Welcome to BSA Images of the Week! These are our longest days of the year. Savor them, luxuriate in them, celebrate the light. The trees, the grass, the plants, all richly green. The breezes are smooth against your cheek, the sound of kids screaming as they play in the park is like music.
The ebb and flow of humanity washes across the pavement daily here in our gritty city – forlorn, inquisitive, raucous, opinionated, gentle, buoyant, clever, blunt, wonderous, rarely neutral. Our murals are mighty, our styles can be wild, illustrative, fantastic, inertly corporate, romantically impressionist, electric and eclectic. Unlike many downtowns, this collection is organic and unmediated – perfectly imperfect. As inhospitable as this city can feel to a newcomer, remember this; You are welcome. Do your thing.
Here’s our weekly interview with the street, this week featuring: Faile, Joe Iurato, Queen Andrea, Dasic Fernandez, Optimo NYC, CES, Hef, Spot, KMS Crew, Ange, Bekah Bad, Logan Hicks, Hiraku, Agud, Lexi bella, and Jeff Hernandez.
Not the first place you think of for a mural festival: Salina, Kansas. But there are new mural festivals in downtowns across the globe right now, and their longevity, among other barometers for success, varies greatly. In addition to having a distinct point of view, we have observed that towns and cities that are beginning public art projects must have a serious budget and an excellent sense of organization. “Boom!” appears to have both.
The pacing has been good too – with the Australian Guido van Helten starting the momentum by painting a sweet scene in 2021 of local children here on the ‘canvas’ that has become a signature for him, a cluster of grain elevator silos. His realistic renderings, fully contextual, are romantic without becoming sentimental and outpace many with his painterly can-control and technical ability. Somehow the Brisbane native may have lit this fuse.
Following that Salina Kanvas project (there are a few initiatives on the boards) comes the first organized festival with a solid mix of talents from the international scene crossing murals, street art, and graffiti roots – not easy to accomplish with such a short roster. Like van Helten, the talent is self-assured, and some of it goes deep in self-knowledge and in the culture that fuels today’s scene. Thanks to private donations, corporate sponsors, and the Chamber of Commerce, initiatives like this community-building public art project are well-backed.
Add to this mix the world-renowned photographer Martha Cooper, who captured the scene that birthed this one about 45 years ago in neighborhoods where it started, and balance it with the high-flying image of Kansas’ most famous pilot Amelia Earhart, who pioneered aviation and capitalized well off her self-made brand. This year’s curation may well have put Salina on the mural-fest map in one fell swoop.
Martha shares some of her shots with us today – with a few from the organizers as well.
Ms. Cooper tells us that “I would have liked to have time to shoot more freights,” a historical method for transporting unsanctioned art and writing across the country on the sides of freight trains that is peculiar to American history as it braids with archetypes of rebels, hobos and cowboy mythology. “The train tracks run through Salina,” Cooper remarks with some relish, and she notes smaller details that a documentary photographer would catch. “The main street had lovely plantings of prairie grasses evoking what we outsiders think of as typically Kansas.”
Here is a sampling of the works and artists from this inaugural “Boom!”. We hear the second one will make some noise as well.
Boom! Salina is an annual mural festival in downtown Salina, KS. Boom! Salina is backed by the Salina Kanvas Project.
Welcome to BSA Images of the Week. Happy Snow Weekend!
We’re digging out from a ‘Nor’easter’ today in New York, a swirling blizzard of snow and strong winds that created such astonishing contrasts of bare ground and high-pointed drifts that kids and adults were playing together on these ledges, falling to the ground laughing.
It brings to mind the masses of Americans whose prospects and futures have been completely blown away, leaving nothing but bare soil – while bankers and corporate criminals have drifted all the wealth upwards to new stylish heights during the economic storm of the last 40 years. Feel like you are walking through two feet of snow and can never get ahead? Some would like you to think that it’s because of uncontrollable forces like the weather.
Meanwhile, it’s the calm after the storm now and we’re heading out to play in the snow this morning before it all gets dirty. It’s nice to see New York like a clean slate, full of possibility and promise. Let’s go for a walk!
And here’s our weekly interview with the streets in NYC, Miami, and Berlin; featuring ATOMS. Billy Barnacles, Boxer, Case Maclaim, Cupid, Dark Clouds, Jamie Hef, Joe Iurato, Kaynor, Klass, Modus. Smells, Ten! Tom Bob, Tony, and Wane.
Welcome to BSA Images of the Week – this week from Wynwood Walls in Miami, which each year Goldman Global Arts invites a slate of artists to artistically collaborate by providing them with the opportunity to paint on the walls of the compound. The artists created new pieces in the weeks leading up to Miami Art Basel and debuted them this week. Many of the artists were in attendance during the events and attended the celebration dinner given by the Goldman family as well. Martha Cooper and Nika Kramer were invited to provide the documentation of the process and the completed works.
So here’s our weekly interview with the street, this week featuring Add Fuel, Aiko, Bordalo II, David Flores, Ernesto Maranje, Farid Rueda, Greg Mike, Hiero Veiga, Joe Iurato, Kai, Kayla Mahaffey, Mantra, Quake, and Scott Froschauer.
The Pandemic is still raging. Sorry. But New York is OK.
Meanwhile, artists are still getting up and we must continue living even if we have to take extra precautions and listen to the science and to those who care.
This year’s Welling Court festival in Queens took place under the same health measures as last year. There wasn’t a big block party. The artists painted at their own pace and time sometimes only one alone at the compound – sometimes two at a time.
For the moment, the big gatherings and week-long shenanigans are gone due to Covid. Here are some selections of this year’s proposals and some from previous years that we missed either due to weather, traveling, or simply because those darn cars are always parked in front of the murals.
“I guess this is what happens when you can’t leave your home for a year,” says Joe Iurato. Undoubtedly that is why its called “Cabin Fever”
With some irony, the new collection of editions on paper, photography, original paintings on canvas, and wood assemblages didn’t happen while he was on lockdown with his family. Still, it came flying out of him this spring after the long year of cabin fever lifted.
The new show is crisp and clean, tightly gathered, thoughtfully narrated, more mature than ever – in his vernacular of childhood as told through his street art stencillist hand. “This body of work is my crossroads and a quick rundown of each path to explore what lies ahead. It’s an unfiltered, visceral reaction to a life event that I’ll never be able to explain fully.”
Joe Iurato: Cabin Fever
Taglialatella Galleries, 229 10th Avenue, NYC June 17 – July 12, 2021
Welcome to BSA Images of the Week. Shana Tova to our Jewish brothers and sisters, even as we mourn the Friday passing of one of Brooklyn’s own, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. She was born here on East 9th Street in Midwood to Russian immigrant parents in 1933 and the governor says we’ll have a statue honoring her here too.
Compared to all these news, the scene with Street Art appears tame. But from Red Hook to Soho to LES to Bushwick to Ridgewood, it is definitely not lame.
Here’s our weekly interview with the streets, this week featuring BK Foxx, Chris Tuorto, City Kitty, CRKSHNK, De Grupo, Downtown DaVinci, Freakotrophic, Half, Joe Iurato, Kesta, Logan Hicks, Mish, Ouch, Praxis VGZ, Sac Six, Sean Lugo 9, Stikman, and You Go Girl!
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.