Back in June, BSA published the first article on disCONNECT, a project created in London during the lockdown due to Covid-19. A collaboration between Schoeni Projects and HK Walls, disCONNECT involves the take over of a period building by 10 artists from different countries.
Disconnect “reflects on the creative and physical constraints of the current global crisis, exploring psychological and political reactions to the crisis, as well as the role of technology as conduit between the two.”
We’re pleased to bring you our final article on the project with images of the works of all 10 participating artists. For our previous coverage click HERE, HERE, HERE, and HERE.
Free Tickets for disCONNECT are now available. 24 July – 24 August, Wednesdays – Sundays. Hourly slots starting from 11am to 5pm, with a maximum of 8 people per slot. Please book below, we can’t wait to share this journey with you!
In an era where people may feel more under attack, more alienated, more disconnected from one another (despite “always on” connectivity), comes this new campaign from Dirty Bandits, “You Are Not Alone”. New York walls have been popping up recently (see above) with this message and somehow it completely resonates, hopefully just in time to remind someone struggling.
Brooklyn based lettering artist Annica Lydenberg of the design company Dirty Bandits tells us that this was an idea she came up with her best friend who had recently published a memoir about living with anxiety disorder. The he murals are intended to have broad appeal and offer support to anyone who feels misunderstood, victimized, or abandoned.
She tells us that people need to know “they are not the only ones struggling with mental health. My wish is to be seen as an ally, for not only mental health, but to the many communities who do not feel supported.” She says the campaign is not strictly commercial, although it is certainly not anonymous and some funding came from a media concern. But we agree that it is a very worthwhile message, can actually help people and if you want to learn more go HERE.
As long as we are on the topic, please call these numbers right now if you need help:
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning (LGBTQ) Suicide Hotline 1-866-488-7386
Teen suicide hotline 1-800-USA-KIDS (872-5437)
National Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-SAFE (7233), or 1-800-787-3224 (TTY).
So here’s our weekly interview with the street, this time featuring Abe Lincoln Jr., Adam Fu, Cash4, Dirty Bandits, Elms, Icy & Sot, Jason Naylor, Mad Villain, Maia Lorian, Rude Reps, SAMO, Sinned, Smells, Soar, UFO907, Victor Ash, and Winston Tseng.
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
It’s not all about the murals! A sacrilegious thing to say perhaps, especially on a Sunday, especially when we are in town to see fresh new murals at the Wall\Therapy festival in Rochester. But none of the artists will take us to task because everyone knows that the roots of Street Art and graffiti are in the un-permissioned work that happens underground in hidden spots that become revered; magnets for aerosol mark-making, veritable spray can galleries. These crumbling houses of the holy are foundational to the modern Street Art scene. After all, if the good Lord didn’t want teens to get high, have sex, and catch tags he wouldn’t have created urban decay.
So it was good to get to the dirty stuff with some help from an affable Roc native named Jason who showed us around some of the darker caverns in the city this week where you can get a sense of the conversations that bubble just below the surface. These places of decay feature some old school tags, rollers, characters, bubble letters, rants, political critique – the gamut. Also, homeless people, restless hoodies on BMX bikes, and funny smelling cigarette smoke wafting past you periodically.
We were really honored to speak at the museum Friday and to be introduced by the director Jonathan Binstock and Wall\Therapy founder Dr. Ian Wilson for our talk and show of a series of short films about the evolving Street Art scene globally. Memorial Art Gallery (MAG) is part of the University of Rochester and houses a huge encyclopedic collection of 12,000 works of art representing cultures from around the world and across millennia so to have the opportunity to share contemporary works from across this global grassroots art movement is especially gratifying and many in the audience came up afterward to talk about how inspiring this moment in art history is to them personally.
Typically academia and institutional support has been a few steps removed from this means of expression but the last decade and a half continues to see a shifting of perspectives by some who traditionally resisted the work in the streets. We’re just glad that we can continue to provide a platform for voices high and low, trained and self-taught, polished and in development – and the feedback we continue to get from you is that the work strikes a strong chord and we are grateful. Just to keep it real, here’s a tiny collection of work from Rochester’s organic urban art scene.
So here’s our weekly interview with the street, this week featuring AX, Cash4, Eder Muniz, Freedom, FUA Krew, Icy and Sot, Jeff Soto, Mr PRVRT, ND’A, OverUnder, ROA, Smear, and Thievin Stephen.
Can we please not talk about snow? Spring, you temptress.
Here’s our weekly interview with the street, this week featuring Angelina Christina, Bifido, BiP, Bortusk Leer, C215, Chris Stain, Crummy Gummy, Dan Witz, Dave the Chimp, Ease One, El Bocho, Icy & Sot, Little Lucy, London Kaye, Never, Otto “Osch” Shade, Peter Phobia, Punk Paul, Tuco, and Zid Leon.
All the Works Completed for Project M/7 at Urban Nation with BSA
Our trip to Berlin with 12 of Brooklyn’s finest street artists was a quintessential cultural exchange; bringing together artists, curators, social activists, ministers of art, museum board CEOS, collectors, gallerists, fans, and the director of a future museum called Urban Nation. The seventh Project M, a program to draw artists and attention to the enormous UN haus while it is under construction, was called “Persons of Interest”. All week we got to meet interesting people – not a surprise in this raw cultural hot spot that bubbles with an effervescent underground and creative laboratory that is full of youthful vigor and serendipity.
How fitting then that our first youthful arrivals were Icy & Sot, who set the tone with their 4 story portrait of an anonymous Brooklyn woman with “Freedom” scrawled across her face, an iconic scene of the celebrants at Berlin’s fallen wall inside her. With one of the brothers turning 24 that week, it was even more touching to see them marking an important event that predated him by one year – a new generation of artists helping us identify what events of the modern age are truly touchstones.
The 176 piece stencil had taken about 10 days for them to cut back in Brooklyn and the brothers methodically sprayed their missive to Berlin’s people over the course of 5 more days. This, their largest mural ever, was enormous and peaceful and an incredible act of discipline, determination, and dedication to teamwork.
“Persons of Interest” was meant to celebrate the connections between the lively artists communities in these sister cities over the last few decades, and being in Berlin felt like home to most of the artists in many ways. The curatorial vision was also meant to counter the criticism of many of the new Street Art mural festivals that have taken hold in cities around the world that they are not considering their hosts and to help focus on the neighborhoods where the new works appear.
Undeniably the Internet has supercharged this worldwide peoples’ art movement and has allowed us to learn about and connect with artists and their street work as we never would have encountered previously. It also has created a strata of international artists whose names appear again and again on these festival lists and while it is sort of exciting, it also is producing a sort of cultural imperialism that leaves a sour taste in the mouths of locals who don’t feel a connection to the artists or the art works that remain in their neighborhoods long after the festival has ended.
Our aim with “Persons of Interest” was to suggest a new model that may also be considered, one that is based on impactful work and meaningful exchange.
From this experiment that took us roughly six months to conceive, organize, and execute, we discovered two things:
1. Artists actually like to do research and create art that is meaningful and relevant to their personal stories, and
2. Many street passersby and art audiences are elated to find work that they can relate to – that reflects their lives, history, and culture.
Each of the artists had really challenged themselves to learn about the city they were making work for, and each had a story that also spoke of their own. Every day we were learning from them and they were learning from each other and without hesitation our hosts were schooling us as well.
Of course it helps when you are working with a dynamic urban contemporary art expert like Yasha Young, who has a deep well of ideas about community and more connections than the WiFi router at a One Direction concert. All week we were treated to a rotating list of visiting photographers, videographers, art directors, reporters, radio hosts, writers, culture mavens — and to many artists who were in town to put up new walls, show us their black books and iPhoto libraries, or just to meet their New York friends who were painting in the gallery.
Shout out to Onur Dinc, Andreas Englund, Herakut, The Never Crew, KKade, Various & Gould, Strok, David Walker, FKDL, James Bullough, Vermibus, Roland Henry, Nika Kramer, Butterfly, Mark Rigney and other very cool well-wishers. While we’re at it, we all send a gold-plated shout out to the three women who kept us all cared for in so many ways in the gallery and on-site at the UN – Alejandra, Elisabetta, and Ana were indispensable.
Speaking of meeting interesting people, a huge highlight of the program for us was when two of the artists got to meet their “Person of Interest” face to face. We had arranged a surprise visit of one of them; NohJColey had no idea that Katharina Oguntoye would walk on the sidewalk in front of the UN and peer in the window where he was preparing his portrait of her.
To witness the enthusiasm with which they greeted one another and to hear them excitedly asking and answering each others questions regarding his work as an artist in Brooklyn and hers as an Afro German feminist in Berlin was the epitome of art as a catalyst for cultural exchange. We didn’t know life could be so rich.
Gaia’s person of interest, Fereshta Ludin also attended the opening in person on Saturday night, the first time that the two had met in person. Only two days before a Berlin law had been overturned allowing Muslim school teachers to wear headscarves – and Ms. Ludin has been a social activist advocating for the right for the last decade and a half.
The politics around this of course are highly charged and there have been xenophobic right-wing marches against Muslims and others in their defense in the streets in Berlin in recent months. Meeting Ms. Ludin in person and seeing her reaction to Gaia’s portrait of her gave such a powerful additional dimension to the entire experience of “Persons of Interest” that we never could have predicted when we first conceived of it. Gaia said it was a “life affirming moment”.
Probably what is most gratifying is when you see someone’s eyes light up with recognition at seeing one of their icons brought to life. One woman told us that she couldn’t believe that El Sol 25 knew Hannah Höch so well. Was it that she couldn’t imagine a former graff writer honoring the central female figure of Berlin’s Dada movement? We were shocked when a UN board director told us Marlene Dietrich had grown up in the same neighborhood where this new DAIN portrait of her was going up – we even met someone who went to her funeral here in ’92!
In the final analysis once again we witnessed the creative spirit alive and well in the street and in the gallery. Unlike early graffiti writers, these artists come from different backgrounds and disciplines – yet all intersected with art in the public sphere in New York; graffiti writers, muralists, painters, wheat-pasters, paper cutters… In Berlin you would have thought that they all had been working together for years, the collaborative spirit was so high – and luckily for us, Berlin welcomed them all.
A great many things underway here in Berlin for the debut of “Persons of Interest”, a show of 12 artists who have worked on the streets of Brooklyn bringing their A Game to Berlin. This group of talented people have transformed the Urban Nation Pop-Up gallery with an astounding array of styles, skillz, techniques, and a lot of imagination. We couldn’t be happier with the results. The camaraderie is strong and the creative display directly on the gallery walls is iron-clad.
If you are in Berlin anytime Saturday come see the windows being installed in the UN Haus and at 7 pm come to the reception. Both events are curated by Steven P. Harrington and Jaime Rojo co-founders of BrooklynStreetArt.com and we will be very happy to meet you.
Here is a preview of the Pop-Up Exhibition…more to come
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.
New York’s adopted Street Art brothers Icy & Sot have been spreading their wings in Brooklyn for a couple of years since we first interviewed them upon their arrival in the US from Iran. In that time they have continued to develop their personal style and voice, which is probably strongest when they use their work to address social issues and express opinion. To say that their New York experience has been a roller coaster of good and bad fortune for these two is an understatement, including having a solo show in Manhattan, being part of a supportive art community formed by ex-pats and street artists, and a horrifying shooting in their home that left three friends dead and Sot injured.
The intensity of the experience was fed by a media frenzy, and for a few months the brothers were in a surreal state of mind. The music and art community rallied to support them and they continued working and focused on more positive endeavors, like curating a cross cultural dual show between Brooklyn and Tehran in galleries in both cities this summer.
Now for the first time the brothers were free to travel this fall and they wasted no time hopping a plane to Norway for the Nuart Festival in September and continued their trip through Switzerland, France, and Germany to paint and meet friends and (gasp) collectors. Yes, these 20-somethings who work very closely together to conceive of and produce their work have garnered a growing following of fans in a relatively short period of time. While Icy and Sot have no plans to return to Iran in the near future, the brothers were excited to see Europe for the first time and to experience the sometimes pronounced differences in acceptance of street art and graffiti in various cities they visited.
“It was our first time traveling and painting around Europe and it was a great experience,” says Sot of their various venues which included in-town interventions and a more intricate and contextual piece high in the mountains of Switzerland. They did some normal tourist stuff of course and Icy says, “From painting in a different environments and cultures to meeting artists, people and friends, we just loved it.” Aside from the many free-wheeling installations, including painting, stencil work, and bus shelter takeovers, they still are relishing the huge wall they did about homelessness in Stavanger, Norway they say. “We were so honored to be part of Nuart Festival,” says Sot, “which is our all time favorite festival.”
The outdoor gallery is the one we visit most and NYC is always front and center in our heart even as we branched out to about 100 other cities and towns last year. Outdoor Gallery – New York City is also the name of the brand new book by photographer and writer Yoav Litvin, who has spent the last couple of years shooting New York streets and meeting many of the artists who make the painting and wheat pasting that characterizes the class of 2014.
Outdoor Gallery – New York City by Yoav Litvin. Art by Chris Stain.
Published by Ginko Press, the large 235 page hardcover features nearly 50 street artists / graffiti artists whose work you see here regularly (with the exception of two or three) along with comments and observations from the artists about their practice, their experiences, and the current Street Art scene primarily in Brooklyn and Manhattan.
When Yoav told us of his hope to publish a book last year we offered whatever advice we could – but primarily we advised him to stick to his vision and not to let anyone discourage him. A true fan of the scene, he has worked tirelessly to do just that and now he can share with you a personal survey and record of many of the artists who are getting up today in New York.
Outdoor Gallery. New York City by Yoav Litvin. Art by Joe Iurato.
“Outdoor Gallery – New York City grew organically to embody my process of exploration and discovery on the streets of New York City. It is a creation that was born out of love for New York City streets and their people, and focuses on artists as leaders with a unique and necessary role in a society that aspires for freedom and change,” says Litvin in his introduction, and throughout the book you can sense the respect he has for the art and the dedication he has put into this project.
Careful to let the artists speak for themselves, he presents their work without commentary and with ample space given for expression. Using primarily his own photos, it is carefully edited and presented as an uncluttered and measured overview of each artists work.
Outdoor Gallery – New York City by Yoav Litvin. Art by Jilly Ballistic.
For us it is a proud moment to see someone’s dream realized after so much effort and dogged determination – especially in a scene whose challenges we are well familiar with. No one knows how hard it is to make something happen unless they do it themselves. So congratulations to Yoav for sticking to his vision and having the fortitude to finish this and thanks to him on the behalf of the artists whom he is helping to receive recognition for their work as well.
To that end, you are invited to the big launch party this Saturday at 17 Frost in Williamsburg. We’ll be there and we hope you can make it out for a great New York Street Art family reunion. You can’t miss the entrance, it’s been newly smashed by El Sol 25, Bishop 203, Royce and some other people we can’t remember right now but who will remind us as soon as this goes up ; ) .
Outdoor Gallery – New York City by Yoav Litvin. Art by Gilf!
You can find out more about it on the Facebook Event Page, but we understand there will be a newly debuted video from Dega Films, a special tribute to Army of One, and a full show of new works from many of the artists in the book, including;
Adam Dare, Alice Mizrachi, Army of One / JC2, Astrodub, ASVP, Billy Mode, Bisho203, Bunny M, Cern, Chris RWK, Chris Stain, Cope2, Dain, Dirty Bandits, El Sol 25, Elle Deadsex, Enzo and Nio, Free5, Fumero, Gaia, Gilf!, Hellbent, Icy and Sot, Indie 184, Jilly Ballistic, Joe Iurato, Kram, Lillian Lorraine, LNY (Lunar New Year), Miyok, ND’A, OCMC, OverUnder, Phetus88, QRST, Russell King, Shin Shin, Shiro, Sofia Maldonaldo, The Yok, Toofly, and Veng RWK.
Outdoor Gallery – New York City by Yoav Litvin. Art by Icy & Sot.
Outdoor Gallery – New York City by Yoav Litvin. Art by Hellbent.
Outdoor Gallery – New York City by Yoav Litvin. Art by QRST.
Outdoor Gallery – New York City by Yoav Litvin. Front and back cover art by Bishop203, LNY, Alice Mizrachi, QRST, Gilf!, Cern and Icy & Sot.
Below is a look at behind-the-scenes of the making of the mural for the cover of the book.
With studio apartments in Manhattan now hitting nearly 3K a month the closest thing most Milennials will ever get to a house party in Gotham will be snagging a VCR tape of the Kid ‘n Play danceoff movie at their parents stoop sale. Last week during the “polar vortex” cold freeze some lucky invitees did get access to a secret house party in a dilapidated building on the Lower East Side for 2 hours however. There wasn’t much heat, no DJ, and your flask of Jack Daniels substituted as the bar, but if you made it in you scored a free condensed Street Artist show that is as rare as a New Jack Swing hit these days.
A little more than 40 (mostly) Street Artists brought the four floor former tenement building to life one last time before it will be destroyed – and they did it almost entirely in secret over the course of a week. Just how secret this event was is debatable considering the multitude of blog posts and photos of it that appeared in the days following but in the Internet age, news about stuff like this goes viral no matter what.
All tolled, the varied collection of participants was a cross-section; a blurry screenshot of Street Artists on the New York scene along with a few graff writers, taggers, sticker slappers, painters, illustrators, aerosol experts, installationists, art school students, and visitors to the big city who happened to be around at the right time. Also, a couple of pyros.
While this sort of artist takeover of an abandoned house or building is increasingly occurring in bankrupt cities and neighborhoods in America and Europe where no one wants to live except the creative types, you don’t find this unruly and freewheeling expression much in the increasingly scrubbed and mall-like playground for the rich in Manhattan.
Similarly, producers of large Street Art/Urban Art events in global cities can deliver murals that make you salivate and on a scale that dwarfs this “event” thanks to corporate underwriters and shills for sneakers/sodas/urban-themed tampons these days, but few can truthfully rival the unpolished impromptu spirit of a semi-secret House Party jam session. For one week during installations and on opening night it was like the ghost of New York’s downtown 1970s-80s Bohemia was coming back to the island in all it’s imperfectness to remind everyone of Manhattan’s former greatness as a petri dish for experimentation and discovery.
Considering the huge increase in sanctioned walls over the last two years in New York, this work looks surprisingly alive, and is just the sort of balm needed for the raw nerves of anarchists everywhere who have bemoaned the polished soul-deadening mural painting of late. Even if some of this looks sort of slap-dash and ragged in spots, and it does, it also gives off an air of being authentic and in-the-moment.
Notably, the ratio of penis, breast, and defacation-related themes was higher than your average art show but as you know, there is an audience for every artist, even the ones gravitating to bathroom humor as creative wellspring. Judging by the few hundred images floating around on Flickr and elsewhere, this pop-up was a hit for the people.
Given the growing number of artists communities that have blossomed outside of Manhattan, this could have been one of its last jams for Street Art. Yo! That’s my jam!
And now please step aside as we build another luxury condo.