Happy Diwali to all our Hindu neighbors here in Brooklyn and around the world. We hope you find some ways to celebrate safely over the next few days in this year of COVID-19. Diwali is a festival of lights that symbolizes the spiritual “victory of light over darkness, good over evil, and knowledge over ignorance”. We need that for sure.
A week after the US election was called, the current president is trying to foment discord and raise funds for himself, but with war-loving folks like John Bolton and Carl Rove jumping ship, can it be much longer until a stampede of similar careerists and military industrialists follow suit?
And while certain yellow newsreaders on corporate TV were desperate for open warfare in the streets in the days around the election, most people are just waiting until the inevitable capitulation. This has hardly been a bloody revolution, but keep trying Rachel and whatsisname?
Street art is reflecting the current mood in broad strokes and pointed ones. New Yorkers can never keep their big yaps shut, so the level of discourse may sometimes be crude and brash – but it can also be insightful, enlightening, and even an invitation for thoughtful exchange. It’s times like these you can be proud of the voices on the streets, which very likely will persevere.
Here is our weekly interview with the streets, this week featuring Baston714, Cake$, City Kitty, Dan Bennett, De Grupo, Faile, I Heart Graffiti, Lunge Box, Pure Genius, Reisha Perlmutter, Rubin 415, and Sac Six.
“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.
Brooklyn’s always breaking records – and today it can boast having the first mural collaboration between a Street Artist and a blind artist. Rubin415 and John Bramblitt have just combined their two uniquely different styles on a Bushwick wall to blast away misconceptions about art, blind artists, and the inevitability of people becoming blind.
Highlighting World Sight Day on October 12th, the new mural combines the modernly austere geometrical abstraction of Rubin415 with the striking realism and intense colorizing of John Bramblitt. The long thin wall at the base of a building in a lot provides a welcoming warmth and sophisticated decoding of the design complexity on display in our cityscape.
Blind/Sighted, Street/Studio, Finnish/American, Monotone/Vivid; It is a wonder that these two guys could work together at all. But as we found out during our interview at the wall last week, they forged a creative common ground – and a musical common ground that includes both being serious fans of The Doors, the rock band from the classic era of the 1960s and 70s.
On this bright and sunny late summer day in an empty Brooklyn lot, everybody was feeling the heat and looking for a cool place to sit while the street traffic charged by and receded into conversations, a gritty thick breeze gradually covering sweaty skin with a film of textured coating.
It’s not always easy to coordinate a small event like this, with artists, equipment, paint, a camera crew, and surprise visitors and inquisitive art fans, including neighbors and even the police, who came to investigate and give a message of support.
A project sponsored by the SeeNow campaign and executed by Purpose with JMZ Walls, the whole team want you to know that blindness can be avoided, eyes can be treated and, in cases like the artist John Bramblitt, obstacles can be overcome with fantastic results.
We spoke with the artists and organizers about the new mural, how Bramblitt devised a technique for painting, how they met and how they worked together.
BSA:Did you know each other prior to this project? John Bramblitt: No. We met for this project – but I am a big fun of Rubin’s work.
BSA:Rubin did you know John’s work prior to this project? Rubin415: No I hadn’t met him. They asked me if I wanted to collaborate with a visually impaired artist for World Sight Day on October 12th and I said “Sure!” It sounded interesting and I did some research about the organization and about John.
For me collaborating with another artist is all about the person, that is far more important than the work itself. Of course the work is also important – but it’s very important that I can connect and relate with the person. We also talked on the phone and yeah, we clicked. I have collaborated with many artists but never with any artist who is visually impaired.
BSA:John, were you aware of Rubin’s work prior to this project? I am not sure when you lost your eyesight.
John: I wasn’t aware but I’m learning more and more about graffiti artists and street artists. I lost my eyesight in 2001 so it was quite a long ago – so the whole world on the street is incredible and yet I had no idea that all this time I have been walking through these cities and I haven’t been able to see the works and now I realize that I’ve been walking in an open door gallery basically. I was walking through a museum.
This makes me want to go back and revisit every city I have visited all these years since I lost my eyesight. It is incredible how a whole new world has opened up to me. With all this art that so many artists have been making the world is so much more beautiful and an interesting place to be. It’s like the mural we made here and the statement we want to make – we can take Art and make a great statement with art.
BSA:John how is your memory? John: When it comes to art is very good! (laughs) I can remember every painting I have made but when it comes to names my memory is not very good.
BSA:John Are you able to remember colors? How do you mix the colors? John: It’s through touch. It basically works the same way with a sighted artist and how she or he would work when they mix their colors. With me, instead of using my eyes, I use my hands. Whenever I draw, I draw lines that I can feel. I know the lines are raised. For instance here on this wall the surface is very dry and grainy feeling so the paint that I’m using is slick. So it’s smooth and that makes it very easy for me to tell the lines.
It in my studio I mix mediums with the colors. With every color I actually build differently, like the red will feel differently than the blue because I mix it to feel differently. Here on this wall it’s a little bit different. I didn’t want to get crazy with the mediums; I wanted to be concerned about the weather and that the wall wouldn’t be damaged.
BSA:Were you trained by an expert to learn how to discern colors by using your hands? John: No. I am the one who came out with the techniques for painting and one of the things that I do is go to the museums and I go to schools. I work with blind services all over and I try to teach visually impaired children – but there wasn’t anybody to teach me.
When I started I was lucky to learn about drafting and illustration and they were so supportive. So I’m just taking what I learned from that and from my traveling with my guide dog or with a cane. You learn techniques on how to touch and how to understand where you are – and where other things are. So I’m applying that to art. It is the same way I navigate a canvas or a wall. It is the same way I get around the city streets when I leave my house. The more I paint the easier it is for me to get around actually and the more I get around – the easier it’s for me to paint.
BSA:Rubin, was there a time at some point that you tried to describe your work to John? Rubin: That’s a good question. You know what? Most of the time I forgot that John cannot see. We mostly talked about music and we kept painting listening to music – talking about music.
BSA:So are your musical tastes similar? John: We actually like a lot of the same music, we were grooving on the same music actually.
Rubin: I asked John kind of a hard question. I asked if you were to pick you favorite musical artist who would that be? And you know he mentioned the same band that I will have chosen too: The Doors. I would also pick the Doors, it is a hard question but when John said that when we were talking about music I tried to go with my gut feeling and I knew that John and I will connect really well on that level.
BSA:It is fantastic that two plastic artists are able to connect and find common ground through a different artistic expression. John: Oh my goodness. In my studio I have this technology where I can have a photograph and make it a raised line. I have 3-D printers and I can print things out. When Tony and I were talking about all of this I was able to feel his artwork. I was able to feel the lines, the geometry. The shadiness, of course, I couldn’t but the complexity I could. So as soon as I was feeling it I thought “Oh, I can’t wait to meet this guy. It’s just going to be so great.”
One concern I had because I cannot see when I’m working with another artist and I don’t know what they are doing – I don’t know what’s going on. But the moment I talked to Rubin and the moment I was able to feel his work – all of that went away. I thought “This is going to be brilliant. I cannot wait to get here and meet him and to see what he does on the wall, even though I worked on the wall as well. I also had the joy of being an spectator and to see his creative process.
BSA:So the difference between the museums and the street is that on the street you can actually touch the works but in museums you usually cannot go and touch the works, can you? John: Not usually but it depends. The museums that I work with – we try to make the artwork more of a visceral experience. On the tour that I’m a part of when I’m giving talks we may actually go and touch the sculptures, or we will learn some dance – anything that we can do to use any of our other senses. In life we use all of our senses to get around the world and to appreciate things around you, so when you go to a gallery or to a museum and suddenly they say, “No you can only use your eyes,” its so restrictive. So this is one of the great things about street art. People can come and touch the artwork. They can have a picnic in front of it if they want.
BSA also talked with Joonas Virtanen from Purpose, who is the Creative Lead of the project:
BSA:Joonas how did you get involved with this? Joonas: We were asked to do something interesting to raise awareness for World Sight Day. We decided not to do a normal traditional ad campaign, instead we decided to try something different and raise awareness through art. We have seen John’s work online and he blew us away with his processes and we are also big fans of street art – so we felt like how crazy would it be to see if John would be able to do some street art and essentially make the world’s first Street Art piece painted by a blind person.
But we also wanted to make sure that John was comfortable and that the whole piece was actually interesting so we needed to pair him up with an actual street artist and we were looking through some different options. We wanted to find someone whose style is distinct enough from John’s so that it compliments it instead of competing with it and I have seen Rubin’s work, I live here in Bushwick. I thought that he would be the perfect partner for this because of his work with its geometric lines, monochrome colors whereas John’s work is more like super colorful in his style, so I felt like those styles worked really well together. The first time I talked to Rubin over the phone I knew that he was going to be a very good partner.
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.
The sky poem along the top reads: That Morning / Everything / Remember? / Made of SKY / The hardpress of Avenues / Your hands / My day a checklist mingling with a cosmos / We have been in love / Since the invention of gazing at stars / I still whisper “We one day / will have to party”/
The spirit of New Yorks’ 5 Pointz graffiti/Street Art holy place has popped up in the same Queens neighborhood where it was demolished in 2014, and since last summer more than 50 local and international aerosol artists have been hitting a new project “Top to Bottom”.
The choice of “Top to Bottom”, a graffiti term that recalls 1970s trains painted their entire height, is no mistake as creative director James P. Quinn reveres the classic style and histories of those original writers like internationally and institutionally celebrated artists Crash and Daze, who have collaborated on a mural here.
Additionally, in yet another sign that the celebration of art on the streets is ever more ecumenical, Quinn and his project lead Geoff Kuffner are bringing the newer Street Artists who are expanding and defining the current era for art in the streets like Case Ma’Claim and Rubin 415. Not surprisingly, both of these artists started in graffiti, as did nearly every name here.
“I felt like a comfortable amount of space should be allocated to certain styles,” says Quinn as he describes the process of parceling out spots for the façade and roof of the 124,000-square-foot former warehouse. Truthfully, he tells us, not all the surfaces and shapes are attractive to graffiti artists, so a variety of styles is best.
“I tried to fit them in where I felt that graff writers could enjoy themselves and do something expansive. There are only a couple of spaces here that fit the epic, horizontally spaced forms of style writing. There are a lot of strange shapes to navigate as a painter here, rather than easy space to develop style as a writer.”
Quinn and Kuffner give a couple of visitors a tour around the entire block on a gray day where heavy fog hangs in the air obscuring the top half of Manhattan and they excitedly recall stories about the many installations in this first project of their newly formed Arts Org NYC. Using the word “garden” often, Quinn reiterates that this project for them is a “proof of concept” for bigger projects that will spread further through the city. “Ultimately I’m approaching it as a mural project,” says Quinn, who has organized mural programs a number of times since the 1990s. “It’s just a beginning.”
Street Art has evolved into districts of murals in cities as a gentrification device in the last five years and despite the critique that it is often used for economic development, many urban art watchers would also agree that we’re in the middle of a renaissance of public/private art. Quinn says he wants to capture part of the public’s new interest and make it grow. “I’d like to leverage the current hype and acceptance of mural painting to open up doors to people – old women, young kids, everybody.”
The neighborhood itself feels like it is in transition but it is not clear where it is heading. With Silvercup Studios and the number 7 subway line nearby and MoMA PS1 within a 10 minute walk, a quick survey reveals mixed light industry, sweatshops, corner delis, and the occasional strip club. Below the off-ramp of the Queensboro Bridge, which sweeps past the “Top to Bottom” exhibition, you will see first and second generation immigrants from the areas’ latin and African communities walking by, and Quinn reminds you that the Queensbridge Projects where Hip-Hop storyteller NAS grew up is just a short walk from here.
Conversation turns to plans for more focused programming on the walls in Phase II, possible fine art shows with local gallery spaces, and ultimately a city-wide mural project that offers art and art-making to greater audiences, including school kids.
“I do feel like murals get focused in certain locations but I feel like the entire city as a whole is still suffering. Huge demographics aren’t getting the painting,” he says, invoking the civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. “I feel like my ‘I Have a Dream’ speech about this project is that I hope it gets to the point where 10 year-olds can have as much access to a neighborhood as developers.”
Does he think that projects like this are pawns for business interests to draw investments into the neighborhood and push poorer populations out? “You can debate whether or not we are opening the way for more shiny condos… but that shit is happening whether we do this or not. For me the importance is keeping us here; So we’re not totally pushed out 30-45 minutes away from here”
Because of its proximity to the now destroyed 5 Pointz, where hundreds, perhaps thousands, of urban artists painted a much larger block repeatedly for two decades, we ask Quinn if he’s concerned with comparisons.
“I’ve always managed other projects like this in my own style and my own way. There are comparable aspects and I have nothing but a huge sensitivity and respect for Meres and 5 Pointz,” he says, referring to the artist and de facto director of the hallowed spot. “It’s comparable only because it’s a building and it’s in Long Island City. But this is only a jump-off. I want to do way more projects like this across the city.”
As the business partners walk past new pieces by DMote, Li-Hill, Icy & Sot, and Jick, the topic of the historically strained relationship between graffiti writers and Street Artists appears to be addressed head-on by the project by the inclusion of all manner of painter. The guys say that it is less of an issue than some people would have you think. As a long-time artist and muralist and curator of projects like this, Quinn says he’s over the supposed rivalry of the two camps, and sees mainly just one camp these days.
“I don’t know what the fans of graffiti or Street Art have any problem with. To me it’s all awesome.”
A lot of people thought so, and the rise of commercial festivals and commissioned public/private mural programs probably brought more artists to more walls than in recent history. Judging from the In Box, 2016 is going to break more records. Enormous, polished, fully realized and presented, murals can hold a special role in a community and transform a neighborhood, even a city.
But they are not the “organic” Street Art that draws us into the dark in-between places in a city, or at its margins.
We keep our eyes open for the small, one-off, idiosyncratic, uncommissioned, weirdo work as well, as it can carry clues about the culture and reveal a sage or silly solo voice. It also just reinforces the feeling that the street is still home to an autonomous free-for-all of ideas and opinions and wandering passions. For us it is still fascinating to seek out and discover the one-of-a-kind small wheatpastes, stencils, sculptures, ad takeovers, collages, and aerosol sprayed pieces alongside the enormous and detailed paintings that take days to complete.
The main image above is from a vinyl subway advertisement that was high-jacked and we published it in February of this year on our Images of the Week posting. It’s small, personal, and very effective as you can see someone suspiciously similar to Batman is jumping out of the mouth of someone looking awfully similar to Hedwig of “Angry Inch” fame.
Of the 10,000 or so images photographer Jaime Rojo took in 2015, here are a selection 140+ of the best images from his travels through streets looking for unpermissioned and sanctioned art.
Brooklyn Street Art 2015 Images of the Year by Jaime Rojo
Brooklyn Street Art 2015 Images of the Year by Jaime Rojo includes the following artists;
365xlos43, Amanda Marie, Andreas Englund, Augustine Kofie, Bisser, Boijeot, Renauld, Bordaloli, Brittany, BunnyM, Case Maclaim, Casg, Cash4, CDRE, Clet, Cost, Curve, Dain, Dal East, Dan Budnik, Dan Witz, David Walker, DeeDee, Dennis McNett, Don Rimx, Ricardo Cabret, LNY, Alex Seel, Mata Ruda, Don’t Fret, Dot Dot Dot, ECB, El Mac, El Sol25, Ella & Pitr, Eric Simmons, Enest Zacharevic, Martha Cooper, Martin Whatson, Ever, Faile, Faith47, Findac, Futura, Gaia, Gilf!, Hanksy, Hellbent, Hot Tea, How & Nosm, Icy and Sot, Inti, Invader, Isaac Cordal, James Bullough, Janet Dickson, Jef Aerosol, Jilly Ballistic, Joe Iurato, John Fekner, Le Diamantaire, Li Hill, LMNOPI, London Kaye, Low Brow, Marina Capdevilla, Miss Van, Mr. Prvrt, Mr. Toll, Myth, Nafir, Nemos, Never Crew, Nick Walker, Nina Pandolofo, Old Broads, Oldy, Ollio, Os Gemeos, Owen Dippie, Paper Skaters, Pet Bird, Kashink, Smells, Cash4, PichiAvo, Pixel Pancho, QRST, ROA, Ron English, Rubin415, Saner, Sean 9 Lugo, Shai Dahan, Shepard Fairey, Sheryo & The Yok, Sinned, Sipros, Skewville, Slikor, Smells, Sweet Toof, Snowden, Edward Snowden, Andrew Tider, Jeff Greenspan, Specter, Stray Ones, Sweet Toof, Swil, Willow, Swoon, The Outings Project, Toney De Pew, Tristan Eaton, Various & Gould, Vermibus, Wane, Wk Interact
“Like the rhythm in a piece, it has to start with the intro, getting into the verse, then in the middle it gets busy with the chorus, then you get a bridge, the song gets to breathe a little bit, and then you have the outtro so its all the same between music and art. It’s different tools to express – some ideas work better as paint and some as audio.”
The patroness saint actually has a number of churches named after her around the world and this Greenpoint, Brooklyn location is one of two named for her in New York City. This fall Rubin was invited by a priest to consider bringing his clean mid-century modernism to the back yard and other vignette locations around the church – an occurrence that would have been unthinkable to him as an active teen graffiti writer in 1990s Sweden. Churches were someplace to avoid – an unwritten rule for graffiti writers in most cities actually regarding houses of worship.
The project has been rewarding however, and while he hasn’t become an official follower, he sounds like he has a new appreciation for houses of the holy. Spending many quiet hours in and around the various atriums and vestibules and congregative spaces Rubin says he took cues from the obvious architectural elements as well as the smaller more decorative flourishes when planning his intersecting planes and forms.
Rubin says that no two commissions are alike and this was his first in a place so filled with history and meaning. He also will always associate it with the birth of his and his wife’s first child, so evidently Rubin was not the only one laboring in November, but more on that later…
Today we bring you exclusive images of this freshly completely and somewhat cloistered installation by Rubin, who actually took us to church to show us his inspired manifestations.
BSA:You mentioned that you thought the Priest had taken a big risk by giving you this commission. Why? Rubin: It is very rare for the people of a church to commission a Street Artist to a paint mural on the church. It is kind of unconventional work that we do. He mentioned to me that a lot of new and young people are moving into the area and his idea was that Street Art could help to connect the church with them.
BSA:Did you have to present a sketch for approval? Rubin: Yes I had to present them with suggestions, not final sketches. They had to be approved by the community in the neighborhood at a community meeting on a Sunday. I attended one of those meetings. They wanted to meet the artist so I went and told them a little bit about what I do and who I am.
BSA:Did they ask if you were a religious person? Rubin: No
BSA:Did they treat you well? Rubin: Yeah, very well. I’ve done a lot of murals and every single one of them is different but this one is definitely a very memorable experience in many ways. They have been super easy-going and helpful. They gave total creative freedom.
BSA:How was it painting outside? Rubin: Very different because I spent a lot of time inside the church making sketches, drinking coffee. I don’t know if you are supposed to drink coffee inside the church. I took my hat off but I drank coffee. It was a bit cold but being inside this church and watching the amazing daylight changing was very nice. I like to work on site-specific commissions and be inspired by the neighborhood I’m working in. I don’t know much about the church and I’m not too religious but I started the project with an open mind and it has been an amazing experience and very quiet – which I think affects the end result. I also took clues from the church architectural and decorative details for inspiration on the mural.
BSA:So you didn’t have people on the street asking you a million questions? Rubin: Yeah. People asking you questions when you work in public is part of the job but working on this mural was a nice break from the ordinary. Not having to talk to anybody. I didn’t listen to any music I just enjoyed the quietness.
BSA:How did the Priest know of you and your work? Rubin: It’s a very funny story. I went to the supermarket where I buy my groceries and the owner who had commissioned me to do a mural on the building approached me and told me that a Priest was asking for me. I was like “what’s going on, what have I done?”! He gave me the Priest’s number and I called him and I had no idea what was going on. His name is Father Thomas. He told me that he had seen my murals on Grand Street and Metropolitan Ave and he liked my work and he told me that it reminded him of the stained glass windows in the church. So he had this idea of me painting a mural on the back of the church on the walls of the auditorium. It worked very well.
BSA:So you mentioned that you were well into your first week of painting when your wife Sanna brought you lunch but didn’t mention to you that her contractions for giving birth had already begun? Rubin: It was a Sunday, a beautiful day and she came here like she always did to bring me coffee and lunch and everything seemed fine. I worked for 12 hours at the mural and little did I know what I was going to find at home. My wife was having horrible contractions. But she wanted to wait as long as possible and at 11:00 pm I got the order from her to call UBER, that’s how it works nowadays. The UBER got lost on his way to us and it wasn’t fun to have her standing on the street.
We went to Bellevue and he screwed up again. He didn’t find the right entrance and had to walk for two blocks. She was checked in and I was told to sit in the waiting room and I waited for two hours and soon after that I was told that my wife was about to give birth. It all went very fast and they sent me back home. I wasn’t allowed to spend the night at the hospital. We all were tired so I decided to let them rest and I went home and crashed.
BSA:When did you resume work on the mural? Rubin: I took off a week and the priest knew what was going on and they were happy with the news and told me to take my time to come back and finish the mural.
BSA:How did you feel when the mural was completed? Rubin: The labor was hard. When you do a large mural there’s a lot of work and in this case it was both physically and emotionally. Many times I though I was done with it but the finishing touches were too many and the original walls were in very bad condition so just priming them took a long time. When I finally finish I felt relieved but my mind was already onto the next project. What I enjoy most is always the process. By the time the mural is completed I usually need a break from the work. But I enjoy the process very much.
Thanks to everyone who came out to talk to us and listen to a conversation we had with FAILE on the stage of the Brooklyn Museum – where everybody learned facts that are fundamental to understanding this dynamic duo; Where the name came from, why they write “1986” on everything, and what role religion plays in their work, among other things. More on this Tuesday.
In other news, Pope Francis brought the city to a standstill – especially in Manhattan where he hit the United Nations, Central Park, and held a mass at Madison Square garden with his messages about immigration, greed, climate change, and the burgeoning wars that heads of state (there were 170 in town) appear powerless to prevent and woefully inadequate at protecting the people from. Throngs of faithful and long security lines greeted him all over the city. There was some Street Art here and there to mark the occasion, and we will continue to keep our eyes open for it now that he has gone to Philadelphia to hold an enormous mass on the steps of the Philadelphia Museum.
Also, tonight is the Blood Moon! Not sure what that means but the name is sort of scary. If we all die in an apocalypse remember we love you. If not, same.
And all the while these two French guys were dragging their furniture down Broadway from 125th Street on a city-wide tour…. Full story tomorrow on BSA.
Here’s our weekly interview with the street, this week featuring 2501, City Kitty, Fanakapan, Jose Parla, JR, Mark Samsonovich, Mosher Show, Punk Me Tender, Renauld & Boijeot, Rubin415, Sandra Chevrier, Shin Shin, Stikman, and Wing.
Did you see the blue moon over New York Friday night? Looked to be more crimson actually. Welcome to August and the hot sticky band of dirty grit that comes with it. Escape from New York if you can, even if it is just on a lawn chair in a park. NYC parks have a lot of free movies this summer and a huge array of free concerts all through the remainder of dog days. Naturally there is great deal of artful expression on the streets available on your way to and from the venue, very dramatic in its own way.
Here’s our weekly interview with the street, this week featuring $howta, 52, Brolga, BustArt, Esteban Del Valle, Dain, Dasic, Don Rimx, Droid, JR, Julien de Casablanca, KFA, LMNOPI, London Kaye, Ron English, Rubin415, Sokar Uno, and Willow.
An annual mural tradition of non-pretense, New York hosted the 6th Annual Welling Court mural festival this weekend in a working class neighborhood in Queens, thanks to a grassroots couple who hustle to match artists with walls and opportunity. More than a hundred artists, whose styles span the graffiti-urban art-street art spectrum, participate every year in this community event that eschews the creeping fingers of commercial interests and the pontificating tongues of the art critics.
That is not the point here. That’s not why you fell in love with Street Art and the unvarnished expression of the creative spirit.
Thanks to hearty and big-hearted organizers Alison and Garrison Buxton, the selection is as varied as the participants and the neighbors who come out to share home made dishes, music, and personal stories. Invariably the kids are racing around on their bikes and skates, people are meeting artists and posing for selfies, and some of the kids get to try their hand at painting.
So if you want to see what some of the organic art work is on the scene at the moment, walk through this unassuming Queens neighborhood with us and enjoy the real beat of New York. It’s a small selection, but you can get the flavor.
Hillary Clinton was on Roosevelt Island yesterday formally announcing her candidacy under blue skies with an enthusiastic crowd speaking about income inequality and the poor and sounding more populist than ever. Let’s see if she can stretch the 2 Billion Dollars in donations she is reported to have raised all the way to next November. It all adds up quickly bro, and before you know it, you just blew a billion!
Wonder if she saw the Hot Tea pool while she was there on the island.
This weekend is the annual Welling Court community mural party in Queens. Don’t miss it. Run on almost no budget it features over a hundred muralists who always dig the friendly neighborhood vibe thanks to organizers Alison and Garrison Buxton.
And of course we are seeing a lot of new dope stuff on the streets…
Here’s our weekly interview with the street, this week featuring Brolga, Chris RWK, Dasic, Esteban Del Valle, James Bullough, Joe Iurato, Logan Hicks, Owen Dippie, Paper Skaters, QRST, Ramiro Davaro-Comas, Rubin415, SheWolf, Sonni, Tats Cru, Wing, and WK Interact.