art

battle on… secret walls…

We have contests for anything and everything so drawing shouldn’t be any different, right?  Last night a battle of epic proportions went down in Astoria/Long Island City, Queens.  Hosted by the Paper Factory Hotel (a nice boutique oasis in the middle of a very industrial neighborhood) Secret Walls gathered fifteen New York City artists in a showdown for the ages (and this was just a qualifying round).

What is Secret Walls?  It is an organization that promotes drawing “battles” all over the world.  Simple rules – always and only black on white (it really shows off the competitors true skills) and a 90 minute time limit.  A panel of judges and the audience pick the winners.

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The anticipation builds before the beginning of the war.

And…  WE ARE OFF!

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Amazing works of art begin to appear as the challengers battle in the cold autumn air.  Some of the best street artists in NYC and a couple of newcomers gave it everything including (and in no particular order):  Lamour Supreme, Chris RWK, Miss Zukie, Martha Alicia, Abe Lincoln, Jr., Sasha Fay, Wizard Skull, Scott Liam Walker, Cosbe, Mastro, AdrianKart.

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All and all a fantastic evening and real gathering of talent, right here in Queens 🙂

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so, next time then…

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the random files – on the move again

Random Files back again because we are NYC bound once again…

Perfect canvasses that reach thousands a day.  Art on the move across the city.  

I have been known to break into a full sprint hoping that a light turns red.  More than once I have missed a beauty going by.  I think that is what makes them so much fun, a real hunt  for a prey that can be just about anywhere at any time. Just one more way that street artists make every day living in a city that can sometimes be challenging, a little bit more enjoyable.. an occasional treat drives by and reminds you of why it is worth putting up with all the other stuff.

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So,  next time then…

a happening or two…

Bushwick, Brooklyn is on fire.  This weekend marks the annual Bushwick Open Studios Event.  An every growing art mecca the event combines street, studio and performance artists at a series of street fairs and block parties throughout the borough.  Today the area near the Morgan Street L was buzzing.  Sponsored by Pine Box Rock Shop artists came from all over the country to participate.

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This is where the story gets really funny.. see the poster above?  The son decided to take them up on the offer and is now sporting a perfect Kim Jon-Uh Do.. Lol, want a peek?  check out my instagram @bytegirl24

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Always glad to see Matthew Silver out there entertaining and spreading the love.

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Yes, that is a slice of real pizza on his head.

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Tomorrow we head to the Bushwick Collective Block Party.. more fun for sure!

So, next time then…

sphinxing on the sweet side…

So, there is this exhibit at the Domino Sugar Factory in Brooklyn that everyone is buzzing about.  It has been in all the art blogs, written up in the New York Times, etc… lots of press.  I read a few of them and still really didn’t know what to expect or how I would react.  I told the son it was likely, given what I had seen, that I would spend the entire time in fits of giggles.  What would be laughable? Well, a humongous sugar sphinx that somehow resembles a topless Aunt Jemima for starters.  Of course I realize there really is deep meaning in the work and how it addresses the horrible injustices done by the sugar industry but…  How do I put this simply,  I am hopelessly immature in most instances, probably another side effect of chasing rabbits and everything else that moves.

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The line stretched a long ways along the construction wall in front of the factory, so the first thought was not again,  an overcrowded over long wait.  But luckily it moved quickly and before you know it we were at the front and headed down the path.  I thought immediately of Willy Wonka and the magical gates opening for Charlie,  golden ticket in tow.

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The first view inside of the Sphinx in the distance. The size alone made me immediately rethink any thought of a giggle, scraping my jaw off the floor and resisting the urge to skip around the space took immediate precedence.  And then there was the space, oh the space, cavernous, empty and still thick with the smell of years and years of molasses cooked in its giant furnaces.  

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Another surprise, the sugar babies, statues made of resin and then coated with molasses and brown sugar.  Melting into puddles at their base each carried a basket full of molasses jewels.

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Unlike so many other “happenings” in NYC this one never felt crowded, largely due to the enormity of the venue.

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And there she was, looming over the crowd in all her glory…

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I came away profoundly glad I went.  She was beautiful and awe inspiring.  I also came away sad, sad that we are losing another one of those irreplaceable spaces in the name of high-priced housing and the quick buck for developers.  It is a disgrace that the factory is being demolished.  I am all for progress, but I am also a firm believer that our history grounds us and is essential to a positive evolution as a society.  When we lose spaces like this, we lose a piece of who we are.  

For more about the artist, Kara E. Walker and the Sugar Sphinx:

http://creativetime.org/projects/karawalker/

For more about the Domino Sugar Factory:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Domino_Sugar_Refinery_(Brooklyn)

So, next time then…

 

the egg-venture begins

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As many of you might know,  New York has been invaded by eggs,  a couple of hundred, 266 possibly rumored to be 268 to be exact or maybe not exact.. but somewhere there abouts, hidden in all 5 boroughs.

The Big Egg Hunt sponsored by Faberge http://thebigegghunt.org 

My youngest son is turning 18 soon,  his whole life ahead of him and away from home to find his own.  He and I have always gone on grand adventures:  we roadtripped across the West, we have collected minerals, geodes and fossils all over the Southwest, we have explored caves and mountains.   I will miss those times so much.

One last grand adventure…   How many eggs could we find together and how many more lessons could I teach him in navigating the world.  So our mission begins today in Little Italy and continues through the Lower East Side.  

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So many discoveries along the way,  Economy Candy on Rivington was overwhelming and wonderful all at once.

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We will stop here for the first installment,  many more to come.  In the last few days I have been inside museums, barber shops, tattoo parlours, galleries, stores, bakeries, restaurants, hotels and others.  So,  stay tuned….

 

fresh wounds

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I will probably write about 5pointz many times.  I still really haven’t been able to figure out how to put all of my feelings into words.  Of course there are the easy things that can be said.  The irony of how something can be such a large part of its own demise.  Reality, if 5pointz didn’t exist MoMa may never have come.  If MoMa hadn’t come,  maybe the hipsters would have stayed on the other side of Newtown Creek for a few more years.

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 And no,  I really can’t define “hipster” but I am using it here as a catch all for the shiny people in fake vintage wear who exit Courthouse Square in droves on the weekends.  The people who figured out how convenient Long Island City really is to the rest of the world.  Some say that is the natural progression of a city and I suppose it is,  but progress is not always positive, no matter how the package is sold.  

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Promises were made that have already been broken,  the owners acted in bad faith and with epically stupendous short-sightedness.  I guess I am a dreamer, but there were many visions that could have been profitable for all involved but as is the nature of our society the need for instant gratification, greed and arrogance won the day.

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 I can pretend that business will be hard going forward, but with friends in high places and an ever hungry market,  money will still be made.  So if such a thing as Karma exists,  I have many suggestions for re-births.  Maybe as a cochineal scale,  to be ground into a pigment, mixed into a paint and applied to a wall celebrating the 100 year anniversary of the 5pointz movement!

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So let the gentrification continue,  but don’t think for a moment that street art will somehow disappear into the sea of glass and steel.  

modern spin

So.. a couple of days ago I became intrigued with a performance art piece going on in Williamsburg.  Seems two artists designed a human sized hamster wheel *or should I say humster wheel * that they are living on for ten days.     

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Artists Alex Schweder and Ward Shelley call their piece “in orbit” and speak  of collaboration and cooperation, both of which are essential components of the installation.  I didn’t know what to expect before going.  I had read a few pieces questioning the whys and a few descriptions but I really wasn’t prepared to actually enjoy it.

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Every single activity requires they work together.  If one goes to bed,  they both go to bed.  If one wants to sit and read at a chair, they both must sit at the chair.  After 10 days I think I would be heading to the woods in order to try to get my own life back or at the very least locking myself in my own bathroom for a day and a half.

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In the end the final message for me: we are living in an Ikea world.

I am still questioning within myself why I enjoyed this when usually I have to nod and pretend to get things in order to not appear a troglodyte in someone else’s world.  Maybe it is because of the extreme commitment a piece like this takes,  maybe it is the synchrony and  cooperation, the perfect balance of the spinning wheel.  Or maybe it is simply because in the end it made me giggle.  Oh and the Boiler Room, worth seeing with or without an exhibit, what a great space!

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For more information about “in orbit” check out these links

http://www.pierogi2000.com/2014/02/ward-shelley-and-alex-schweder-at-the-boiler/

http://gothamist.com/2014/03/02/videos_photos_of_those_guys_living.php#photo-6

http://bigstory.ap.org/article/nyc-artists-live-human-hamster-wheel

bushwick bound – the jerkface one

Not a lot of words  tonight.  The pics speak for themselves.  It is always such a treat to see someone in the process of creation.  

Being in the presence of talent borders on being my ultimate fix.

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Jerkface working in Bushwick for the Bushwick Collective 

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To see more of Jerkface’s work head over to https://www.facebook.com/JerkFaceNYC or http://www.jerkfacenyc.com

bushwick bound part II

The Bushwick Collective has grown by leaps and bounds in a very short time.  It was born out of one man’s attempt to find something to replace the graffiti he was constantly forced to cover on his family business. It has become a thriving street art gallery with painters coming from all over the world to transform its many walls.  

Street art is here to stay,  it has entered our mainstream lives just like rock music and blue jeans.  It is nice seeing it embraced to make a positive change in a community.  Greedy landowners, take notice…  5pointz will come back to haunt you.

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a family business.. a twenty-first century canvas

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/05/nyregion/a-son-of-bushwick-turns-the-neighborhood-into-a-gallery-for-street-art.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

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A street artist must be willing to allow their work to fall prey to the elements, to become something different than sometimes intended and they must be willing to allow others to collaborate on their creations.  Because of this many pieces become their best selves as they fall victim to time. 

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When I photograph street art I always hope I do it justice.  I never want to steal their work but to  show it through another’s eyes and preserve it in time. At some point everyone should experience it in person.   The size and scale of some pieces add to the overall experience and are often an important element in the message the artist is trying to convey.  

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Every street promises a new discovery.  Since we visited last year so many more new pieces have appeared.  And still more to see on our walk so,  as with last time, 

to be continued…

 

bushwick bound

Welcome to a world of adventure brought to you by the MTA.  Every NYer will tell you there are those certain weekends throughout the year that take on a whole new meaning.  Getting from point A to point B becomes an exercise in patience and futility.  And when you finally reach your intended destination you feel like someone should hand you a metal, a warming blanket and a nice hot shower with lysol.  

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So of course, yesterday I had to go to Bushwick, it would be an adventure, we will learn how to outwit the MTA …yeah I had all those thoughts.  You can stop laughing now.

We started with a walk to Queens Plaza, several subway stations later and with the kindness of a booth worker we made it to Bushwick.

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Knickerbocker Avenue was bustling and full of wonderful smells, colors and sounds. A Saturday afternoon with a break in the horrible weather brings the crowds.  We live in small spaces in NYC. The need to expand the area around us gets increasingly urgent as the winter drones on, especially this winter.  The street was humming and Knickerbocker definitely has its own rhythm. 

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 My mission was to walk north, far enough to hit the industrial area where the Bushwick Collective reigns.

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I have a feeling we are coming closer…

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yes definitely almost there

to be continued….