Welcome to BSA Images of the Week! And how beautiful this city is, even when the heat is on. The amount of talent on our streets is so overwhelming, thank you New York.
Here’s our weekly interview with the street, this week featuring: Homesick, Mort Art, Optimo NYC, Savior El Mundo, Neckface, Lungebox, DEK2DX, Hektad, Paolo Tolentino, Jappy Agoncillo, SMURFO, Mike King, Mat Lakas, Lasak Art, Snith Node, Big808, Talia Lempert, Individual Activist.
Today our public/private debates about whether someone’s aerosol creation is vandalism or art are far more complex, more palpable than before. Thanks to the validation of graffiti and street art as a cultural force by fashion designers, toy manufacturers, home goods stores, clothing chains, commercial brands, film directors, art collectors, auction houses, artists, writers, professors, and respected education and art institutions, these practices of art-making on the street are enmeshed in the culture, fully a part of it.
One of these days a train car covered with graffiti will head to the yards for buffing… and reappear at an art fair, a Sotheby’s auction, or in the back yard of an avid collector. Our thoughts turn to the “Fun Gallery” refrigerator covered with graffiti tags in that is currently on display at the Phillips “Graffiti” show on Park Avenue right now.
And so we turn to our weekly interview with the street, this week featuring: Billye Merrill, BK Foxx, Crash, DrewOne, Elle, Eraquario, Eskae, Jenkins2D, Lamour Supreme, MAD, Manuel Alejandro, Osiris Rain, Praxis, REDS, Sipros, The Creator, The DRIF, and Twice.
Street art in the last five years has been lit on fire with politically themed illustrations, installations, slogans, opinions, and insights that implore passersby to take action and to be engaged in the direction that society is leading.
The once-consolidated TV-print media system has had many challengers in social media and websites, though those now too are being censored, demonetized, and throttled by the corporations and certain state actors who have infiltrated and hampered the free-flow of opinions and political discourse under various “honorable” guises.
Because major political machines and the corporate media don’t typically use the streets as a communication platform in US cities, aside from the occasional poster campaign for a candidate, the rather unfiltered collection of views and voices come through.
The inheritor of the historically revered “soapbox”, a physical and metaphorical location in a public square where people put forward their opinions, beliefs, philosophies, and ideologies in an impassioned voice, street art currently thrills, perplexes, informs, and annoys. It reaches the tech-savvy and the greater majority of our neighbors who are not on social media.
Given that these opinions could be easily buffed or blighted by any passerby yet are permitted to stay, there is an argument that art on the street is the present Vox Populi, a truer representation of the voice of the people.
In the city that knew him first, Donald Trump is given special scrutiny and particular invective for his actions, inactions, behaviors in the role he has occupied as president of the country since 2016. His official opponent in the race is a career politician, an historically right-wing version of a left-wing party, is somehow positioned as a better alternative for an electorate who is desperate for something, anything better than what they have.
By night’s end (or week end, or year end) we will know who is the winner of today’s election; Trump or Anti-Trump. No matter who prevails, street art will undoubtedly weigh in with its opinion.
Welcome to BSA Images of the Week. We’re midway through the month and every one is puzzled by this surge of new corona cases – although the New York mayor says the numbers are plateauing. The presidential race, if you can call it that, has many people worried about which bad direction we’re likely to go. But then the presidency itself has been a four year open sore. Regardless of who wins – you won’t be getting healthcare, or a jobs program, or an infrastructure program.
But crisis always pushes artists to dig deeper, and there are lively, funny, entertaining, strident, wacky people and signs wherever you walk.
Here is our weekly interview with the streets, this week including D7606, De Grupo, Eye Sticker, Flood, I Bella, Individual Activist, J131, Secret Photo Cabal, and Steel Fist Velvet Glove.
The winds of change are gathering force and weaving together – social, political, financial, environmental… and it is all being reflected in street art today. Ironically, because media in the US is addicted to money and misdirection and is completely disinterested in the poor and working class as a whole, thoughtful analysis that pops off city walls seems unadulterated, capable of giving you more truthful assessments of what is missing, what is out of whack, and who’s gotta take action. Your face here.
Here’s our weekly interview with the streets, this week featuring Adam Fu, AJ LaVilla, Antennae, Black Ligma, City Kitty, CRKSHNK, De Groupo, Hearts NY, Novy, Pork, Surface of Beauty, The Greator, Winston Tseng, X Rebellion NYC, and Zuli Miau.
As upbeat as celebrations like today’s LGBTQ Pride events are here in NYC, they are rooted in defiance of the suffocating unjust norms that entrapped people in this city and across the country for generations – newly emancipating broad groups of people over the last 50 years or so. As New York City led the way with the Stonewall riots for sexual minorities, it sends this message today to people across the globe that you will be free too, even if it doesn’t feel that way right now in your country.
But LGBTQ folks needed straight allies to get their rights over five decades. Today we have to speak up loud and proud for immigrants. If you need to punch, figuratively, don’t punch downward. These people have done nothing to hurt you and are bringing a the identical aspirations your parents, grandparents, great grandparents did. Don’t believe the hype of the traumatizer who blames the traumatized.
Punch UP at the folks who shifted all the jobs away, just lowered their own taxes to their lowest rate in your entire lifetime, who are shredding the social safety net, who are creating jobs that pay so little you still have to get food stamps, who are trying to convince poor people that poor people are their enemy. It’s an old old trick and it appears to still work marvelously.
Here’s our weekly interview with the streets, this week featuring Anthony Lister, Bordalo II, Charles Williams, City Kitty, Danny Minnick, Etnik, FKDL, Lapiz, LMNOPI, Individual Activist, Niko, Nick Walker, Olivia Laita, Revaf, Sofles, Soten, and Strayones.
“The soccer world cup has begun and I took the opportunity to paint a mural about Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin. It was painted during the FARBFLUT festival which took place last weekend where 200 artist painted a 1000 m wall. The mural itself measures 6 x 3.50 m.
The motive shows the Russian president Vladimir Putin kissing Vladimir Putin. The colours are those of the rainbow flag and it has the words ‘One Love’ written above it. The picture addresses Putin’s narcissism and even more the homophobic tendencies supported by the Russian government.”
Much art in the streets is often for aesthetics – whether figurative, representational, or abstract. With roots in graffiti and often influenced by advertising, political protest, and pop culture, you will always find text messages as well.
Whether small missives or massive billboards, direct or somewhat cryptic, many these days are in opposition to current political leaders or critiques of social, political, economic issues and systems. Others are just about love. Whether or not this collection is a true measure of the Vox Populi, it certainly can give you a meaningful survey of opinions on the streets.