Style Wars! A new interpretation of it is blazoned across the Houston Wall thanks to Optimo NYC, who is rather owning it recently. This free-wheeling ever changing magnet for attention in a very gentrified Manhattan cheers the fans of true graffiti almost daily right now, buffeted by the roar of traffic and the occasional rock band playing in front of it.
The many flavors of New York street art and graffiti are everywhere – in community murals speaking about mental health, aerosol tags in doorways, in wheatpasted poems on subway columns, in soldiered sculptures on the sides of parking signs. New Yorkers love to be expressive, and in general, indulge one another’s imperfect ways of doing it. There is usually someone who is crowing about the golden age of New York, and who can deny one person’s perspective. Ever the optimists, we see the changes, the losses, the gains, and the free-wheeling spirit alive on the streets, and we think New York is having a golden age right now.
Here’s our weekly interview with the street, this week featuring: EVOL, Cey Adams, Giani NYC, No Sleep, Mort Art, JDL, Optimo NYC, Chris RWK, SEIMR, RUTHE, Scott McDonald, Sawr, Tymon De Laat, Amill Onair, Sherwin Banfield, and David H. Wagner.
Robert Vargas starts us off this week with a compelling trio of faces, or sides of one character. In each case she has been silenced. “Painting my “STOP” mural is a call to action to stop our #Indigenous sisters from going missing and murdered. The red hand over the mouth is the symbol of a growing movement that stands for all missing sisters whose voices are not heard.” The streets are speaking. Will we hear them?
Here’s our weekly interview with the street, this week featuring: Royce Bannon, Jason Naylor, Praxis, No Sleep, JPO, Le Crue, Hiss, Slow Boil, SKJ 171, Mike 171, D. Brains, Dan Alavarado, Panic Rodriguez, and Robert Vargas.
Welcome to Brooklyn, where the lilacs are in bloom and people are smoking weed in the park, like it was 1985 or something. Remember summer of ’85 in Washington Square Park with rambunctious teens backward skating in the dry fountain on roller skates and people were blasting “Shout” by Tears for Fears on their boxes?
So here’s our weekly interview with the street, this time featuring: 7 Line Art Studio, Acne, Cabaio, Freakotrophic, G Money NFT, Jet, JJ Veronis, Jowl, Luke Dragon 911, No Sleep, Save Art Space, and Zephyr.
Nomadland won the Oscar for the best movie this year, a fact that you may not know because A. The Oscars are nearly completely irrelevant, and B. Covid era-awards programs have been the equivalent of watching your dad unclogging the kitchen drain. An unvarnished story about a growing ecosystem of Americans living in cars, trucks, and RVs in parking lots across the country, Nomadland toes a line between blaming neo-liberal vulture capitalism/ de-industrialization of the last 40 years and dipping into the American myths of people who just want to live their life free and unencumbered.
Meanwhile, in New York more people are finding the rent to be too high and are moving into RVs, according to The Daily News this week. In the article they speak with Giovanni, a first responder whom we were probably clapping for last year when he was saving lives from Covid.
In the article Giovanni says, “I was an EMT… you want to talk struggling‚ that was really rough,” he explained. “I had to have somebody rent out my living room just to be able to cover the rent. That’s how hard it was. After doing that for three, four years, I was like, I’m done with this. I quit. I’m over it.”
“I went to college, I did pretty much everything that I was told I was supposed to do in order to have a good life. And it didn’t turn out that way,” he explained.
As the moneyed Real Estate kingpins are fighting against extending a rent moratorium in the city to August 31 and to end moratoriums across the country, you have to wonder where everyone will go once the stimulus checks have dried up, inflation kicks in, and landlords evict people.
Meanwhile, we’re following the street art in a number of neighborhoods in New York this week – and wondering where the topical or political works are. The current generation who are putting work on the streets may venture into politics, but only identity politics. BLM, trans rights, that sort of thing.
So here’s our weekly interview with the street, this time featuring: 2 Much, Armyan, Cautious5, Cekis, City Kitty, Cramcept, Denton Burrows, GIZ, Healer, Homesick, Leviticus, LNE Crew, Lunge Box, MalincheArt, MeresOne, MrBbaby, No Sleep, Paul Richard, Ponzi, Ramiro Davaro-Comas, Smart, and Stikki Peaches.
Welcome to BSA Images of the Week. It’s been snowing and snowing and snowing this month in New York – providing perfect framing for graffiti and street art.
Here’s our weekly interview with the streets, this week featuring Adrian Wilson, Beer, Claudia Ravaschiere, Dasu, Dos Wallnuts, Eron, Goog, Guild234, Hellbent, Magda Love, Michael Moss, No Sleep, Note, Par, Seo, Serve, Swoon, The Postman Art, and Treeze.
A few weeks ago we saw a populist uprising invade one of this culture’s most sacrosanct public institutions out of anger and disillusionment, among other factors; generally a repudiation of what was perceived as a corrupt cabal who ignores the will of the people. Within days the news was full of stories of the State tracking down and cracking down on the dangerous insurgents and tracing their words and actions. Alliances were suddenly severed, fingers were wildly pointed, threats were issued, straw men swiftly collapsed. An historic quake, the tremulous ground is still shifting.
We’re don’t intend to oversimplify here, but you have to admit there appear to be parallels in these stories.
In the end, we see the ripples through street art. Actually, sometimes we see the antecedents to events like these as well – but we may not recognize them as such until later. One cryptic prophet and cultural critic from the street art world, Don Leicht, passed away this week after a very trying illness. His original use of the digitalized Invader predates the high profile street artist of the same name; his comic/cutting assessments of modern hypocrisy echoed across walls of New York as early as the inception of the video game itself. A long time trusted friend and creative collaborator with street artist John Fekner, Leicht was quickly memorialized with this new installation on the street (below).
Here’s our weekly interview with the streets, this week featuring 1UP Crew, Bastard Bot, Below Key, CRKSHNK, De Grupo, Don Leicht, Duke A. Barnstable, Ethan Minsker, Freedom, John Fekner, Maks Art World, Nick Walker, No Sleep, and Young Samo.
Reposted from John Fekner:
“Don Leicht (October 12th, 1946-January 22nd, 2021)Don was my fierce older Libra brother, colleague and collaborator throughout almost fifty years of friendship. Don was a passionate and devout painter who played by his own Bronx cool rules; whether as a teacher in the public school system in the South Bronx, or in his hand-written personal writings or hand-cut metal, plastic or cardboard sculptural works, all visually charged with a deep meaning and social purpose. His imagery could spark a laugh or a smile; but were intended to cause a reaction within a viewer’s heart, mind and soul.
Don was a steadfast bridge to carry me through my sometimes unwieldy behavior. He would provide answers with care, understanding and positivity; whether it was in person or through a 10-minute or hour phone call. Within our conversation (and with many of his friends), he would always repeat the message as to be sure that you ‘got the message’ and would act accordingly. Don always had a simple soothing solution: ‘Get one thing done by the end of the day.’
Don was preceded in death by his wife Annie; and he will be deeply missed by his two sons, Anthony and Nicky, who helped their father throughout his overwhelming health issues, especially in this past year.
Walk on dear friend. We celebrate your life work!”
Looking for a Christmas tree? An accurate barometer of the income gap perhaps, we found two vendors on the streets of Williamsburg who each told us a 6 foot tree this year starts at $150 this year. Later in the neighborhood of Bushwick we saw a collection of 6 foot tall trees for $60 each. In Soho or 5th Ave just double it, or quintuple it.
Here is our weekly interview with the streets, this week featuring City Kitty, Elfo, Exposure, Easy and Joz, Gak, Giani NYC, Kest, No Sleep, Quality Mending, Raw Raffe, Skewville, TV Head ATX, UFO907, Muk 123, Gen 2907, Oze108, and Unlok.
Good to see Mint and Surf on the streets again here in NYC. We wondered where they had gone.
Wishing all of you a Happy Thanksgiving this week, whether you are alone or with family, cooking a turkey or baking a pie, spraying a tag or slapping a sticker, collecting art or collecting bills. We hope that we can all count some blessings this week. Please stay safe from the Covid-19.
Here is our weekly interview with the streets, this week featuring Butterfly Mush, Dragon 99, Eye Sticker, Fours Crew, Graff Art Kings, HOACS, Invader, Michael Conroy, Mint & Serf, Mr. Can Do, No Sleep, Only Jesus NYC, Rawraffe, Roachi, Shniz, Shorty, Smells, and Surface of Beauty.
When a socio-political-economic nexus is forged with such historically contentious factors, it only takes a spark. If you are wondering who will win, merely look at history, as past is prologue. Sorry, we won’t be spoilers.
Historically sky-high unemployment in an economy headed for depression, a somnolent political-corporate class standing listlessly by to watch as you are lowered deep into the well, an unprecedented heist of the US cupboard in broad daylight, the flames of social inequity fanned by a muscular and shiny fascism. What’s not to like?
In one irony (among many) New York City is opening tomorrow. Except for the curfew at 8pm. It’s also boarding up. Just as graffiti and street art were effectively scrubbed from Manhattan, the city offers artists and poets thousands and thousands of brand new plywood canvasses. It’s a jubilee!
Here’s our weekly interview with the streets, this week featuring Captain Eyeliner, Niko Alexander, Cadex Herrera, Greta McLain, Xena Goldman, Pablo Helm Hernandez, Dusty Rebel, No Sleep, Pajtim Osmanaj, Russian Doll NYC, and Soul Thundre.
Such a New York sentiment and at the heart of it we believe in our fellow New Yorkers and people in general to pull through this series of cavalcading catastrophes that are befalling us as many of our would-be leaders stand by and watch.
“Times are tough..” – It’s also a new piece this week on BSA Images of the Week from Captain Eyeliner. Let’s look for common ground, fundamental fairness and a common dream – without being tricked into fighting each other.
Meanwhile here’s some of the genius and humorous works this week on New York streets (and one from Tel Aviv), as we nurse our wounds and mourn our dead, and praise our nurses – and so many others. Hang tough people!
Here’s our weekly interview with the streets, this week featuring Adam Fujita, Almost Over Keep Smiling, Billy Barnacles, Captain Eyeliner, CRKSNK, Lunge Box, Maya Hayuk, Merk, No Sleep, Praxis, Quasar, Sac Six, Tag, and You Go Girl!
Welcome to BSA Images of the Week! Welcome to October – the time when the leaves turn yellow and orange and when your local pharmacy is selling Halloween candy and Christmas decorations because why the hell not? We’ve got The Actual Joker in the White House ready to shred all pretense of civility and rule of law before a terrified nation, not that he was holding that down at all.
Makes us think of the sentiment of this new Street Art piece below by Sara Lynne-Leo. “Why are you still holding on?”
But we know the answer — Because the grand finale of this burning dumpster fire will be huge! – friggin’ ratings will be off the charts for this one, dawg. Plus the Demopublicans have already lined up the Warren White House so we know what’s coming on TV next on DNC.
** chomps popcorn, smacks lips
Here’s our weekly interview with the street, this time featuring DAK, Dede Bandaid, Dee Dee, Demure, Dirk, Don Rimx, Insurgo, Invader, Jeff Henriquez, Jona, Muebon, Neckface, Nite Owl, Nitzan Mintz, No Sleep, Panda Bear, Salami Doggy, Sara Lynne Leo, Seemerch, Unify Art, and WK Interact.