All posts tagged: Jean Seestadt

(VIDEO) 2012 Street Art Images of the Year from BSA

Of the 10,000 images he snapped of Street Art this year, photographer Jaime Rojo gives us 110 that represent some of the most compelling, interesting, perplexing, thrilling in 2012.

Slideshow cover image of Vinz on the streets of Brooklyn (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Together the collection gives you an idea of the range of mediums, techniques, styles, and sentiments that appear on the street today as the scene continues to evolve worldwide. Every seven days on BrooklynStreetArt.com, we present “Images Of The Week”, our weekly interview with the street.

We hope you enjoy this collection – some of our best Images of The Year from 2012.

Artists include 2501, 4Burners, 907, Above, Aiko, AM7, Anarkia, Anthony Lister, Anthony Sneed, Bare, Barry McGee, Bast, Billi Kid, Cake, Cash For Your Warhol, Con, Curtis, D*Face, Dabs & Myla, Daek One, DAL East, Dan Witz, Dark Clouds, Dasic, David Ellis, David Pappaceno, Dceve, Deth Kult, ECB, Eine, El Sol 25, Elle, Entes y Pesimo, Enzo & Nio, Esma, Ever, Faile, Faith47, Fila, FKDL, Gable, Gaia, Gilf!, Graffiti Iconz, Hef, HellbentHert, Hot Tea, How & Nosm, Icy & Sot, Interesni Kazki, Jason Woodside, Javs, Jaye Moon, Jaz, Jean Seestadt, Jetsonorama, Jim Avignon, Joe Iurato, JR, Judith Supine, Ka, Kem5, Know Hope, Kuma, Labrona, Liqen, LNY, Love Me, Lush, Matt Siren, Mike Giant, Miyok, MOMO, Mr. Sauce, Mr. Toll, ND’A, Nick Walker, Nosego, Nychos, Occupy Wall Street, Okuda, OLEK, OverUnder, Phlegm, Pixel Pancho, Rambo, Read Books!, Reka, Retna, Reyes, Rime, Risk, ROA, Robots Will Kill, Rone, Sacer, Saner, See One, Sego, sevens errline, Sheyro, Skewville, Sonni, Stick, Stikman, Stormie Mills, Square, Swoon, Tati, The Yok, Toper, TVEE, UFO, VHILS, Willow, Wing, XAM, Yes One, and Zed1 .

Images © Jaime Rojo and Brooklyn Street Art 2012

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Street Art, Bomb Scares, and Times of Anxiety

Last Friday morning all was going normally on the streets of Williamsburg, Brooklyn as the  cool, crisp breeze of a sunny May day made New York as it often is: Glorious. Up and down the sidewalk smartly dressed professionals hurriedly carried coffees and pushed baby carriages as meandering tourists stared quizzically at clean cut NYU students in their search for the fabled hipster scene that their travel guides had told them would be here.

Suddenly police activity seemed to hasten on the streets and police patrol cars were rushing to sidewalks and scattering flustered pedestrians. Within a matter of minutes Bedford Avenue was cordoned off with “CRIME SCENE” yellow tape from North 4th to North 7th streets and officers in various uniforms descended upon the neighborhood with fire trucks wailing and helicopters thundering.

Quickly word spread that there was a bomb scare. Possibly in a tree.

photo © Jaime Rojo

“Scare” is a relative word for New Yorkers, as police gently prodded curious rubberneckers to stand back and swept sleepy cafes clear of reticent morning journal doodlers. An impressive armamentarium of tools and gadgets were pulled from trucks and trunks and assembled in a somewhat semi-circular arrangement near a shady tree that bended gently back and forth with the breeze.

These officers’ firm and calm demeanor gave a sunny day a relaxed atmosphere, but the tension was still thick – a potential bomb was in the midst and protection was top priority. The offending piece in question hung from a thin metal arm duct-taped to the tree’s limb; the container was a simple deli grocery bag with the ubiquitous pledge of fealty to the city, “I Love NY” screen-printed on the front. The little bag swung gently as wires poked out from it’s handled top.

photo © Jaime Rojo

photo © Jaime Rojo

To photographers who document Street Art every day in this city, continuously scanning the urban environment for any manner of creative expression, this object might have caught an eye and been captured with a camera. But frankly, the competition for attention is fierce.

Williamsburg nearly birthed the Street Art scene here in the early 00s when artists called it home and every discipline of fine art transmuted itself into installation. A new sort of direct engagement with the public sphere took root and it continues to grow in cities around the world. No longer simply stencils, wheat-pasted paper or stickers on a news kiosk, in Brooklyn you are now likely to see more three dimensional pieces like a DarkClouds board bolted to a sign post, a steel REVS sculpture welded to a fence, a tiny match-stick Stikman embedded in the pavement, or a pink and purple camouflaged crocheted piece by OLEK covering an entire bicycle.  For years local artist Leviticus has been reassembling discarded furniture, musical instruments and found objects and placing them on these sidewalks on Bedford Avenue to the indifference of the rivers of people walking by.

And let’s not forget so-called “conceptual” work, ever able to confound.

photo © Jaime Rojo

In the case of this piece, this non-bomb in a tree, the materials were very familiar to the public: A vellum plastic box, an “I Love New York” shopping plastic bag, duct tape, some wires. The materials? Non-threatening. Their arrangement and location: potentially threatening.

According to news reports, the artist Takeshi Miyakawa was arrested long after the scare was called off as he was discovered installing a second piece not far up the street. It appears he had planned an illuminated string of bags to pay a tribute of some sort to the city.

photo © Jaime Rojo

According to the New York Times and The Huffington Post, Mr. Miyakawa, 50 years old, was arrested and charged with two counts of first-degree reckless endangerment, two counts of placing a false bomb or hazardous substance in the first degree, two counts of placing a false bomb or hazardous substance in the second degree, two counts of second-degree reckless endangerment and two counts of second-degree criminal nuisance. He was also placed under psychological evaluation.

Few will rightly question the actions of the bomb squad to prevent a catastrophic event from taking place, and most would openly express thanks for their work that can put them at great risk. But art like this, and any sanctioned public art that goes through a more vetted process, does raise questions about its intersection with the law and ethics. In a time when almost anything is considered as possible art, it also could be considered a possible bomb.

Should an artist be held accountable for every possible interpretation of the work, despite its original intention?  Can other evidence be considered before assigning guilt? Does an artist, particularly those who install work without permission, bear responsibility to consider it’s effect on public safety? During a time in our history that is permeated with vacillating levels of fear and anxiety, should we attempt to agree on some guidelines?

Online images of Miyakawa’s studio and coworkers and their methodical design plans for this installation make you think he’s probably not a criminal, just a kooky artist with a questionable judgement. Welcome to New York; that sort of thing is the norm where academic and creative investigation often pushes into unusual territory we haven’t been in before. It even appears his intentions were to cheer the public – an expression of love for his city.  But one does wonder what affect a renewed surveillance of trees and signposts and street furniture might bring to a Street Art scene that doesn’t look like it has tired of exploring itself.

Takeshi Miyakawa “I Love New York” This is how the installation was left after it was dismantled by the police. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Below are some examples of work on the street that are more than your run-of-the-can aerosol art.

In later winter this year artist Jean Seestadt created a series of installations in bus shelters and subway cars entitled “If You See Somethin;”. Her idea was to highlight the issue of objects that we encounter on our daily routine and as we use the public transportation system. Jean Seestadt. “If You See Somethin'” (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Jean Seestadt. “If You See Somethin'” (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Click here to read our full interview with Ms. Seestadt and to see more images of her installation.

An unknown artist installed a series of metal and glass “eye” sculptures in Williamsburg in 2007 and 2008. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Here is a pair of BZBD shoes with LED lights in the soles for an installation a couple of weeks ago in Brooklyn. (photo © BZBD)

A shack installation in Brooklyn by an unknown artist. Or maybe it was a fort? (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Street Artist XAM creates and places bird feeders and dwellings all over the city. Some are fitted with solar panels and an LED light. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Read our interview with XAM here.

RAE commonly uses discarded household items and vintage appliances to create his sculptures before bolting them to streets signs. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

OLEK has become well known for crocheting entire coverings for bicycles, strollers, sculpture, and even the Wall Street Bull. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

 

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A Mushroom Cloud in Manhattan: If You See Somethin’ …

Artist Jean Seestadt Plants a Package in a Bus Stop

Since the never-ending “War on Terror” commenced so publicly a decade or so ago, an intermittently insistent campaign exhorting the public to be aware of odd things and behaviors has beat a steady message of fearful dread in New York.  Posters on buses, brochures in city offices, and disembodied, firmly voiced recordings on trains and in airports remind us that evil walks secretly amongst us and we should be ever-vigilant and tell the nearest police officer if you see something suspicious.

Aside from the obvious challenge of staying alert on the morning subway ride when you haven’t gotten a coffee yet and you stayed up until 2 am playing “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3”, the plain fact is that most New Yorkers have no idea what strange looks like. We lost that ability sometime after hippies and freaks turned into punks and goths, pants dropped below butts, zombies had parades, “no pants day”, men started making out with each other on the park benches, and of course Donald Trumps hair. For something to catch our eye these days it would have to have to be levitating or in some way involve chocolate.  Otherwise, we’ll keep walking and texting.

Jean Seestadt (photo © Jaime Rojo)

The billowing cloud rising in Manhattan this time is from artist Jean Seestadt, whose cut paper installation in the bus stop entitled “If you See Somethin” evokes one prevailing vision of the unmarked package spilling forth it’s curvilinear bilious hot plume into a public place with a stylized hand. On a warmish evening last week it went up on this buzzing island metropolis without anyone saying something.

 

Jean Seestadt (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Following a similar installation in the subway a few weeks ago, Seedstadt brought her new installation to a well lit bus shelter on the street. Aided by a stool, a roll of tape, some scissors, and her good friend Nick, Jean rolled up her sleeves and installed her new work while some people stood by looking, pawing through their mobile devices, or leaning forward to preen down the street for a bus. Cacophonic truck and car traffic, including periodic police cruisers, rattled by in the night while the two enterprising Street/Public Artists took turns teetering on the stool to get it to hang just so. If anyone paid attention at all, no one said something to the artist or her assistant. You see??

Jean Seestadt (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Brooklyn Street Art: You have done painting and ink work previously. What do you think of cutting paper?
Jean Seestadt: Cutting paper has all the things I like about painting and works on paper, I love the tedious beauty to it, but I was having a really hard time feeling that I could reach a viewer to the fullest when I am forced in a square 2D format.  Also, the process of letting go of the overly crafted piece and knowing it is eventually going to turn to litter is a real release.

Brooklyn Street Art: Would you say these are sculptures?
Jean Seestadt: They are very sculptural… I guess I think of them more as site-specific installations.  They have no meaning when they are in a static setting.

Jean Seestadt (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Brooklyn Street Art: What leads you to mount this work in such a public place?
Jean Seestadt: I was interested the fragile, traditional paper cutting medium being forced into a public context. Each piece will be eventually be broken down by either the viewers or by the environment. Because it is not in a precious space the viewer can approach the work however they’d like-if that means touching it, ripping it, taking it, or taking care of it.  The piece doesn’t really work without people feeling free to do whatever they want.

Jean Seestadt (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Brooklyn Street Art: Have you seen paper cut work by street artists?
Jean Seestadt: I’ve only heard of Swoon… it doesn’t seem like the ideal material for street art because it only last for a day if you are lucky.  But street art is all about the temporal nature of the city’s surroundings so I think it makes a lot of sense as a medium.

Brooklyn Street Art: What makes you explore the theme of “If you see something, say something”?
Jean Seestadt: I was interested in the daily reminder we all digest about terrorism and how it is a fragile ghost of this city.  It just floats about our transit system and I thought it was really sad and strange. People might think I am making light of terrorism but I am really not.

Jean Seestadt (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Jean Seestadt (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Jean Seestadt (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Jean Seestadt (photo © Jaime Rojo)

“If You See Somethin”, Jean Seestadt (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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