Have you ever been walking the streets of Greenpoint and noticed a careful scrawl with an arrow, “To the Moon” on the sidewalk?
The artist who goes by Gazoo To The Moon has spread his message everywhere he goes. Often carrying spray paint in his bag, even when he’s traveling, his work relays the idea that you should always be shooting for your dreams. So why not shoot for the moon?
A common thread in Pixote’s work is its massive size, matched by ambitious height. His tags are hard to miss. I’ve seen his unique graffiti everywhere—from billboards to high walls all over Brooklyn and NYC—so often that it seems ubiquitous.
A piece that always comes to mind is the tag on the pale yellow wall on the popular corner of Bedford and Nassau north of McCarren park. The giant writing, juxtaposed by the Aaron Swartz memorial mural (by BAMN) seems so iconic that I associate the entire intersection of Williamsburg and Greenpoint with the sight.
My curiosity grew stronger as I learned more about the artist behind the famous tags, the influence of his Brazilian roots, and the mysterious Pixação. We met in a coffeeshop in Greenpoint, and our conversation went far beyond graffiti, as we talked about spirituality, music, and social consciousness.
Originally born and raised in Brussels, Lewis Lazar is a Greenpoint-based painter and musician who draws elements of folklore into his visual artwork and photography journals. Throughout his career, he has had exhibitions worldwide in London, New York, and Nicaragua. Usually dabbling in watercolours, oil paintings, photography, etchings and Lino cut prints, Lewis creates to seek understanding of the world and communicate the acknowledgement of desires from needs, as well as disingenuous advertising when it comes to art and self-exposure. “It is not enough to know and to show, it also has to be lived and experienced,” he tells Greenpointers. Continue reading →
Born into a family of architects and photographers, Bolivian artist Diego Romay had wanted to go to art school with no other purpose than doing what he liked. Four years after graduating and saving money he made from a couple of art shows, Diego had the chance to study abroad and come to North America with his family’s support. He found mentors in a shop in Washington, DC who taught him the techniques of professional tattooing. After two years of learning, his experience and love for the craft led him to permanently relocate to Brooklyn. Continue reading →
You’ve probably seen her work around Instagram. And if you haven’t, Jenna Bouma of East River Tattoo(1047 Manhattan Ave) is known for her signature style illustrations – characterized by bold, vintage icons with a dismal charm… all done without the help of a machine. Her commitment to hand poking purveys a traditional emphasis on taking one’s time and doing it well, despite a high-volume clientele. In the midst of today’s mindful action concerning “faster/cheaper” output (which by the way, her Instagram handle is “@slowerblack“), it’s another admirable reason to put her on today’s spotlight.
As a local historian it always amazes me how rich Greenpoint history is and how much local history is forgotten. I wrote a book called Greenpoint Brooklyn’s Forgotten Past to reveal these stories, but I just came across another fascinating, but tragic local story. The tale of the great Irish born painter John Mulvany who once was the toast of the Chicago art world, but became homeless in Greenpoint, Brooklyn and ended his life by drowning himself in the East River. Continue reading →
On the nippy day in January that I meet David Ellis outside of his Calyer & Diamond Street studio, men are unloading boxes into the ground level space of the three story warehouse. His studio is somewhere inside this massive complex with dusty, grey, winding hallways that faces Key Food. “I remember that this building looked derelict from the outside for most of the ’90s,” I tell David as he’s leading me into the belly of the beast. GHC Furniture and Futon Factory Outlet still have storefronts here, but most of the other space inside, David explains, now has been carved out into artist studios. “Photographers, sculptures, musicians,” he lists, as we walk past doorway after doorway on the third floor. Eventually, we reach a dead-end, where a door has been left ajar. David pushes it open. Continue reading →
Late in his life, Henri Matisse would turn to creating cutouts, which eventually covered the walls of his lofty studios from floor to ceiling inside the Hotel Excelsior Regina Palace at Cimiez in France. Matisse would direct his numerous assistants and his Russian mistress, Lydia Delektorskaya, with a 12-foot long bamboo cane from his bed, and they would all rush to adjust his colored paper compositions. Echoing Matisse in his own way, and paying homage to the beauty of industrial America, multimedia artist Michael Hambouz has created a series of 18 large-scale, cut-paper collage works called Factory Made using paper stock from the mill located in his hometown of Niles, Michigan. We met in front of The Richardson, and walked to his studio a few doors down, where his cat, Pickles, was waiting. Continue reading →