Graffiti Art Wall Murals: Round Two! Boo Ya! What’s Good Bushwick? New York City
“Yo! Where you been, Fam? Haven’t seen you in a minute!” Shout-outs are echoing all over Brooklyn. It’s Spring and everyone is coming out of hiding. From the sad space around the tree on the side street, a gang of daffodils are in full bloom and miraculously as of yet unpicked. Up above branches are blossoming and everything looks crisp, like everything has a brand new coat of paint. In some cases things DO have a fresh coat of paint…Spray paint that is! The Domino Sugar Factory, aka The Sugar House, is blowing up and what’s up with the roof top painting on the building across the street, along the Williamsburg Bridge - JMZ line? Is that a Banksy “Rat” painting that has been so vehemently tagged over??
As a follow up to the previous post, “Graffiti Art Wall Murals: Boo Ya! What’s Good Bushwick?” this reporter would like to highlight examples of more unconventional, less predictable looking graffiti art that is in a league above the scribble marker and spray painted tags that are a blight on the city. If the Redi Mix Cement Factory is the main attraction, the outdoor museum, then the parking lot down the street, off the corner of Harrison Place and Porter Avenue, is the adjunct gallery, and the immediate area is scattered with the work of graffiti artists with, shall I say, a more creative, painterly approach. What stands out in this setting is the site specific-ness of the paintings in relation to the buildings and facades that serve as their canvases.
To get the full tour of the area, take the L Train to the Morgan Avenue stop, just six stops out into Brooklyn from First Avenue. Exit the station through the Bogart Street- exit. There, as you exit the station, you should see a sign behind the fence – crafted by some local “feel good” artist out of wood and orange plastic construction mesh – that reads “Bushwick” just so you know where you’re at. Follow Harrison Place away from the subway exit to Morgan Avenue to check out the growing graffiti mural art showcase.
Representing the international flavor of work being put up in Bushwick, French street artist Jef Areosol‘s haunting portrait of a Playa (my title) captures a depth of personality and the human scale blends perfectly into the doorway where it is painted inside the parking lot. So much character comes through in this apparently effortless application of spray paint and stencil. Word. The guy makes it look so easy. What’s up with THAT?
The work of an anonymous artist I call “Splatter Man” or “Splash and Dash” stretches along the industrial architecture of the garage – warehouse at this location somehow perfectly laid out across the entire facade as if by some wasted giant in a scrawly paint dripping hand. This artist’s tag is the bane of many building owners and city property managers around the Bushwick and Williamsburg areas of Brooklyn, and over in Downtown Manhattan: usually a billboard sized graffito applied with some sort of hand held industrial air-spray gun. Painted in drab colors, the lurid looking text messages appear as if by magic in the night. The strongest work by this dare devil of the night are the more legible public admonishments. Some favorites of this reporter: “READ” and “TRY HARDER.” And over on Canal in Chinatown you can’t miss seeing “KNOW YOUR HISTORY.” This artist is the only one in the ville with any kind of message or mission at all — other than self promotion — which is surprising to this reporter, considering the whole world is coming unhinged as we continue to shop and text away staring down at our “smart” phones! HELLO!
Another highlight in the parking lot is a Tagger “IF”(?), who like The Artist Formerly Known As Prince, has designed a symbol to put up in lieu of the usual blasé, blasé, undecipherable scribble of street nick name tags. Now that’s Fresh!! The result is reminiscent of some Klignon-Star Trek design, which sprayed out in black and white Krylon stands out on top of all the rest.
On the brighter, more colorful tip, walk a block down Porter Avenue to see the mural work of “JMR”, a contour line – fill in the blanks style portrait of a face. This style of painting – a study of line, composition and color – is a classic technique which can be seen in the work of artists Juan Miro of Spain and the Dutch Karel Appel dating from the 1940’s. Out of the bleak brick cityscape of the industrial area this painting jumps off the wall even on the dullest of Bushwick days.
Overall there is definitely something for everyone on this little graffiti mural art walk. Just remember, in case you are so inspired to add your tag: Don’t do the CRIME if you can’t do the TIME!
Photographs by: Timothy Chapman[ad#Author test Google Adsense]