Welcome to BSA Images of the Week! Optimo NYC on the Houston wall yo! Born and bred, a true New Yorker, and deserving of this wall after paying dues for years. Why does this wall sometimes look better when curated by the street? The holy chaos that reigns here is the pure DNA of the city, unbossed and unbought.
This week the street art is fresh! Never mind the proxy wars, the exploding trains, the 30% YOY drop in 401Ks, the transitory inflation that wasn’t, the Chinese spy balloons that weren’t, the Nordstream 2, the effort to privatize Social Security, the polarization that is encouraged by the media, and the increasing difficulty of New Yorkers to pay the bills… we still have a lot of extraordinary artists, and they are profligate! Also, we have Flaco, the Central Park owl fugitive, and his adorable ear tufts.
Here’s our weekly interview with the street, this week featuring: Shepard Fairey, Sticker Maul, Modomatic, Bad Brains, NYC Kush Co, Optimo NYC, Pest AC, Valentin Vewer, Holly Sims, Eternal Possessions, Cloudy is Here, and Gosup.
A splendid selection this week of very entertaining pieces across the city. As we enter December, you can see that graffiti and street artists are going full-steam ahead into the new year – with personal, political, philosophical, and even romantic sentiments.
Here’s our weekly interview with the street, this week featuring: Faile, SRKSHNK, Modomatic, Sara Lynne-Leo, Molly Crabaple, Cope, Riisa Boogie, Ollin, Short, Rezones, Asker Uno, Danielle BKNYC, McManiphes, Kojo Hilton, Rad Bio, Duster, My Name is Annie, and The Jolly.
Jesus it’s rough out there! Throwing a frisbee could cause a heart attack in this heat wave. This situation is like the polar opposite of a winter snowstorm that forces everyone to stay inside their apartments. Believe it or not, in this city we have such extremes. We gave you Trump and we also gave you Bernie Sanders, for example.
Trying to think happy thoughts on the street despite the crushing debilitating heat and we are greeted by a mopey Gen Z guy carrying a sign that says “this is the coolest summer of the rest of your life”. Thanks, Senor Killjoy.
The good thing, and we insist on concentrating on these good things, is that New York is positively swimming with gorgeous young things who are traipsing through the streets in barely there gear and you don’t even need to buy pot to get high now because the streets are swirling with it. Also, you can buy pot anywhere; in a curbside truck, on a brownstone stoop, from a Nigerian guy out of a suitcase on the sidewalk on Canal street, even at your grandma’s Saturday canasta match.
$100 two years ago is worth only $85, but our parks are still free and full of leafy trees and concerts and theater and city pools are staying open extra hours to cool off. Burning Spear, UB40, Animal Collective, Sharon Van Etten, The Decemberists, Khruangbin, Erykah Badu, Shakespeare in the Park, anybody? We always sit on a blanket outside the gate and enjoy the music nonetheless – you can too. Also, as a reminder, we are not at war with each other – all us different races and religions. That’s all a huge lie on the TV machine. New Yorkers actually like each other.
Our street art as usual is off the hook. This week it seems a little bit cuddly, to tell the truth.
Here’s our weekly interview with the street, this week featuring: Rambo,Hiss, Dirty Bandits, Modomatic, Neon Savage, Muckrock, You Are Not Alone, Third Rail Art, Rari Grafix, OH!, Drama, and Banksy Hates Me.
One street art text piece we caught yesterday just as the abortion decision was being announced is appropriately in Spanish. Que voy hacer con llorar? or “What good does crying do?”.
Here’s our weekly interview with the street, this week featuring: Captain Eyeliner, JJ Veronis, Modomatic, Voxx Romana, Hijack, Fear Arte, IMK, 3784, Jaw1, Smoe, JC3, Mayd1, Spot KMS Crew, Heavylox, and Bongggblue.
The curator/owner of this wall, Jessica Goldman, posted recently on social media that the famed graff/street art/mural wall is “on pause.” The street has its own ideas of course and the wall has been very active for the last weeks in an organic manner. As usual, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
Welcome to BSA Images of the Week! Happy Fathers Day to all the fathers and those filling that role for families. We know it’s not easy work. We’re thankful to all the guys who are there to raise our kids, to provide guidance and love, and to model love and respect for their partners and wives.
Also today is Juneteenth, one of our country’s newest official holidays, recognizing the foundational earthquake of African emancipation from slavery in the US. Institutional slavery and all its effects – events in our history that continue to impact our laws, institutions, education, civil and economic justice, our relationships with one another – are yet to be addressed in many ways. For Juneteenth, this is a sweet and joyful celebration that is also deeply needed.
It doesn’t get any better with the weather than at this time of the summer in New York – and street art and graffiti are enjoying a very prolific crop this season. The politics of this moment are also showing up the street, with abortion and gun rights and vaccines surfacing as themes alongside what seems like ever-present LGBTQ+ rights. We keep seeing the graffiti/street art spots enlarge, contract, and scatter like a sneeze from one neighborhood to another, largely do to the rampant gentrification rate in some areas and the tendency for people to kill off the very arts culture that attracted them to the neighborhood in the first place. Right now street art in Manhattan is concentrated on the Lower East Side and Chinatown – Chelsea has a few remaining pockets left but it could be gone soon, and a little still remains in Soho and Noho. In Brooklyn, the neighborhoods Bushwick of going strong, Williamsburg Industrial park Williamsburg and Dumbo not so much. In Queens there is Welling Court, maybe Ridgewood, and of course Mott Haven and South Bronx are still popping
But let’s not get distracted by the city topography – lets look at some new stuff Jaime Rojo caught this week.
Here’s our weekly interview with the street, this week featuring: Sipros, Adam Fu, CRKSHNK, Below Key, Modomatic, Hijack, Homesick, BK Ackler, Sally Rumble, Real Art Daddy, Yosnier, JG, The Eyeknow, Fear Arte, and Natalie Robinson.
This week we’re headed to the Miami Art Week – and we hope to see you there. We’ll interview Brooklyn Street Artists Faile onstage at Wynwood Walls Wednesday if you want to make sure to say hello. We’re excited to see a new slate of graffiti and street art and mural work – and have heard of some surprise installations sure to garner attention. Not that Miami is about garnering attention…
Our interview with the street today includes ASAP, Cramcept, De Grupo, Duster, Huckleberry Fuck Up, Marycula, Modomatic, Nat At Art, Pear, Sam Crew, Soli, Ultramarine Dream, and Wild Boys.
And now we don’t know what other topic can follow that one, so…
Here’s our weekly interview with the street, this week featuring Abby Goodman, BLAZE, Captain Eyeline, Chill, Chris RWK, City Kitty, CRKSHNK, Fake Hambleton, Faust, Invader, JJ Veronsis, Konart Studio, Lunge Box, Mad Town, Matt Siren, Modomatic, Royce Bannon, The Velvet Bandit, and Who is Ponzi.
The series of #fakehambleton “Shadow Man” that have been appearing on the street of Manhattan (and in London) are attributed to a guy who goes by the name of Pablo who runs a mystery Hambleton “foundation”. He’s admitted to painting the fake Hambleton iconic figures on the streets of NYC. We believe this to be a marketing campaing. More on this @bkstreetart on Instagram.
Welcome to BSA Images of the Week. Our hearts and minds are heavy and quiet this weekend as we contemplate the two decades and lost lives and liberties since September 11, 2001.
It’s impossible to know what the world would have looked like had those fateful events not taken place twenty years ago, and only a handful would have predicted that it would have been used as a springboard for more wars that cost more lives. As the country pulls out of Afghanistan so badly and obviously, a real examination of the soul is taking place. There is no real purpose served by trying to extricate the pain of loss locally from those sufferred globally as a result of the events of September 11th, except for us New Yorkers to reflect on how our city is forever changed. Thankfully, New Yorkers prove time and again that we are also forever determined to overcome and to come together.
Here’s our weekly interview with the street, this week featuring BAT, Below Key, BK Foxx, Chris RWK, Chupa, De Grupo, Early Riser NYC, Fumero, Futura, Hand Up, Manik, Modomatic, Naito Oru, Pope, Rezo, and Toofly.
Developing a library of personal alphabets, coded symbols, muscle memory and intended meanings.
New York street artist Modomatic is finding his way among a crowded field of new additions to the conversation on the streets. His stylistic leanings are being road-tested, as it were, and he is developing his vocabulary before your eyes. We are pleased to have the opportunity to ask him about his sculptural works, his illustrative/diagrammatic works, and how he finds the space in between worlds that he inhabits to be a street artist in New York today.
BSA: The output on the streets is varied. You have what we think are 3D sculptures, wheat pastes with abstract forms, and a take on the pre-Hispanic codices, etc… Are you one artist with a busy mind or are you a collective of artists?
Modomatic: I’m one artist, with a busy mind and ways to extend working time. I constantly explore different ways of expressing myself and along the way created various forms of art, but basically, they’re all coming out of my imagination and started in my sketchbook. I produced a lot of kinds of work during the pandemic, and now using the street to distribute them, because I can’t keep them all. I used a lot of my existing art. I adjust them for the streets, enhancing them so that they can be viewed a little bit further away. Also, for example, the use of brighter and fluorescent colors. I’m still learning about street art, learning about the culture, the type of artwork, the artists, and the way people are installing their art and where they’re installing it. That actually informs, in a way, how to evolve my art to fit more into the environment and the street culture.
BSA:The 3D sculptures are usually human figures interconnected in dance-like movement. The pieces have words as well and sometimes they feature a staircase. Are the figures dancing? Or preventing each other from falling off the staircase? How do you select the text? Does the text follow the image or is it the opposite?
Modomatic: There are two different series of works on this 3D sculpture. One I called “Chasing the Unicorn.” This one has the stairs with a person (mostly a single person) climbing onto the end of the stairs. Chasing a unicorn for me is almost like you are climbing all the way up to the top at full speed, without knowing really, how far the stairs will go, so reaching the top could also mean reaching the end. I styled it to looked like the person is about to jump or about to, you know, desperately stop from falling.
The second series of 3d sculptures are showing a small crowd of people supporting each other. They are holding each other in a group hug or propping up someone. The messages are positive and supportive of mental health. I am saying that we are not alone and they are aware of the problem and show that there is a willingness of others to help. The 3D people are not originally created for the piece – but they are being used to convey the message. I created the sculpture element for some other projects. As I said before, I have a body of work that I created during the last lockdown and these are the result of one of the experimentations I did with figures. So I created this series.
BSA:The inclusion of the staircase, in particular, is interesting to us. Do you care to elaborate a bit on its symbolism?
Modomatic: For me, the stairs are representing the effort that we take to get somewhere, to reach our goals, whether they are being successful, healthy, wealthy, or just getting out of the holes we are in. Usually, you know exactly the height that you’re going to climb, and what is at the end of it. But sometimes, as depicted in this series, when chasing the unicorn, you just go as fast as you can to climb to the top – not knowing where it ends.
Not knowing how far do you have to go also may mean risking overshooting the stairs. This could happen to us who are trying to get as much as possible, as fast as possible, by any means necessary.
In some pieces, I placed the stairs, upside down. For that moment in time when one is at the end of the stairs, going back down takes as much effort as it was going up.
Positioning yourself in between those times is kind of being invisible. People are going about ending their day, and starting their evening and you are somewhere in between.
BSA: Your wheat-pasted posters have an abstract/mystic aesthetic; with figures, numbers, and words. Is there a secret code to the message?
Modomatic: When I do the sketches, the original drawings, yes. There is some form of messaging that I wanted to get across with the symbols. In the sketchbook, I pretended to create a series of personal alphabets, coded symbols, or simple marks, each with the intended meaning. Then the collection becomes a library, like an icon library. The icons either stay imprinted in my mind, in my sketchbooks or are preserved for my digital work. As I started to produce artwork like posters and other different forms, in 3D or 2D, large or small, I started to use those elements and just basically created the composition.
BSA:We do see an influence from what appear to be Aztec Codex symbols in your work, sometimes mixed with modern war machines. What’s the genesis for this “fusion”?
Modomatic: I’d like to consider myself a collector. I take great pleasure in mixing things I collect to create something new. In creating some of my symbols I used scripts like Hindi, Arabic, Chinese characters, Japanese Hiragana and Katakana, and other ancient scripts. I practice my hand on them, and then at one point, they become just muscle memories. The fusion happens in the process of creation.
BSA:One piece, in particular, resembles the international space station to us, or perhaps a satellite. It also brings to mind Legos. Were you obsessed with Legos? Or maybe still are?
Modomatic: I think you are referring to my series AstroSnout. My kids and I love to play with Legos and other construction toys and their modularity is perhaps carried to these artworks. And recently we’ve been paying a lot of attention to the commercial space industries, with Space X and that sparks our imaginations. I do a lot of my art with my kids, and this is one of our fascinations. You can see that this group of works are more playful.
BSA:Did you like getting up in the streets of NYC during the initial Covid lockdowns when the streets were empty and nobody was around? What pushes you to share your work in the streets?
Modomatic: I get up in the street either early in the evening in the dusk, or early in the morning (5 am) where people are just coming out. I like that it is quiet but it’s not dead quiet. The early evening is when there’s just the confusion of time, between the receding of busy work and the starting of the nightlife. Positioning yourself in between those times is kind of being invisible. People are going about ending their day, and starting their evening and you are somewhere in between.
I share my art on the street because I think that it’s like the best gallery in the city.
You are the artist, you are also the curator, the gallery owner – well not really – but the gallery director and art installer. There’s a lot to figure out; where to put your art, how to position it with other art. I use proximity, as a form of admiration, so sometimes I put my art close to the other artists or work that I admire. I considered light and shadow, especially for the 3D art pieces. I also have to consider the fact that it might be taken down, or covered-up.
I love to find my 3D art has been painted over, finding it become part of the fixtures is my goal. I also love to see it emerging later on when the art covering it has decayed or been removed, and my piece started to reveal itself again.
I don’t hate that sometimes my art is taken away. I’d like to think that somebody liked them, not because they hate them.
I learned that’s the street, and I love that. I appreciate it.
We like findings spots that feature walls slammed with street art in a most organic way, the aesthetic signature of a current ecosystem mid-evolution. These spots are often a magnet for street artists to get up in NYC, L.A., Berlin, Lisbon, Madrid, Paris, Barcelona, Mexico City, Miami, Boston, London, and beyond. Usually illegal, they allow the artists a quick way to safely leave their imprint on the chaos of the city, a welcome to international artists on their spraycation as well as locals who relish the feeling of standing among peers. The art is usually limited to small original pieces, stickers, and posters, wheat pastes.
We call them “magnet walls” – and NYC has had its share of them. Now, however, they are increasingly endangered because of Gentrification and the voracious real estate market in the city with its apparent never-ending appetite for building new soaring soul-free glass towers. One spot is still welcoming artists to its walls: Freeman Alley. This favorite enclave, composed of two long walls along a narrow corridor in the Lower East Side, is constantly updated in an organic way with contributions by local and international artists. We have surveyed it for years, often publishing our findings in the popular “BSA Images Of The Week.”
Last week we rolled by the alley again and to our surprise, we discovered a gate ajar; one that leads the lobby of a relatively new hotel. Usually locked with a code, this secret Bowery spot instructs guests to enter through the alley. Once inside, they’re greeted with a nicely landscaped, small-scale courtyard leading to a lobby. Surprisingly, it is now bursting with new stickers, posters, stencils, paintings, collages, wild imaginings. Technically, this is a legal magnet wall – but most of the artists whose work is on display here can also be found illegally on the walls of the alley. Here’s a fresh selection just for you: