It’s always a fun week when The New York Times quotes Brooklyn Street Art, like today’s riveting analyses of one New York celebrity outlaw everyone can agree upon, Flaco the Owl. So this week, we will not insult the corporate legacy press because we are in league with them, obviously.
Here is our weekly interview with the street: this week featuring Faile, Homesick, Below Key, Degrupo, UNO, Dirty Bandits, Pear, MeresOne, Qzar, BG183, NYC Hooker, Tats Crew, Albertus Joseph, Rari Grafix, Notice, Toney, Fear, Horn, Lare, and OTM Crew.
Frequently one step ahead of broader cultural movement, conceptual street artist John Fekner concisely gets right to the point with this text piece on a brick wall called “Juneteenth”. It’s a relatively new sanctioned national celebration that only took about 130 years to be recognized.
Marking the day in 1865 when Union General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas, and announced General Order No. 3, which proclaimed the freedom of enslaved people in Texas, the illustrative point of this story is that the announcement came two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed.
Today we call it Juneteenth, also known as Freedom Day or Emancipation Day, commemorating the emancipation of enslaved African Americans and acknowledging the end of slavery in the United States. Juneteenth serves as a reminder of the struggle for freedom, the resilience of African Americans, the legacy of slavery, of how far we need to go for equality, and how important it is to honor the achievements and contributions of African Americans and foster unity and cultural understanding.
21 years since the Twin Towers came down here in New York City. We remember today in our hearts.
Reliably, street art plays a role in bringing up the socio-political topics that are in the public realm. This week we see artists addressing gun violence, the ongoing battle for/against legal abortion, and LGBT rights. Also, there are just a lot of fun, colorful exhortations that we may or may not understand but which tell us all that the streets of New York are alive and well.
Here’s our weekly interview with the street, this week featuring: Stikman, City Kitty, Praxis, Sinned, Miyok, Trap, Spite, Tea, Goomba, John Domine, WoWi, and Helaenable.
Rocking this little neighborhood since 2009, The Welling Court Mural Project in Queens, New York brought a bevy of old skool and new again this summer to add to the collaborative art project that cheers the locals and thrills visitors. By now, you could call it historic, with writers from the OG crowd like Tats Cru, Lady Pink, John Fekner, and Chino giving their best alongside a slew of newbies in the mural art scene. Alison Wallis is the sole director these days, and her roots with the graffiti and street art community go deep, which means a well of trust is involved.
As she scans the list of artists who have given of themselves to this neighborhood for more than a decade in this community project, Wallis writes in the manifesto: “with early career, mid-career, and burgeoning young artists to help foster beauty of all life, peace, and support for all people of any race, belief, and/or sexual identity around the globe.” Once again it is good to see the many ways a community can join together in an evolving and inspiring collective statement that integrates positive social change via the culture of street art.
Robert Vargas starts us off this week with a compelling trio of faces, or sides of one character. In each case she has been silenced. “Painting my “STOP” mural is a call to action to stop our #Indigenous sisters from going missing and murdered. The red hand over the mouth is the symbol of a growing movement that stands for all missing sisters whose voices are not heard.” The streets are speaking. Will we hear them?
Here’s our weekly interview with the street, this week featuring: Royce Bannon, Jason Naylor, Praxis, No Sleep, JPO, Le Crue, Hiss, Slow Boil, SKJ 171, Mike 171, D. Brains, Dan Alavarado, Panic Rodriguez, and Robert Vargas.
We’re celebrating the end of one year and the beginning of the next by thanking BSA Readers, Friends, and Family for your support in 2021. We have selected some of our favorite shots from the year by our Editor of Photography, Jaime Rojo, and are sharing a new one every day to celebrate all our good times together, our hope for the future, and our love for the street.
An earliest New York street artist – socio/political commentator, John Fekner has battled through many wars and storms in this city over the last four decades. Despite the hardships we’re enduring with Covid and economic near-collapse, we trust Fekner when he reassures us simply in his forthright unadorned stencil style.
New York is OK.
Then again, maybe the sentiment is less than a dazzling opinion of the city. Perhaps its a shrug of the shoulders and an underwhelming assessment of the city that sounds like it was sighed by a bored teenager. New York is OK.
The Pandemic is still raging. Sorry. But New York is OK.
Meanwhile, artists are still getting up and we must continue living even if we have to take extra precautions and listen to the science and to those who care.
This year’s Welling Court festival in Queens took place under the same health measures as last year. There wasn’t a big block party. The artists painted at their own pace and time sometimes only one alone at the compound – sometimes two at a time.
For the moment, the big gatherings and week-long shenanigans are gone due to Covid. Here are some selections of this year’s proposals and some from previous years that we missed either due to weather, traveling, or simply because those darn cars are always parked in front of the murals.
Fun summer shots at Welling Court in Queens today as two big names from the New York graffiti scene, Daze and BG183 (TATS Cru) collaborated on a piece. The symbols they use meld together some of the favorite New York iconography – fire hydrants, subway trains, high-rises and family. Call it a dream sequence born in the hot sun, a reminder that Covid 19 may be gripping our minds right now, but some things like your love for New York never changes. Big up to Alison C. Wallis for hosting Welling Court 2020.
“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”
Graff train writer, street artist, and studio artist CRASH invokes a Bible verse (1 Corinthians 13:13) here to find common ground in a nerve-wracking, sad, and polarized time in New York.
This year’s Welling Court Mural Project was necessarily unannounced, as organizer Alison Wallis wanted to be responsible for people’s health and avoided the possibility of crowding – inviting just a few people at a time to paint, and notifying just a few that the action would happen.
The artists didn’t always know what they would do ahead of time either, including old-skool NYC goldstar veteran CRASH and one of the last decades’ stencil talents Joe Iurato, who decided to combine their styles to see how it would play. Then they got talking, thinking and in a flash decided to collaborate.
Joe’s stencil was cut from a photo he had taken at the same spot at last year’s edition of Welling Court; Cey Adams had painted there last year as well and he had taken his grandchildren along for the ride. At some point, the three kids were sitting on the step ladder together and Joe snapped the photo. Iurato thought he’d bring the kids back this year via stencil.
“Joe and I didn’t talk about integrating our work together,” says CRASH, who was assisted by Gemini. “We just did it! – it looks really nice.”
CRASH says he was encouraged by artist Queen Andrea to do something new for the wall instead of writing his name, which he customarily would innovate by playing with fonts, styles, colors, and techniques. When he was thinking of a word to convey his hopes for his fellow New Yorkers, he tells us that at first, he was going to do the Spanish word for love – Amor. But ultimately ‘Love’ won out.
“Each letter is a different typeface that signifies something,” CRASH tells us. “The letter ‘L’ contains a play on a thermometer because of the health crises we’re in. I wanted to keep the ‘O’ light so I used ice cream colors so it looks like an ice cream cone. The ‘V’ is falling because love is becoming something that is almost nonexistent and we need to hold onto it. The ‘E’ is just an old-fashioned graffiti style ‘E’ which is what we do,” he says, “So put it all together and it’s love in a tough time.”