Last week we brought you the first annual Jersey City Mural Festival with generously scaled murals and unbridled color. Muralism isn’t new but mural festivals are now a dominant vehicle or platform of expression on the streets where artists get up and create community. We have always championed the cause of the artist and cheer when they are given the opportunity to work – better even if they get properly paid for the work that they do.
That said, we still admire the small, uncommissioned, one-off pieces, and we’ve always documented that in whatever city we go to: In a way, that is what we actually consider to be street art. Unsanctioned and undercover, you’ll discover the most curious missives as you hike from mural to mural. Don’t miss them! Enjoy.
Here’s our weekly interview with the street, this week featuring 7 Souls Deep, Adrian Wilson, Below Key, Drecks, Early Riser NYC, Ghaston Art, Hiss, Lunge Box, Miyok, Modomatic, Mort Art, Night Owl, Outer Source, Timothy Goodman, Tyler Ives, and Turtle Caps.
On a day where we are all reeling from a public display of violence this week toward a 65-year-old Asian New Yorker on her way to church, we reiterate what the street artists are telling us – “Stop Asian Hate.” More upsetting than the violence was the seeming apathy of some toward it – and they should feel ashamed for not helping.
We know that our individual actions speak louder than words. Don’t stand by and feel helpless when you see someone being abused! You can help! It’s everyone’s responsibility to do whatever we can to stop the hate.
Don’t be a Bystander: 6 Tips for Responding to Racist Attacks
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.
The ebullient brilliance of the street is what lifts us up in this time of disarray and misdirection. Our collective cognitive dissonance, fed by hired mercenary disinformationists of the oligarchy and their corporate armies, tells us that truth is foggy, or even a lie. No wonder the preponderance of surrealists who are spraying the streets these days. They are merely a reflection of this war on our minds, a war by the way, that you and we are not winning.
Here’s our weekly interview with the street, this week from Miami, and this time featuring A Lucky Rabbit, Bunny M, Caratoes, City Kitty, CRKSHNK, Insomniak Crew, Koalas of NYC, Lauren YS, The London Police, W3r3on3, and Zio Ziegler.
When a real graffiti head hits you in the heart, you know it’s going to burn brightly.
NYC writer Jonathan “Meres One” Cohen has been getting up on the streets for 3+ decades with his distinctive color-drenched style and “bright idea” icon and he has exhibited in venues as varied as Meeting of Styles, the Parish Art Museum, and the French Institute of Art.
This month he has contributed his talent, name and heart to protecting the rights of LGBTQ+ people to celebrate the 5oth Anniversary of the Stonewall Riots that sparked a civil rights movement that burns today. We were lucky enough to catch it and grab a fast shot last week – and very lucky to ask him about it in an email conversation here where he shares his personal take on the topic “Love is Love”.
BSA: Besides the straight forward message of the campaign, some people may not see the connection and will wonder what’s your relevance to the LGBT community. How would you address that? MERES ONE: I am always puzzled by the “relevance” question. I marched and did hundreds of signs for “Black Lives Matter” and my intent or connection was not questioned. The mural is about love, about acceptance, about respecting boundaries and others’ choices and rights to love. As I have said before love and falling in love is a powerful uncontrollable feeling and no one should dictate the premises of such feelings. I obviously have friends living in a same-sex relationship, including Taylor and Lauren whom See TF painted next to this mural. My cousin is a lesbian rabbi – does that even matter? I think you answered that question for me perfectly at the wall when you said ‘sometimes it takes a majority to stand up for the rights of the minority.’ So maybe that is it. I am standing up and doing what I love for my friends and for strangers alike.
BSA: Why do you think some people have a hard time understanding that loving or love is one of the most personal acts and they try to dictate and control who we choose to love and partner with? MERES ONE: Actually very often I am asked why I think graffiti is misunderstood or represented vs. street art. I always answer that people tend to fear or dislike what they cannot understand. The segregation and judgment experienced by the LGBTQ+ community is mostly based on fear and misconception. It is unfortunately carried and supported by many clergymen and women, and it is supported by our own president and many elected officials. So again if we all became a spokesperson for love, if we all stood up for that right, we could make a difference. I feel that this initiative curated by the Lisa Project is gifting our city with 50 beautiful murals, but it is also opening dialogue. Sometimes maybe it will force dialogue and that’s amazing and a step forward.
BSA: The style of the message and the mural itself is reminiscent of a postcard. It exudes nostalgia. Do you think people are longing for simpler, kinder times? MERES ONE: It is for sure echoing a postcard, a time when people actually wrote and committed to their words. I hope and would love to know that the audience would use the wall as a backdrop to send a message of acceptance and love to whoever they want. I for one am, and I think many are, longing for some of the old New York, for kinder and more people-focused time. We are living in a very difficult era and it seems that so many basic rights which were fought for are being reversed by our current administration. So yes I think a lot of us are left with an uneasy feeling and worries.
BSA: What was your experience with the passersby as you were painting? What were some of their reactions? MERES ONE: So many – mostly positive I will add. I try to give my attention to everyone as long as I am not all the way up on the lift. I heard funny comments, some passersby the first day were worried this was going to be a Colossal ad. I guess the lift and organization looked very professional and they were relieved to hear about the project and the birthing of new art on the block. Once my light bulbs were visible there was a lot of honking and shout outs from people driving by. I was surprised by the amount of genuine ‘thank you’s that came from people.
I love the fact that people read out loud “love is love” and kept on walking. The local businesses – from the owner of 3 Dollar Bill cheering us on, to the Wells bringing us cold water, to Saints coffee roaster thanking us, they all seemed really happy about this installation on their block. We managed to create a story thanks to the trust of the people at Lisa Project and people get to see a true narrative by me, See TF, JPO and David Puck. I feel people are relating to the wall and owning it in their personal way, and that was the goal here, so I am super pleased and humbled to have been part of it.
our thanks to Wayne and Rey at The LISA Project for organizing the artists for
Jeez, that only took 50 years. “Stonewall Riot Apology: Police Actions Were ‘Wrong,’ Commissioner Admits”, cooed the New York Times this week. Of course the NYT headline at the time focused on how the helmeted, armed police were affected, rather than the couple of hundred citizens who they harrassed, intimidated and beat up for being many shades of LGBTQ – “Four Policeman Hurt in Village Raid”. Thankfully Macy’s and HSBC bank and all the corporations ran to the rescue of those folks in 1969 and throughout the 1970s and 1980s, 90s, right?
Aside from the multiple lessons we all continue to learn in the fights for people’s equality across society and in our institutions, one lesson comes through loudly and clearly: real, meaningful change almost never comes from the top down. Social, political, and economic justice comes from the grassroots, rank-and-file, everyday people fighting day after day, year after year.
That’s why we keep our eyes on graffiti, Street Art and all manner of expression on the street – its proven to be a reliable source for the vox populi.
So here’s our weekly interview with the street, this time featuring CANO, Carl Paoli, Dain, David Puck, El Ergo, FKDL, Infynite, Isabelle Ewing, Justin T. Russo, Little Ricky, Meres One, Ramiro Davaro-Comas, Sara Lynne Leo, Screwtape, SeeTF, Skewville, Solus, and Stray Ones.
So here’s our weekly interview with the street (or boardwalk), this time featuring BG 183, Bio, BR163, Crash, George Rose, Indie 184, Love Pusher, Nicer, Nick Walker, NS/CB, PHibs, Remi Rough, Rubin415, Steph Burr, and Tats Cru, yo!
Just in time New York’s Pride Month events, Street Artist Buff Monster unveils a wash of color and melty characters in lower Manhattan to commemorate the 50 anniversary of the Stonewall Riots in Greenwich Village.
Over the next month a number of artists will be painting murals across the city as part of World Pride and we hope that in some way this campaign will reach those across the world who still long to be free but who are restricted by laws, even threatened, persecuted, and killed for being gay, lesbian, bisexual, trans, or otherwise queer.
We talked to Buff to see what he was thinking when he was painting this mural over 6 days.
nice to see that NYC is getting involved in what looks to be the biggest pride
celebration ever, but there still so many places around the US that are super
conservative and unwilling to be inclusive after all these years,” he tells us.
“It’s a shame that equality for all is still an issue in 2019, when we have so
many other serious issues in the world that need to be addressed. It seems like
there are news articles every day about this administrations’ efforts to
undermine the progress we’ve made; so there is no better time to paint this
BSA: What are the thematic elements that correspond to Pride and the rights of LGBTQ people?
Buff Monster: The characters have a bunch of mixed emotions, which mirrors the long journey for equality of the LGBTQ community. Putting together a diverse set of my cartoony ice cream characters, filled with the iconic rainbow, seemed like a good way to bring a bit of levity to a very serious issue.
in all though, I think the colors and the characters create a positive and
optimistic image, in line with this year’s Pride celebration and the future of
equality. I’m really happy with how it turned out and I think it’s a really
nice addition to the neighborhood.
our thanks to Wayne and Rey at The LISA Project for organizing the artists for
“This one goes out to the whole LGBTQ community!” says Street Artist Remi Rough as he finishes his first of two brightly abstract and geometric installations here in NYC over the last couple of days.
The South London artist started in graffiti, which makes this wallss’ connection with Crash and Wallworks in the Bronx especially meaningful to him. He and other practitioners sometimes call themselves “graffuturists”, owing to the roots of graffiti and the complete deconstruction of the traditional letterform which leads to modernist aestheticism now expressed on the street.
Over the last fifteen years Mr. Rough’s work and practice successfully moved into formal gallery work along with his Street Art murals in cities like Hong Kong, London, Los Angeles, Paris…we’ve even saw him in Marrakesh a few years ago.
This particular wall is at the invitation of Wayne Rada and Rey Rosa of New York’s L.I.S.A. Project NYC, a business improvement initiative begun in the Little Italy neighborhood that has worked with many Street Artists over nearly a decade. They have selected and organized a significant number of local and international artists from the Street Art scene to install murals celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riot that turned back at the police to fight for the rights of gays, trans, and lesbians – a fight that eventually expanded to be more inclusive.
Starting now and right through June (often called Pride Month) we’ll be bringing you many of these murals by some of the best Street Art and graffiti artists on the scene today.