Where is the People’s Bailout? Why has the bailout that was promised to small businesses already run out? Why is congress on vacation? Why is Biden staring up at the wall like he’s concentrating on a dead spider? The people are dying, running out of food, the economy is dying, businesses are dying. The Post Office, starved and bad-mouthed for years by the capitalists who want to kill it, is finally dying. Do we realize which direction the US is being dragged by the oligarchs and their one party corporate Republicrat-Demoblicans?
In honor of the 50th
Anniversary of the Stonewall Inn uprising in the West Village in Manhattan, we
are giving the spotlight this Sunday to the many artworks that have been
created by dozens of artists from all over the world in the city over the past
weeks. Some of them are commissioned works and others are illegally placed on
the streets, regardless of who made them or under whose sponsorship they were
created or if they were placed illegally the important thing is to realize that
the struggle for recognition, acceptance, and justice didn’t just happen
because somebody was willing to give that to us.
It happened because a lot of people before us dared to challenged the establishment and fought to change the cultural norms, the laws in the books and ultimately the perception from the society at large. People suffered unspeakable evil and pain at the hands of unmoved gatekeepers and power brokers. People died rather than living a lie. People took to the streets to point fingers at those who stood silent when many others were dying and were deemed untouchable.
People marched to vociferate and yelled the truth and were arrested and marked undesirable. Many brothers and sisters who were much more courageous than we’ll ever be, defied a system that was designed to fail them and condemn them. Restless souls confronted our political, business, media and religious leaders right in their front yards with the truth and never backed down.
So we must pay homage to
them. We have what we have because of them. We owe it to them and we need to
understand that it was because of their vision, intelligence and fearless
actions that the majority began to understand that without them and their help
we would never get equal treatment. Equal rights. Equal opportunities.
So yes let’s celebrate,
dance and sing together but let’s feel the pain of those who can’t join in on
the celebrations because today still they are on the margins, hiding in the
shadows, being cast out from their families and communities and even killed and
tortured. Let’s remember that the job isn’t done, indeed far from it. Many
countries still have in their laws harsh punishment for those that don’t
conform to their established norms. Let’s keep the fight on, the light on, the
courage on, the voices loud and the minds open. Happy Pride.
Here’s our weekly interview with the street (or boardwalk), this time featuring Aloha, Buff Monster, David Puck, Divine, Fox Fisher, Homo Riot, IronClad, Jason Naylor, Joe Caslin, JPO, Meres One, Nomad Clan, Ori Carino, Royce Bannon, Sam Kirk, SAMO, SeeTf, and Tatyana Fazlalizadeh.
From Tatyana about this piece: “Some of Us Did Not Die. We’re Still Here. – June Jordan, Black, bi-sexual, activist, poet and writer. .
Last fall I met with members of @griotcircle, a community of LGBTQ+ Black and brown elders for my residency with @nycchr. I got to speak with them about their lives and some things that came up were the challenges of being Black and gay in New York years ago, like having to travel in groups because queer folks would be attacked for walking alone. Or not being served at restaurants because they were also black. “
Its an exciting time for art in the public sphere right now in NYC as Roger Gastman and his huge team are seriously preparing 100,000 sf of space in Williamsburg to completely blow away graffiti and Street Art fans alike this week with Beyond The Streets. Meanwhile the city is pumping full of at least 50 sanctioned and unsanctioned World Pride murals, Garrison Buxton pulled off the 9th Welling Court grassroots mural festival in Queens, Joe Ficalora brought Rick Ross and a host of Street Artists to Bushwick for a block party, MadC was in town hanging with Crash, Joe Caslin and Tatyana Fazlalizadeh were putting up new pieces with L.I.S.A. Project yesterday, Queen Andrea finished her commercial Houston Wall gig, and a lot of ad hoc illegal and legal graffiti and Street Art is in full effect in all five boroughs. When it comes to art in the streets, New York says ‘Bring it!’
yeliner, Jason Naylor, John Ahearn, JPO, MadC, MeresOne, Misshab, Outer Source, Queen Andrea, Ramiro Davaro-Comas, SacSix, Sonni, Tonk Hawaii and The Drif.
When a real graffiti head hits you in the heart, you know it’s going to burn brightly.
NYC writer Jonathan “Meres One” Cohen has been getting up on the streets for 3+ decades with his distinctive color-drenched style and “bright idea” icon and he has exhibited in venues as varied as Meeting of Styles, the Parish Art Museum, and the French Institute of Art.
This month he has contributed his talent, name and heart to protecting the rights of LGBTQ+ people to celebrate the 5oth Anniversary of the Stonewall Riots that sparked a civil rights movement that burns today. We were lucky enough to catch it and grab a fast shot last week – and very lucky to ask him about it in an email conversation here where he shares his personal take on the topic “Love is Love”.
BSA: Besides the straight forward message of the campaign, some people may not see the connection and will wonder what’s your relevance to the LGBT community. How would you address that? MERES ONE: I am always puzzled by the “relevance” question. I marched and did hundreds of signs for “Black Lives Matter” and my intent or connection was not questioned. The mural is about love, about acceptance, about respecting boundaries and others’ choices and rights to love. As I have said before love and falling in love is a powerful uncontrollable feeling and no one should dictate the premises of such feelings. I obviously have friends living in a same-sex relationship, including Taylor and Lauren whom See TF painted next to this mural. My cousin is a lesbian rabbi – does that even matter? I think you answered that question for me perfectly at the wall when you said ‘sometimes it takes a majority to stand up for the rights of the minority.’ So maybe that is it. I am standing up and doing what I love for my friends and for strangers alike.
BSA: Why do you think some people have a hard time understanding that loving or love is one of the most personal acts and they try to dictate and control who we choose to love and partner with? MERES ONE: Actually very often I am asked why I think graffiti is misunderstood or represented vs. street art. I always answer that people tend to fear or dislike what they cannot understand. The segregation and judgment experienced by the LGBTQ+ community is mostly based on fear and misconception. It is unfortunately carried and supported by many clergymen and women, and it is supported by our own president and many elected officials. So again if we all became a spokesperson for love, if we all stood up for that right, we could make a difference. I feel that this initiative curated by the Lisa Project is gifting our city with 50 beautiful murals, but it is also opening dialogue. Sometimes maybe it will force dialogue and that’s amazing and a step forward.
BSA: The style of the message and the mural itself is reminiscent of a postcard. It exudes nostalgia. Do you think people are longing for simpler, kinder times? MERES ONE: It is for sure echoing a postcard, a time when people actually wrote and committed to their words. I hope and would love to know that the audience would use the wall as a backdrop to send a message of acceptance and love to whoever they want. I for one am, and I think many are, longing for some of the old New York, for kinder and more people-focused time. We are living in a very difficult era and it seems that so many basic rights which were fought for are being reversed by our current administration. So yes I think a lot of us are left with an uneasy feeling and worries.
BSA: What was your experience with the passersby as you were painting? What were some of their reactions? MERES ONE: So many – mostly positive I will add. I try to give my attention to everyone as long as I am not all the way up on the lift. I heard funny comments, some passersby the first day were worried this was going to be a Colossal ad. I guess the lift and organization looked very professional and they were relieved to hear about the project and the birthing of new art on the block. Once my light bulbs were visible there was a lot of honking and shout outs from people driving by. I was surprised by the amount of genuine ‘thank you’s that came from people.
I love the fact that people read out loud “love is love” and kept on walking. The local businesses – from the owner of 3 Dollar Bill cheering us on, to the Wells bringing us cold water, to Saints coffee roaster thanking us, they all seemed really happy about this installation on their block. We managed to create a story thanks to the trust of the people at Lisa Project and people get to see a true narrative by me, See TF, JPO and David Puck. I feel people are relating to the wall and owning it in their personal way, and that was the goal here, so I am super pleased and humbled to have been part of it.
our thanks to Wayne and Rey at The LISA Project for organizing the artists for