We like findings spots that feature walls slammed with street art in a most organic way, the aesthetic signature of a current ecosystem mid-evolution. These spots are often a magnet for street artists to get up in NYC, L.A., Berlin, Lisbon, Madrid, Paris, Barcelona, Mexico City, Miami, Boston, London, and beyond. Usually illegal, they allow the artists a quick way to safely leave their imprint on the chaos of the city, a welcome to international artists on their spraycation as well as locals who relish the feeling of standing among peers. The art is usually limited to small original pieces, stickers, and posters, wheat pastes.
We call them “magnet walls” – and NYC has had its share of them. Now, however, they are increasingly endangered because of Gentrification and the voracious real estate market in the city with its apparent never-ending appetite for building new soaring soul-free glass towers. One spot is still welcoming artists to its walls: Freeman Alley. This favorite enclave, composed of two long walls along a narrow corridor in the Lower East Side, is constantly updated in an organic way with contributions by local and international artists. We have surveyed it for years, often publishing our findings in the popular “BSA Images Of The Week.”
Last week we rolled by the alley again and to our surprise, we discovered a gate ajar; one that leads the lobby of a relatively new hotel. Usually locked with a code, this secret Bowery spot instructs guests to enter through the alley. Once inside, they’re greeted with a nicely landscaped, small-scale courtyard leading to a lobby. Surprisingly, it is now bursting with new stickers, posters, stencils, paintings, collages, wild imaginings. Technically, this is a legal magnet wall – but most of the artists whose work is on display here can also be found illegally on the walls of the alley. Here’s a fresh selection just for you:
This week we wandered off the streets onto the train tracks to catch some graff in the wild. As we did we thought about photographer Jim Prigoff and how he told us that he relied upon the “graffiti gods” to lead him in the right direction to catch photographs. He was so right when he shared that jewel – an adviso to follow one’s intuition and trust your instincts. It was during this same adventure on the tracks that we learned of Jim’s passing, which was a very sad addendum to the exploration, at first. Then we realized that Jim is now one of those “graffiti gods” and he will lead us to find the next piece, burner, paste-up, sticker, poetry on the street.
May Jim and his instincts always be with us.
“You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.”
– Mae West
Take it from Brooklyn’s own Mae West to give us the dry-eyed wit that pushes us further forward, boldly and without reservation.
So New York graffiti and street art continues to run apace – from Red Hook to Ridgewood to Williamsburg to Chelsea in Manhattan – we are dumb-founded by the new work that is covering Gotham. It is also notable the preponderance of LETTER-based street art and graffiti there is everywhere. Letters and their deconstruction, reconstruction, re-imagining have always been a part of the graff tradition of course, but it looks like many artists are talking at you from the wall right now.
So here’s our weekly interview with the street, this time featuring: 2 Much, Adam Fujita, Al Diaz, Aneko, Healer, Jeff Roseking, Jet, Jowl, Lunge Box, Mega, Panic, RAKN, Riisa Boogie, Sac Six, Seo, Timmy Ache, UFO 907, and Wokem.
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, Timmy Ache, and Tito Ferrara.