I hardly noticed when NYC’s gritty vibe, with graffiti ubiquitously peppering the subways, started fading away. I notice it more now, now that it has devolved into the realm of nostalgia, of how things used to be, and reemerged into a respected art form – enough to have mass-market appeal and allow a rebellious kid who went around tagging up to grow up and make a career out of these once seemingly aimless interests.
“Beyond The Streets,” an exhibition celebrating “street art, graffiti, and beyond” is the brainchild of Roger Gastman, born from his affinity for counter-culture. Underlying the grandiose scale at which the works of 150 artists show in over 100,000 sq ft of space at Williamsburg’s Twenty Five Kent, is a personal homage to the excitement and allure of those formative years that buttressed the evolution of his passions into a sold-out show in L.A. In its NYC debut, the array of art including new works from widely recognizable names like Shepard Fairey, show alongside ephemera for context and memorabilia from Roger’s personal collection.
The juxtaposition of underground and mainstream, of play and profound, sets a unique experience of discovery that appeals to visitors of all ages. One minute you stumble upon a collection of graffiti-ridden model trains by Tim Conlon and the next minute you will find yourself immersed in a beautiful installment of flowers by DabsMyla. The majority of artwork has been made exclusively for the show, and for those of us who are locals you might see some familiar names – FAILE, whose mural dons the brick wall in Transmitter Park, is one of the participating artists.
Intermediate School 318 (101 Walton St.) is now hosting a large-scale mural by street artists ASVP spanning five stories and featuring balancing endangered species to start a conversation about the earth’s sustainability.
The mural, entitled “Equilibrium,” was one of two murals painted at the school last summer as part of #THEPOINTNYC, a Climate Week NYC project produced by Greenpoint Innovations in partnership with Comics Uniting Nations, Hypokrit Theatre Company, Rattlestick Playwrights Theater and the United Nations Children’s Fund.
Vintage clothing retailer Walk the West (150 Franklin St.) is currently displaying a large framed print of “Equilibrium” that is for sale and the store is helping to sell the smaller signed 15″ X 20″ prints. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of the prints will go toward the parent-teacher association of IS318. The limited edition signed 15″ X 20″ prints can also be purchased online.
“We hope that in addition to raising money for the school, these prints will help us continue raising awareness about human-driven climate change and the urgency for all people, particularly the youth, to take action,” said Stephen Donofrio, founder of Greenpoint Innovations. “We’re grateful to ASVP for their support, talent, and ongoing generosity with this project.” Continue reading →
I love this time of year when Fall starts trickling in and warm sunny days are tempered with a little bit of crisp in the air. So last week, when Mother Earth granted us a couple of these perfect days, I decided to work outside and stepped into Transmitter Park, where I was met by a gargantuan illustration of a girl donning traditional Polish socks, in peaceful repose, holding daisies that have lost a few petals that are blowing away. The image though large, blends in unassumingly with the quiet midday scene of the park and is reminiscent of an idyllic innocent childhood. At times like this, it’s hard to remember that just a few years ago, this part of Greenpoint was slammed by Hurricane Sandy and we have been experiencing some erratic behavior with the weather since.
You don’t need to study scientific evidence to know that climate change is real. However subtle or extreme it is in the way it manifests itself in our daily lives, its presence is often like an elephant in the room and we carry on with the same habits even after being shaken up by a natural disaster. I wonder if Transmitter Park will recede with rising sea levels and the days of dipping out of the office to soak in the sun and enjoy the cityscape are numbered. I think about unusually warm winter days and how it felt unsettling. Appreciation of the moment’s beauty sinks in and I gain a renewed sense of urgency that something needs to be done. Continue reading →
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.
If you ride the East River Ferry you’ve likely seen the 20-foot-tall letters that spell out JEFFREY GAMBLERO on the dock of the India Street stop. They are outlined in black and filled in with a vivid aqua green. It is the color of surgical scrubs, of Winterfresh gum and cartoon characters, and a fitting hue for what has become an unofficial landmark of the Greenpoint waterfront.
If you don’t know, now you know, Greenpoint! Every season, the gorgeous Greenpoint Loft comes alive with FREE fun activities, food & refreshments, music, and epic local shopping. And on Sunday, February 7th (1-7PM) we’re spreading the love the Greenpoint way at ourannual Valentine’s Market!
“Invader loves pizza. And apparently ours,” said Vinnie’s co-owner Henrik Toncic. “He and his crew stayed for lunch after completing the job. Chill down to earth Parisians. We feel very lucky. And proud. And it’s never gonna get old walking up to it.”
According to Toncic, Invader custom-made his pizza critter especially for Vinnie’s, matching it to their logo and everything.
As tempting as it is, though, to say that pizza (and pizza alone) brought them together, Toncic has been part of the street art community his entire life. A mutual friend, photographer Stephen Kelley, facilitated the fateful meeting.
“Do you remember what it was like? There was garbage everywhere.” AB and I are talking about New York City in the 80s, when he used to ride along with his father, who drove all over the city for work. I remember what it was like. It was the total antithesis of this sanitized college-town vibe that’s been creeping up and down the East River for the last decade or so. It was nasty and it was New York, and the denizens of that nastiness knew how to look for beauty in the rough. For AB and his boys, that beauty was graffiti art. Continue reading →
Holly’s HeART by Hand (172 Greenpoint Ave) is a new art & maker learning center and handmade shop. After several years of working the market circuit, owner and long-time Greenpoint resident Holly Fairall is putting down brick and mortar roots here.
The shop carries work from many local artists and fair-trade goods from global craftspeople including a beautiful collection of eco-friendly cards, jewelry, home goods, specialty foods, incense, and paper goods. In addition to all the products being ethically produced and eco-friendly, the prices are unbeatable, with an average cost of $25. If you ever need a unique gift, this is the place to go. Continue reading →