, Faile, Faith47, Findac, Futura, Gaia, Gilf!, Hanksy, Hellbent, Hot Tea, How & Nosm, Icy and Sot, Inti, Invader, Isaac Cordal, James Bullough, Janet Dickson, Jef Aerosol, Jilly Ballistic, Joe Iurato, John Fekner, Le Diamantaire, Li Hill, LMNOPI, London Kaye, Low Brow, Marina Capdevilla, Miss Van, Mr. Prvrt, Mr. Toll, Myth, Nafir, Nemos, Never Crew, Nick Walker, Nina Pandolofo, Old Broads, Oldy, Ollio, Os Gemeos, Owen Dippie, Paper Skaters, Pet Bird, Kashink, Smells, Cash4, PichiAvo, Pixel Pancho, QRST, ROA, Ron English, Rubin415, Saner, Sean 9 Lugo, Shai Dahan, Shepard Fairey, Sheryo & The Yok, Sinned, Sipros, Skewville, Slikor, Smells, Sweet Toof, Snowden, Edward Snowden, Andrew Tider, Jeff Greenspan, Specter, Stray Ones, Sweet Toof, Swil, Willow, Swoon, The Outings Project, Toney De Pew, Tristan Eaton, Various & Gould, Vermibus, Wane, Wk Interact
The Lithuanian artist Ernest Zacharevic has completed his fourth collaboration with a photograph by Martha Cooper. Well executed in this New York location, Ernest is drawing inspiration from Ms. Cooper’s photographs of children at play on New York’s Lower East Side of Manhattan in the 1970s.
Here’s our weekly interview with the street, this week featuring CB23, Forgive, Hellbent, JR, LMNOPI, One Tooth, Pablo Harymbat, Ramiro Davaro-Comas, She Wolf, Specter, Stray Ones, Thievin’ Stephen, Toaster, and Vexta.
Don’t miss this cool auction of work by many of today’s Street Artists on the New York scene, and some other folks you might have heard of! Young New Yorkers works with 16 and 17 year-old kids who have been caught in the criminal justice system, giving them a second chance. This is your opportunity to support this non-profit organization that is doing good work for your neighbors and our neighborhoods and to add art to your collection.
We had the opportunity to speak with Rachel Barnard, Executive Director and Co-Founder of Young New Yorkers about the event and their programs. We asked her to explain how the programs work.
“Art exercises in our programs are collapsed with restorative justice exercises and they give our participants a way of exploring the impact of their choices while empowering them to make wiser ones in the future. We work with photography, video, collage and illustration. More importantly, in the second half of the program art allows our participant’s to step into their own leadership and self expression,” she explains.
As the participants explore their creativity, they also examine it through a greater lens. “They explore a social issue that is important to them and develop a public art project around that. This is then presented at the final exhibition – one which the criminal court judges, acting district attorneys, social workers and other members of the criminal justice system, attend. It’s a way for everyone to re-meet our extraordinary participants as more than just their rap sheets. So in this way we use art to meet our main goal; which is to empower our young New Yorkers to transform the criminal justice system through their own creative voices.”
Here are some of the pieces that will be up for auction on April 1st.
Young New Yorkers provides arts-based programming to court-involved young people. The criminal court gives eligible defendants—all of whom are 16- and 17-year-olds and who in New York are tried as adults—the option to participate in Young New Yorkers rather than do jail time, community service, and have a lifelong criminal record. With the ultimate goal of empowering participants to transform the criminal justice system through their own creative voices, all of YNY’s programs culminate with a public exhibition where members of the Criminal Justice System are invited to re-meet the graduates as creative and empowered individuals. In most cases, upon successful completion of the program, the participants’ cases are sealed; so far, 100% of participants have graduated from YNY’s programs.
We look forward to seeing you at Joseph Gross Gallery on April 1 for the Silent Art Auction. Get your advance tickets for only $35 here.
Happy New Year to All! Thank you for inspiring us to do our best and to those of you who continue to support our personal art project / cultural examination, we extend our gratitude more than ever.
Begun as an enthusiastic discovery of what was happening in a few neighborhoods in New York, we continued to expand our view into more cities around the world last year and into the history and future of the scene. We also aimed to provide you with a critical platform for examination of the street art/ graffiti / public art/ contemporary art continuum with interviews with artists, curators, collectors, organizers, observers and thinkers in the street, studio, gallery, and museum – trouble makers and taste makers alike.
In the end, it’s your observations and the conversations on the street that are most important. As we begin the year with over 300K fans, friends, and followers on social media platforms and 225 articles on the Huffington Post (thanks HuffPost team!), we feel like we get a valuable good survey of current opinions heading our way daily.
With in-depth interviews, investigative articles, opinion infused examinations, plain celebratory reverie, occasionally silly non-sequitors, and public appearances where we get to meet you, we get a good analytical look at an ever-evolving movement, glittery polish and warts and all.
As the new year begins we take a look back at the top stories chosen by BSA Readers in the last 12 months. Among them are two takeover pop-up shows in soon-to-be demolished buildings, a story about commercial abuse of artist copyrights and the effort to fight back, a street art community’s response to the sudden death of an activist street artist, a Street Art tourist trip, and a few inspirational women, men, and Mexican muralists. Even though we published at least once a day for the last 365 days, these are the most popular pieces, as chosen by you, Dear BSA Reader.
Here it is! Our 2014 wrap up featuring favorite images of the year by Brooklyn Street Art’s Jaime Rojo.
Before our video roundup below here is the Street Art photographer’s favorite of the year: Ask Jaime Rojo, our illustrious editor of photography at BrooklynStreetArt.com , who takes thousands of photographs each year, to respond to a simple question: What was your favorite photo of the year?
For 2014 he has swift response: “The Kara Walker.” Not the art, but the artist posed before her art.
It was an impromptu portrait that he took with his iPhone when the artist unveiled her enormous sculpture at a small gathering of neighborhood locals and former workers of the Domino Sugar Factory, informal enough that Rojo didn’t even have his professional camera with him. Aside from aesthetics for him it was the fact that the artist herself was so approachable and agreed to pose for him briefly, even allowing him to direct her just a bit to get the shot, that made an imprint on his mind and heart.
Of course the sculpture is gone and so is the building that was housing it for that matter – the large-scale public project presented by Creative Time was occupying this space as the last act before its destruction. The artist herself has probably moved on to her next kick-ass project after thousands of people stood in long lines along Kent Avenue in Brooklyn to see her astounding indictment-tribute-bereavement-celebration in a hulking warehouse through May and June.
But the photo remains.
And Rojo feels very lucky to have been able to seize that quintessential New York moment: the artist in silhouette before her own image, her own work, her own outward expression of an inner world.
And our holiday gift to you for five years running, here is the brand new video of favorite images of graffiti and Street Art by Brooklyn Street Art’s editor of photography, Jaime Rojo.
Of a few thousand these 129 shots fly smoothly by as a visual survey; a cross section of graffiti, street art, and the resurgence of mural art that continues to take hold. As usual, all manner of art-making is on display as you wander your city’s streets. Also as usual, we prefer the autonomous free-range unsolicited, unsanctioned type of Street Art because that’s what got us hooked as artists, and ultimately, it is the only truly uncensored stuff that has a free spirit and can hold a mirror up to us. But you have to hand it to the muralists – whether “permissioned” or outright commissioned, some people are challenging themselves creatively and still taking risks.
Once again these artists gave us impetus to continue doing what we are doing and above all made us love this city even more and the art and the artists who produce it. We hope you dig it too.
Brooklyn Street Art 2014 Images of the Year by Jaime Rojo includes the following artists;
2Face, Aakash Nihalani, Adam Fujita, Adnate, Amanda Marie, Andreco, Anthony Lister, Arnaud Montagard, Art is Trash, Ben Eine, Bikismo, Blek Le Rat, Bly, Cake, Caratoes, Case Maclaim, Chris Stain, Cleon Peterson, Clet, Clint Mario, Col Wallnuts, Conor Harrington, Cost, Crummy Gummy, Dain, Dal East, Damien Mitchell, Damon, Dan Witz, Dasic, Don’t Fret, Dot Dot Dot, Eelco Virus, EKG, El Sol 25, Elbow Toe, Etam Cru, Ewok, Faring Purth, Gilf!, Hama Woods, Hellbent, Hiss, Hitnes, HOTTEA, Icy & Sot, Jana & JS, Jason Coatney, Jef Aerosol, Jilly Ballistic, Joe Iurato, JR, Judith Supine, Kaff Eine, Kashink, Krakenkhan, Kuma, Li Hill, LMNOPI, London Kaye, Mais Menos, Mark Samsonovich, Martha Cooper, Maya Hayuk, Miss Me, Mover, Mr. Prvrt, Mr. Toll, Myth, Nenao, Nick Walker, Olek, Paper Skaters, Patty Smith, Pixel Pancho, Poster Boy, Pyramid Oracle, QRST, Rubin 415, Sampsa, Sean 9 Lugo, Sebs, Sego, Seher One, Sexer, Skewville, SmitheOne, Sober, Sonni, Specter, SpY, Square, Stay Fly, Stik, Stikki Peaches, Stikman, Swil, Swoon, Texas, Tilt, Tracy168, Trashbird, Vexta, Vinz, Willow, Wolfe Works, Wolftits, X-O, Zed1.
“When this precinct was built it was a very bad, very poor neighborhood. When the cops came in there was a lot of brutality and there was a lot of corruption,” says curator Robert Aloia of this building architected for the NYPD in 1863 and closed down fifty years later. A quick search on the web shows a history of thuggery born of Dickens. Records at the time of closure indicated there were 9,500 arrests annually and this tiny slice of Manhattan alone had 37 brothels.
So why not have a graffiti show here before tearing it down, right?.
Brooklyn Street Art:So you literally could hit every wall here and it wouldn’t matter because it is coming down at the end of the month? Robert Aloia: Yeah the inside walls. The outside walls they don’t want us to touch.
In a twist of events pulled from a satire, one of the artists on display this weekend was arrested this month in Brooklyn and spent the night in jail before seeing a judge. The following day he came to this precinct and hit up some walls with impunity.
“It’s just amazing that these artists can put their time, their money, and their talent into something that is just coming down,” says Aloia while touring us through rooms and stairways during one of the four visits we made for these exclusive first images, “ and it is only going to be seen for a certain amount of time.”
Hellbent has his own room. So does Rambo. Cash4 and Matt Siren are sharing one together, as are Sheryo and the Yok. Elle spent an entire night in hers watching her black wax sculpture melting away with the candles she planted in it. An unconfirmed story says it is a sculpture cast of the elusive Judith Supine.
“She painted it black, melted it and filmed it,” says Aloia.
Brooklyn Street Art:Have you thought of the irony behind the fact that this is a former police precinct and many of the artists would have been running away from this place instead of trying to get into it?
Robert Aloia: That is true, I didn’t think of that aspect of it really, but the gallery area was the actual holding cell.
Brooklyn Street Art: So how did you draw these people together?
Robert Aloia: Every show I’ve done I start with my friends, and then it’s friends of friends, and that’s it. It’s just about one degree of separation.
In the last three years the New York native has curated a number of shows heavily weighted with graffiti artists and Street Artists, primarily on Manhattan’s Lower East Side at bars, event spaces, and venues with downtown history like Fuse, White Box, and La Mama.
A bartender and DJ who has mixed with a lot of New York nightlife and street life without becoming hardened, Aloia and co-curators like Erik Foss and Ricky Powell have been doing sometimes star-studded yet unassuming one-off shows the past few years with Street Art names like Bast, Supine, and Aiko and some of the newer kids like N’DA and Icy & Sot.
“I am from New York and I always knew a lot of graffiti artists, that’s how I ended up getting into it. I was just lucky enough to have access to some venues to do stuff.”
Brooklyn born, Aloia’s been on the LES since the 80s, which explains his devotion to the memory of “outlaw parties” where people would set up an illegal bar and a pumping sound system in improvised celebrations at unsanctioned locations. Outlaw parties and pop-up speakeasies still exist of course, but more often they are in Brooklyn now as Manhattan is shoving artists out by the truckload.
For “21st Precinct” he’s called in nearly 50 artists from as far away as Japan, Australia, California, and nearby New Jersey. The mix of artists is eclectic and sometimes quite powerful like the tribute to SAMO (Basquiat) in the gallery by his co-conspirator Al Diaz, and the dark room built by Swedish photographer Jesper Haynes which features images from the downtown New York in the Reagan era.
“I definitely always have a mix with fine art, photography, installation, but you know I always have old-school graffiti artists and street artists,” he says as he looks over the four floors of thickly gritty splendor by renowned and unknown.
For those lucky enough to see the show in this venue this weekend or next, “21st Precinct” is a quintessential New York minute, a steamy grimy melting pot of authentic attitude that begs to differ and perhaps stick a finger in your chest just before the wrecking ball hits. Thank Aloia while you’re there. Not surprisingly, the new building that replaces this one will be for…..wait for it…. luxury residences.
OUTLAW ARTS Presents: “The 21st Precinct”
Curated by Robert Aloia & VNA Mag
The show will be in the old 21st Precinct located on 327 East 22nd Street. More information HERE.
Adam Dare, Al Diaz, Amanda Marie, ASVP, Bad Pedestrian, Ben Angotti , Bill Claps, Bishop203, Bunny M., Cash4, Chris RWK, Chris Soria, Coby Kennedy, Curtis Kulig, D. Gaja, Danielle Mastrion, Dasic, Dizmology, Duel, ELLE, Erasmo, Esteban del Valle, Faust, Ghost, GIZ, Hellbent, Hue, Icy & Sot, Iena Cruz, Jesper Haynes, Justin Carty, Ket, Lexi Bella, Li-Hall, Lorenzo Masnah, Matt Siren, Mr. Toll, N. Carlos Jay, Nepo, Nick Tengri, Pesu, Phil, Pixote, RAE, Rambo, Ricardo Cabret, SAE, Savior Elmundo, Shery-o & The Yok, Shiro, Tone Tank, URNY, Vexta, X-O.