Welcome to BSA Images of the Week as we head into Passover and Easter. If street art reflects society, and we know that it does, Governor Cuomo is in hot water and may not keep his job. But then, we thought the same about the war criminal George Bush and the grifter Trump, so never mind.
Thank you to reporter Jim O’Grady for interviewing us for a story on WNYC radio this week – along with our colleague Sean Corcoran who is the Curator of Prints and Photographs and a graffiti historian from the Museum of the City of New York.
“As Covid Ravaged New York, Street Artists Fought Back” is the name of Jim’s eight-minute exposition – and his storytelling adds so much to our appreciation of the city and the environment that gives life to our street art and graffiti scene here. Thanks for including us Jim.
So here’s our weekly interview with the street, this time featuring: Chris RWK, CRKSHNK, Dwei, Hope Hummingbird, I Heart Graffiti, Little Ricky, Peachee Blue, Raddington Falls, Rambo, SacSix, Sara Lynne-Leo, Sticker Maul, and Technodrome.
We’ve seen an uptick of messages on the streets aimed at Governor Cuomo
Nowruz Mubarak! Happy Persian New Year to all the New York neighbors who celebrate it. Also, Happy Spring! Did you think it would never arrive? Already the birds are chirping in the trees, and the crocus is popping up from beneath the garbage and dog crap. That guy who lives downstairs named Manny and his brother are washing their car on the curb while blasting a mix from Marley Marl & Red Alert at top volume for the block to enjoy. All the while, there is a colorful parade of young bucks and shorties who are strutting around the neighborhood with big eyes and a burning flame of hope in their hearts.
So here’s our weekly interview with the street, this time featuring: Almost Over Keep Smiling, City Kitty, D7606, Damien Mitchell, Ethan Minsker, Invader, LET, Matt Siren, Mort Art, NET, Rambo, Raw Raffle, Royce Bannon, SacSix, Sara Lynne Leo, Sticker Maul, Tram, Voxx Romana, and Winston Tseng.
What the hell just happened? Has it been a year? Or has it been 10 years? Or just one long nightmare/daymare? Or has it been 10 years? Did we already ask that?
In March 2020 we awoke to a world that was transforming before all of our eyes, yet we felt so cut-off from it and each other. The first days seem so long ago as we mark the first anniversary of the pandemic. Still, the initial shock of those days resonates in our chests so strongly that we confidently talk about a collective global trauma that has indelibly marked a generation.
From Stockholm to Mexico City to Barcelona to Bethlehem to New York to LA, BSA brought you street art that was responding with fear, derision, critique, hope, and humor to the never-static, always evolving barrage of Covid news. Stuck inside and afraid to expose ourselves to each other, we New Yorkers became accustomed to experiencing the outdoors only through our windows, connecting with neighbors we’ve never met who were also banging pots and pans or clapping and waving and yelling.
We listened to ambulances screaming past our windows every half hour or so during those first weeks, imagining the torn families, the terrified fellow New Yorkers now being rushed to the hospital and separated from their loved ones without a goodbye, gasping for air. We wondered if we would be next.
When we did go to the streets, they were empty – or nearly. In New York this was unheard of. In this bustling, noisy metropolis, we experienced a daily disconcerting quiet. That is, until the killing of George Floyd by cops finally pushed the anger/anxiety into the streets all summer.
The deadly hotspot of New York quelled, but the fires of Covid spread west, grabbing communities who thought they would avoid impact. At the same time, local, state, and national leaders fumbled and argued or famously callously ignored the desperation of citizens, occasionally admirably filling the shoes they were elected to occupy, often misstepping through no fault of their own.
We have no particular wisdom to offer you today beyond the obvious; this pandemic laid bare inequity, social and racial and class fault-lines, the shredded social net, the effect of institutional negligence, the ravages of 40 years of corporate privatization, and the power of community rising to the occasion to be in service to one another in ways that made us all more than proud.
Here are some of our favorite Covid-themed street art pieces from over the last year, a mere sampling of the artistic responses. Interspersed we paste screenshots of the daily events (via Wikipedia) in 2020 that shaped our lives, and our society.
We mourn the losses of family and friends and the broken hearts and minds in all of our communities. And we still believe in the power of art to heal and the power of love to balance our asymmetries.
As NYC went on complete lock-down and New Yorkers were ordered to remain in their homes in complete isolation the city’s residents organically joined together in a collective 7:00 pm ritual in support to the first responders. To the nurses, doctors, paramedics, trash collectors, public transportation, police, fire fighters, supermarkets workers etc…with their services and sacrifices we, the residents of this megalopolis were able to keep out hopes for brighter days to come.
Video of four former presidents urging people to “roll up your sleeve and do your part” and get the vaccine.
Welcome to the first BSA Images of the Week of 2021 !
We start our collection this week with an image of Christ crucified on a Facebook logo. If this is the level of subtlety that we can expect from the new year…gurl, we in trubble.
In fact, we have found that much of the organic street art that we find today has become increasingly strident in opinions expressed, especially around themes of social justice and political skullduggery. It’s all mixed in with favorites like pop figures, sports figures, cats. In a way, the artists are ahead of us, so we consider these images as the tea leaves for what is coming.
How will you interpret these messages from the street? Will you become emboldened? Scared? Or will they not have any impact on passersby?
Here is our weekly interview with the streets, this week featuring 7 Line Arts Studio, Bastard Bot, Calicho Art, Captain Eyeliner, Calisi Maultra, City Kity, CRKSHNK, David F Barthold, Degrupo, Elle, Jeff Roseking, Joseph Grazi, NohJColey, Poi Everywhere, Sickid, Sticker Maul, and Stikman.
Welcome to BSA Images of the Week, where that silence you hear is the controlled collapse of the entire economy. Blink. Notwithstanding the drama that monopolizes the airwaves courtesy our daily-car-crash-in-chief, the breeze lilts and whirls gently downward like a loosened yellowed leaf set free from a tree.
But right now – New York street art is all about the raw nerves that are on display across the culture.
Here is our weekly interview with the streets, this week including Butterfly Mush, De Grupo, Eye Sticker, Hani, Hearts NY, Heck Sign, Kest, Detor, Daie, Ribs, Lexi Bella, My Life in Yello, Reisha Perimutter, Skewville, Sticker Maul, The Art of Willpower, and Tito Ferrara.
They are not staying quiet. If you had doubted the inclination of street artists to join the socio-political fray in 2020, don’t. Among the cute and decorative pieces out there, we are steadily discovering that artists are using the public sphere to take risks, addressing issues that are thorny and puzzling. As ever, the streets are a reflection of our society and all its fabulous dysfunction – a refreshing take on free speech that often makes much more sense than the disinformation war raging hourly right now on corporate media.
Here’s our weekly interview with the streets, this week featuring Adam Fu, Blood and Soul, Clint Mario, Faust, Gazoo to the Moon, Jarus, Maia Lorian, Pure Genius, Raddington Falls, Sticker Maul, Stikman, TV Head ATX, Will Pay, and Winston Tseng.
Every season brings new artists to the street art scene, while others leave town, or simply fade away. The summer, born in the age of Covid-19 and #BLM when the federal government tries its latest attempt to kill off postal services so it can privatize one more thing the taxpayers used to own, we now see work in New York re-engineering that time-honored graffiti-tag vehicle, the USPS address sticker.
Sticker Maul is a mixed-media collagist with a loose style of irony and a textual wit paired with photos, as well as straight-up wordplay. Topics are vaguely social, mainly clever, the demeanor sincere without pomposity. These are good qualities for an artist working within a smaller canvas on the street who wants to “cut through the clutter” – and its working!
Here’s our weekly interview with the streets, this week featuring Almost Over Keep Smiling, Billy Barnacles, Gianni Lee, City Kitty, CRKSHNK, Early Riser NYC, Seven Line Arts Studio, M*Code, Ori Carino, Sticker Maul, Turtle Caps, Urban Russian Doll NYC, and You Go Girl!