Icy cold coquitos, sidewalk barbecues, walking for hours in Central Park, music booming from party boats on the East River, a birthday party with 30 on the roof. Who can resist New York in the summer? Yes everyone is warning about an economic crash that is coming and you’re still in debt even though you have three roommates and Trump is just making us all feel like we live in a big chaotic racist world.
But for this sunny summer afternoon, let’s just prove him wrong and get some beers and sit on the stoop saying hi to all our neighbors who walk by – asian, black, latino, Middle Eastern, Jewish, white, sihk, Polish, Nigerian, Mexican, muslim, Italian, Swedish. It don’t matter, bro. We’re all New Yorkers and we like it like that.
Here’s our weekly interview with the street, this time featuring Broken Heartist, Budha Delight, City Kitty, Early Riser, Emma Gonzalez, Joe Iurato, Logan Hicks, Lunge Box, Mowcka, Ouch, Sara Lynne Leo, Skewville, and The Postman Art.
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
Tomokazu Matsuyama and Deih killed it this year in Wynwood, no doubt and curator Alan Ket slayed with the solo show by Vhils at the primary gallery on the compound. Art Basel brings the crowds to Miami traditionally but there is no doubt that the magnet of Wynwood’s kid-friendly murals and Street Art as selfie backgrounds wins the day. Everywhere you look you see the families, influencers-in-training, tour guides and gobsmacked gaggles of teens creating pedestrian traffic jams inside Wynwood Walls. These artists and this art may have risen from an outsider marginalised and criminalised culture of illegal vandalism but these crowds are simply enjoying the art and each other.
That foot traffic inside replicates the car and heavy truck traffic jams throughout the neighborhood as new multi-story construction continues apace and the gentrification cycle rapidly courses through the real estate / street culture corpus. Right now this romance between development and art-in-the-streets is still in the heavy petting stage, and there is a lot of star gazing. How long can this tryst continue, you ask? It’s impossible to say what benchmark to measure, but watch for the moment when the sales of mezcal slushies and Moscow Mules are eclipsed by Acai bowls and kale smoothies.
So here’s our first weekly interview with the street, this time directly from Miami, featuring AShop Crew, Audrey Kawasaki, Bordallo II, Deih, Joe Iurato, JonOne, Martin Watson, Tavar Zawacki, Tomokazu Matsuyama, and Vhils.
Aside from signing the Outer Space Treaty that was ratified by 107 nations in which member states promise to not militarize the celestial heavens, US Vice President Pence tried to pull a fast one last week by announcing an idea for a US Space Force, the 6th branch of US Armed Forces.
Evidently being in 7 wars right now on Earth isn’t enough for the masters of war. There is surely more money to be made by further bloating a global weapons industry that focuses primarily on destruction rather than construction.
What is Mike Pence needing defense from exactly? Gays? Gay aliens? Intelligent assertive women? African-American or immigrants struggling to make ends meet, living day-to-day from paycheck to paycheck? We decided to take the whole ridiculous announcement with humor and found ourselves pawing through the archives for Street Art images of astronauts. We found many!
As we contemplate war in space, we turn to our collective fascination with astronauts and cosmonauts and nauts of many kinds. Since the dawn of this popular spaceman fixation there has been this guy or gal floating around weightless in our collective imaginations, bouncing along at the end of his tether, or untethered altogether.
Here’s our weekly interview with the streets, this week featuring Boy Kong, Cane Morto, Dmote, El Sol 25, Hower, Invader, Joe Iurato, Logan Hicks, Pixel Pancho, Resistance is Female, Rime, Sean9Lugo, Smells, UFO 907, Vhils, Vik, Voxx Romana, XSM, and Zimad.
“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.
Got anything lined up for Valentines Day? No pressure bro. Just be yourself sis! All that baloney about wine and dine and flowers – oh HELL NO! We’re all on a budget up in here! In fact we did some research for you and here’s 8 Cheap Valentine’s Day Dates in NYC thanks to writer Melanie Gardiner.
And for the rest of you non-attached and gorgeous BSA Readers may we recommend the delightful new cinematic pleasure from Urban Spree and the Berlin Kidz called “F**k the System” now available for the price of a movie house soda on Vimeo. Each time you think they won’t do it, they totally do it. Including riding bikes on top of the train. That part is NOT recommended.
In other news, the people in Washington are playing with fire and it looks like a large percent of them probably want to burn the whole government down. A second shutdown in one month? We have pyromaniacs bent on destroying basic stuff that the people built and need. Now that the taxes for the rich have been lowered so that social programs will go on a feeding tube, how many minutes will it take before they say, “we simply can’t afford to pay for Medicare and Social Security’? Tick Tick Tick.
Here’s our weekly interview with the streets, this week featuring Avocado, Baston, City Kitty, Dede, Duke A. Barnstable, Irak, James Goldcrown, Joe Iurato, Little Ricky, Nora Breen Project, Pear, Smiler, Tez, The Joe Miller, Token 3784.
Summer brings people out onto the streets. New Yorkers especially love to congregate on corners, stoops, public parks and plazas, sidewalks and on the streets to soak in the sun and the excitement of summer after its long winter season. With that in mind we want to point you to what’s new on the streets of the city when it comes to Street Art and Graffiti, scenes that are constantly reinventing themselves and moving.
Here are five destinations with fresh new murals and Street Art painted this year that you can track down and enjoy on your own in an afternoon. Take a break by sitting on a stoop or a bench and enjoy the sounds and energy of each neighborhood and have a hot dog or a slice of watermelon, a slice of pizza – maybe an Italian ice!
This 6 year old project spearheaded by Bushwick native Joe Ficalora continues to host international artists on walls spread on five blocks in this gentrifying neighborhood of Brooklyn. With more than a dozen freshly painted murals that were completed for this months annual block party, the cheek-to-jowl collection of murals feels like a treasure hunt of global styles all here to show off their best. While we still have the L train you can take it Jefferson et voilà!
In its third year, Coney Art Walls is an initiative of Thor Equities and in a curatorial collaboration with art maven Jeffrey Deitch….This year’s edition of Coney Art Walls brings ten freshly painted murals by American and international artists to add to the collection of 30 or so murals painted during the past two editions. Here you will see an eclectic mix of 1970s era train writers to some of today’s multi-conceptualists take on the broader theme of Coney Island, its characters, its rides, its foot long hot dogs. A plethora of trains will take you there and be prepared to enjoy native graffiti in the “wild”on walls throughout the roughly 45 minutes train ride as your view rises on the elevated tracks. Take the N, Q, F, and D trains to Coney Island.
The most community oriented among all of the festivals taking place in NYC, Welling Court just completed its 8th edition this month a part of Queens that feels ignored, yet now strangely is getting some high-end real estate? With a less-structured program and a philosophy of inclusiveness the project attracts a diverse group of local, national and international artists seeking to participate and interact with these neighbors, some of them New Yorks’ newest members, in a weekend-long genuine summer block party. Located in Welling Court in Long Island City in the borough of Queens the walls spread over five blocks or so and can be accessed via the N train to 30th Ave. Take a bus to Welling Court or walk for about 15 minutes on 30th Ave towards the East River.
The L.I.S.A. Project NYC in Little Italy and The Lower East Side.
This Mural Program is the brainchild of Wayne Rada and Ray Rosa, who host artists from all over the world to come and beautify the old neighborhoods of Little Italy and parts of the Lower East Side both in Manhattan. Because its Manhattan and space and turf are contested, you’ll find the works scattered and surprisingly integrated into spots – evoking the element of “discovery” that organic Street Art and graffiti produces.
Not necessarily located on a specific set of blocks the murals are more spread out on several streets in and around Little Italy and can be reached taking a number of subways lines. We’ll advise you take the B or the D trains to Grand Street Station and make your way to Mulberry Street where you’ll enjoy large murals by Ron English and Tristan Eaton and a number of smaller pieces. As you wander, walk, stroll, or crawl through Little Italy you’re bound to discover big and small pieces that run a spectrum of Shepard Fairey, JPO, BKFoxx, KanoKid, The Drif, and Buff Monster.
Monument Art really concentrates on large high quality murals for El Barrio in NYC. Beginning in 2015 a dozen international artists were invited to paint for two weeks including massive murals by ROA, El Mac, Celso, Ever Siempre, Faith 47 and others others. This year German artist Case Maclaim was invited to paint one highly realistic mural on a school wall located at 310 East 113th Street. Take the 6 train to 110 Street and walk north on Lexington ave towards 113th street.
As you make your way north you’ll see some of the murals painted in 2015.
“Yes, I’m an infowarrior,” says the African American yelling about how CNN is promoting Sharia Law in downtown Manhattan for the #MarchAgainstSharia and a short distance away someone is wrapping the “Fearless Girl” statue with a black burka. The infowarrior is wearing a red “Make America Free” baseball hat and very much seems like he might be gay. And then your head explodes.
Otherwise the weather has been gorgeous and Street Artists have been getting up in New York, when they are not too busy fighting about the David Choe wall and calculating new ways to spray over it. We have brand new mural works from people like Dasic, Cekis, and Case Maclaim, and there is a lot more political content in the new free-range Street Art that we are seeing, with much of it focused on the corruption at the top of the national government, racism, environmental matters, the growing police state.
So here’s our weekly interview with the streets, this week featuring Adam Fujita, Beast, Blanco, Brandon Garrison, Cekis, Dasic, Dirty Bandits, El Sol 25, FKDL, Jetsonorama, Jerk Face, Joe Iurato, Logan Hicks, Mataruda, Mr. Toll, Myth NYC, Opiemme, S0th1s, and She Wolf.
Art Basel in Miami is part of an annual three city fair that includes Hong Kong and it’s name sake Basel in Switzerland. This years fair in Miami hosts 269 galleries and your brain will be fried after the first 150, in an excellent way.
An art fair is not really a rarefied environment but many patrons walk with that air, presumably because they find it to be a flattering look, but most people are just excited to discover new ideas and techniques for channeling the creative spirit in a multitude of ways.
Far from the action of the actual graffiti and Street Art scene in long rows of white wall cubicles that average the price of a new car to rent for four days, SCOPE nonetheless has a healthy number of Street Artists represented with studio pieces that rock as hard as any killer piece under a bridge.
Inside this environment we’re probably calling the category Urban Contemporary and it’s always interesting to see how the street practice translates to a frame on a wall – and who can do it successfully. Maybe it shouldn’t, but it’s always surprising to see how many other derivative, hackneyed, or underwhelming works are proudly on display – by artists whose main connection to actual street culture is tenuous at best.
But imitators and replicators have existed in every genre of the plastic arts for as long as anyone reading this has been alive, so it shouldn’t be a shock when you have seen 5 Banksy-esque canvasses even before you stop at the commissary for your $14 pressed vegetable panini.
For the actual fans and collectors of actual graffiti and Street Artists, it may be irksome to see the common tropes of colorful paint drips and ironic pop images mutated and slapped with cleverness – especially in view of the fact that there is a fleet of new kids outside in our cities and streets today whose work is regularly amazing.
Since many of the current generation of Street Artists have had a little or a lot of formal training as artists, the quality of work in the good spots is very high and we were happy to find many excellent pieces throughout the fair by folks whose name you may recognize. Here is a sampling of pieces we found during an audit of this year’s SCOPE just so you have an idea of the offerings.
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.