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.”