Some kind of big game today we guess. Happens every year about this time – the streets will be empty this afternoon as people will be inside their homes, gathered around their screens, eating buffalo wings, pigs-in-a-blanket and tater tots with family and friends. Happy World Series everybody!
Nevermind, we’re back on the streets where we belong, tracking the exciting new directions it is taking us.
Here’s our weekly interview with the street, this week featuring: Jason Naylor, INSA, Sticker Maul, Stikman, Degrupo, Diva Dogla, Mike Raz, Corn Queen, Jorit, Eric John Eigner, Smet Sky Art, Bad Boi, O. Grey, Steven Paul Judd, Katie Merz, and Delphinoto.
One of the first graffiti writers to name themselves after a laptop, ACER got up big on the front of the New Museum this week, which may be one of the most relevant shows they have presented in recent years. Just kidding, he’s not named after a laptop. Police will certainly be after him for this high-profile crossing of the legal line that got more press than Putin for a New York minute, but in terms of graffiti parlance, this got him major fame among peers.
Speaking of crossing the line, national embarrassment Ginni Thomas was accused this week of using her husbands’ influential seat on the Supreme Court as leverage to overturn the 2020 election. But competition for most embarrassing US citizens was very stiff this week. Did you see all those frustrated white guys grandstanding and preening before a black woman, presumably prosecuting a culture war while disrespecting her office and person? These Supreme Court hearings were especially painful for what they revealed. Ted, Josh, Dick,… Lindsay Darling, did you know the cameras were rolling? You know people can watch those for years, right?
Here in New York we have daffodils, shag mullets, and a man nesting in a tree. In street art news, its all about Ukraine and Zelensky, baby.
Here’s our weekly interview with the street, this week featuring: CRKSHNK, Sticker Maul, Sara Lynne-Leo, Stickman, David F Barthold, Savior El Mundo, Manuel Alejandro NYC, Home Sick, Georgi Collagi, The Bloom Project, and ACER.
Sometimes it is a talisman who is having adventures on the behalf of an artist, a part of him/herself who stays behind and watches the area.
At other times it is a character seen through a mirror, an alter-ego who represents a fictional part of their inner world who has been set free onto the street to interact. It may be a branding element, a logo, or signature that lays claim to the artwork it is attached to. By itself it is often a form of marking territory; a practice begun by graffiti writers decades ago.
Whether it is a symbol or a figure, it is undoubtedly a personification of some part of the artists id, one that is so individual that you can spot it from a distance and if you are a fan, you’ll smile in recognition.
Many street artists have a discernable style, that is true; a hand-style, a recurrent motif, color palette, a topic that reappears, a technique of application, even a likely location in the urban landscape where they are most likely to appear.
Of that number, fewer have developed a character or a motif so well defined in our minds that it can stand alone, but we have found a few over the decades. Each is imbued with memory, with place, with personality, with character.
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
Happy Sunday ya’ll! April is the cruelest month, true. Magnolias today, snowstorm tomorrow.
Great to see the Spanish Pejac here in New York after years of writing about his work elsewhere. It has an extra special quality that plays with perception and that people respond to – especially when he paints blossoming trees at the exact time they are blossoming in our parks, back yards and front stoops. At the other end of the spectrum, the deliberately monstrous and unhinged west coast Neck Face was back for a couple cameos to add some jarring electricity to an increasingly homogenized and candy-covered NYC.
Here’s our weekly interview with the streets, this week featuring Cogitaro, Kusek, Libre, Lister, Manyoly, Neck Face, Pejac, Praxis VGZ, Skewville, and Stickman.
Street Art can be a very singular activity, and if you desire, you can do your own thing without ever hanging with the crew. Royce Bannon has never been interested in the Lone Wolf approach, preferring to work with friends on projects. In fact, as part of the Endless Love Crew, he brought about the big “Work to Do” show in Soho a couple of years ago with a truckload of mostly New York Street Artists, all working collaboratively to pull off one of the most lively freeze-frames of the current scene, without attitude.
For “Unusual Suspects”, opening Saturday, the curator and artist invited some of these same artists to this nice open community space in Williamsburg with one important requirement; They all needed to collaborate on a piece with a least one artist in the show.
When asked why he wanted the artists to collaborate he explained that a lot of them work together in many shows but most of them have not painted together on a single piece. In a collaboration you are more cognizant of the working style of the other, and, while not losing your own identity, you are part of a conversation. The resulting work is something entirely different from what either one could have produced solo. The process here involved passing the work back and forth over a period of time with each artist adding his or her contribution. Instructed Royce “Do what you want – just make it look good!”
Most of these names are seen on the street and it is always interesting to see how the work translate to the framed pieces on gallery walls. Included in this offering are a number of individual pieces that span a wide range of styles and one can clearly see these Street Artists going forward in their personal explorations.
Whether it’s a stencil, a wheat-pasted drawing, or even a framed photo glue-gunned to a wall, Street Artists show us that it is all about love, as you know. Here are a number of different takes on the theme from Street Artists around New York. It’s our Valentine to you, because you are beautiful.
A true street art Opening in Brooklyn, with shutters open wide and many doorways to contemplate.
A collection of 30 artists on the street art scene are contributing to the vision of the adoorable Luna Park and her co-curator Billi Kid. Ms. Park, a well-travelled street art photographer who calls Brooklyn home, is among a very select group of intrepid souls cris-crossing the borough by any means possible to get the right shot.
Well regarded and always smartly outfitted, Ms. Park and Mr. Kid have added a bit of poetry to the street art oeuvre by decorating the departure, edifying the entrance, festooning the frontage, and gilding the gateway!
Image by Luna Park featuring a Celso in the doorway.
Brooklyn Street Art: How did you and Billi Kid conjure a show using doors as canvas?
Luna Park: Last year, Billi Kid, Jim and Karla Murray, Cern and Elisha Cook Jr. decorated a room at the Carlton Arms Hotel, which is known for it’s fabulous, one-of-a-kind, artist-decorated rooms. I highly recommend it as an affordable place to send your arty guests. To capitalize on the network of artists they’d built through the hotel, in March 2008 the owners opened Artbreak Gallery in Williamsburg. When Billi Kid contacted them about the possibility of doing a doors-themed street art show, they were immediately on board. I agreed to participate last December and the rest, as they say, was a matter of logistics, logistics, logistics.
Brooklyn Street Art: As you march across the city looking for great shots, have you found that some artists gravitate to doorways?
Luna Park: Definitely! I’d even go so far as to say not only SOME, but MANY. Your average urban door is the perfect gateway to graffiti – pardon the pun – it provides a smooth, even surface, accessible to all and, most importantly, visible to all. Although I don’t subscribe to the so-called “broken windows” theory of graffiti leading to crime, I do think it holds true for doors in the sense that graffiti on doors DOES attract more graffiti. It generally starts with a lone tag and – provided that tag isn’t buffed – the tags soon multiply. Before you know it, stickers get in on the action, the odd wheatpaste sticks around and, voila, suddenly you have a proper door!
Brooklyn Street Art: Why would a doorway be better than, say, a wall?
Luna Park: I’m not saying doors are better than walls, but as a surface on which to write or stick, a doorway offers a certain degree of protection from prying eyes. No one looks twice at someone who is ostensibly fumbling for keys in front of a doorway, but that same person loitering by a wall…
Cake from “The Great Outdoors” (photo Luna Park)
Brooklyn Street Art:Where did all of these come from? Have you been dumpster diving?
Luna Park: Well, I’m certainly not one to condone any kind of illegal activity, ahem, so I’m assuming the doors were all acquired legally, perhaps through a fine, neighborhood purveyor of sundry household items.
I personally salvaged two doors from the curb down the street from my house. Billi Kid acquired his door and several others at a farmhouse sale in rural Connecticut. A few people must have visited demolition sites, as there are a number of extraordinarily heavy fire doors as well. The doors really run the gamut of everything from vintage to factory fresh.
Brooklyn Street Art: Are most of the pieces in this show made specifically for “The Great Outdoors?”
Luna Park: Yep, with one notable exception, all of the pieces for this show are brand spanking new!
“Close the door on the past. You don’t try to forget the mistakes, but you don’t dwell on it. You don’t let it have any of your energy, or any of your time, or any of your space.” – Johnny Cash
The Dude Company for “The Great Outdoors” (photo Luna Park)
Brooklyn Street Art: Every door has two sides; has anybody addressed both for the show?
Luna Park: We asked the artists to decorate only one side of the door – to make hanging them all the easier – but Celso and LA2 collaborated on one side of a door that already had a piece on the other side. I’d mention who, but that would spoil the surprise.
Brooklyn Street Art: It’s not the same as painting ox blood over the doorway, but do you think there is any symbolism to the act of decorating a door?
Street art and graffiti covered doors aside, I think the decorated door functions as a marker, defining the threshold between the private and the public spheres. There are certainly any number of cultures around the world that place markings on doors to celebrate rites of passage: in the part of northern Germany from which my mother comes from, it is not uncommon to see important family dates chalked onto doors, presumably in conjunction with some kind of religious blessing.
“we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us.” – Alexander Graham Bell
Feral for “The Great Outdoors” (photo Luna Park)
Brooklyn Street Art: On a grander scale, this show could be a commentary about the times we’re in, with many doors slamming shut, while others that we scarcely imagined only two years ago are opening wide. Do you care to philosophize?
Luna Park: I’m an optimist at heart and a pragmatist by nature, as such, I believe very much in silver linings and unforeseen occurrences. Especially in times of crisis, one has to embrace change, because only by accepting change can one move forward. When Billi Kid approached me with the opportunity to co-curate this show, you better believe I opened that door, despite initial misgivings about never having organized anything of this magnitude before.
I can only speak for myself, but having this show – something I’ve come to see as an incredibly positive force in my life – to occupy me and to look forward to has made the struggles I endure at work all the more bearable. I am slowly realizing that this show has opened doors for others, and that has made this experience all the more meaningful to me. By the same token, the outpouring of support from the street art community – BSA included – has been enormous and for that I am very grateful.
Brooklyn Street Art: Given their past locations and your personal experience shooting the streets, what does it feel like to see these doors lined up in a spare white box gallery space?
Luna Park: There is often critique of street art and graffiti work in galleries, in many cases justified in that some work simply does not translate well onto canvas. But in this case, we’re literally bringing doors in off the street and taking them to the next level (the gallery’s on the 2nd floor). Because the doors are relatively large and heavily decorated, being surrounded by a clean, white gallery wall gives each piece space to breathe. Above and beyond that, it’s nice to see the humble door elevated to a place of honor.
“Listen; there’s a hell of a good universe next door: let’s go.” – e.e. cummings
Brooklyn Street Art: What door surprised you the most?
Luna Park: Without a doubt, Blanco! I’ve been following his stencils since he first started putting them out, seeing his progression with each, more intricate piece. When we invited him to be part of the show, I had high hopes, but he’s really exceeded all expectations and then some! Bravo, J!
That having been said, I’m very pleased by the quality of ALL the work and am super proud of everyone’s efforts. My sincerest thanks to everyone that helped make this show possible.
Brooklyn Street Art: What time do doors open on Saturday?
Luna Park: Doors open at 6pm. I for one can’t wait to find out if it’s Bachelor #1, #2 or #3 behind my favorite door! ;p
“Ten men waiting for me at the door? Send one of them home, I’m tired.” – Brooklyn’s own Mae West
THE GREAT OUT DOORS
MAY 2 – 29, 2009
Art Break Gallery 195 Grand Street, 2nd Floor, Brooklyn, NY 11211
Thursday through Sunday, 1-7 pm.
Opening Reception Saturday May 2, 6-10 pm
At the opening Saturday you’ll also get to see a projection show of Luna Park’s photography, specifically images of doors on Brooklyn streets and elsewhere.