“Lord have mercy, it is motherf_______ hot out here,” said the teenage girl standing at a bus stop near the Marcy subway station on Broadway yesterday as we trudged by. She was right, and the heat felt like waves coming off the pavement and buildings in the late afternoon haze and blasting bright sun. We leave this searing and steamy, sometimes smokey, July and stumble toward August, looking for a handkerchief and a glass of lemonade and patience. New York, at its polar extremes, is more than challenging at times for everyone on the street, on the subway platform, in the barbershop, in the laundromat, on the stoop, in traffic, and in the park. Riding your bike through the streets gives you a little breeze, and new street art regales you with news of the day.
Here’s our weekly interview with the street, this week featuring: Neckface, Plannedalism, V Ballentine, Enrinko Studios, Seb Bouchard, Words on the Street, Alex Itin, Loove Labs, Shirk, Crash 42170, George Spencer, and Snake.
Following the evolution of The Bushwick Collective and its annual block party in Brooklyn has been a captivating journey akin to an anthropological exploration into the growing embrace of street art and murals within the realms of graffiti and HipHop. Back in the day, as the neighborhood began transforming with the influx of gentrifiers, street art faced outright dismissal or was treated as a rare phenomenon, a curiosity.
Unaware of the previous codes that roughly governed the practices of graffiti writers on the street, art-students-cum-street-art-poets often obtusely stomped their way into public view to circumvent a gallery system and to express their right to self-expression in public; something HipHop culture had been encouraging for years but had perhaps not envisioned this way. The rivalry between graffiti aficionados and street artists/muralists was sometimes palpable, with throwies vandalizing fresh paint, the OGs asserting territorial dominance, and at times, even resorting to threats and insults in person and in online forums.
As the block party, now in its twelfth year, unfolded, its early editions predominantly featured international and some local street artists eagerly seeking out BC’s visionary leader, Joe Ficalora, for an opportunity to leave their mark on his neighborhood walls. Local street art forums found fault with Ficalora, masking a barely hidden contempt for a streetwise guy taking a leadership role and betraying their own classist privileged opinions about the right to curation. That has all melted appreciably; this year’s event evidenced the remarkable shift that has been underway. Graffiti writers took the stage alongside the muralists in prime spots, sometimes seamlessly collaborating to create art transcending boundaries, all while the electrifying sounds of live HipHop performances reverberated through the air and TikTokers danced in front of them.
Let’s raise a bottle to those who always believed in the possibility of this transformative phenomenon, and to those who championed inclusivity over exclusivity. It’s yet another reason why our hearts beat for this extraordinary international art movement, the embodiment of the people’s democratic spirit and the unlimited creative spirit that is in every person. And most importantly, it’s a reminder of why we hold you dear.
The Bushwick Collective Annual Summer Block Party, now on its 12th edition, has established itself as an official opener of the Summer season in New York City. With its combination of art, music, and food, this is at its root a street art initiative founded and provided by local resident and business owner Joe Ficalora. Joe continues to show his steadfast dedication to the community with a significant, free open event for everybody in the family to enjoy.
Artists from around the world and local artists are invited to create vibrant and large-scale murals that encompass all disciplines, including graffiti in a very big way, on the walls of buildings in Bushwick. Making public space safer for the public to enjoy, many streets are closed off, allowing attendees to roam freely and explore the various murals, including many that are being created by the artists as passersby watch. Live music performances by local performers and DJs add to the festive atmosphere, with food trucks, vendors, and art installations – a true community event for people of all backgrounds.
Here are some of the new murals and installations underway. We’ll bring you a recap of the newly finished pieces soon. Enjoy!
Welcome to BSA Images of the Week. The outcry over the Russian invasion of Ukraine has overwhelmed all other news “coverage”.
In his State of the Union speech this week Biden even conflated sanctions with domestic inflation – but it was already 7.5% annually for a full year before the Ukraine invasion. Using that logic, Putin is also the reason you have no Medicare for All, and the reason there is no student loan debt forgiveness.
New York has so many beautiful communities and we value our Russian and Ukrainian neighbors. We refuse to demonize a whole community collectively, and hopefully you do too.
However repugnant the idea, let’s look for a diplomatic solution on the world stage to this crisis if it is all possible. We all have too much to lose if we don’t try in this incredibly difficult moment in history.
Here’s our weekly interview with the street, this week featuring: Pear, Subway Doodle, Txemy, Calicho Art, V Ballentine, Under Wave Walls, Mike Raz, Tony Tuan Luong, Manuel Alejandro, Smetsky Art, Deborah Kass, Lady Vday, Sage Gallon, and Michael Neff.
It’s beginning to look a lot like an arms race, every where you turn. At least that is what comes to mind when seeing the silhouetted tree at the center of Otto Schade’s new holiday piece in London above. In other news – New York hate crimes have spiked as well as across the country (along with hate graffiti), the country is increasingly dismayed over the military-style defense of an oil pipeline against indigenous people and protestors during Thanksgiving week in the #NoDAPL demonstrations, and there is movement to re-count of general election ballots because of unusual results in key states being questioned by a scientist group. Aside from that everything is going fantastic. Miami is hosting a ton of Street Artists this week for Art Basel – and today is #NoAdDay.
Here’s our weekly interview with the street, this week featuring Alanis, Amberellaxo, Aquarela, Axer, BE Zany, Below Key, Cuke, Himbad, Jilly Ballistic, Jorit Agoch, June, Lunge Box, Osch, Otto Schade, Queen Andrea, Ralp, RX Skulls, Thiago Gomez, and V Ballentine.