manhattan

a change is gonna come…

A week late but finally the world has calmed down for a second of two and I have time to reflect on last week’s major event.  What major event is that?  The largest mass demonstration for change to come along in a long time.  When the dust settled the final attendance is estimated to be about 400K.  If you ever want to feel like an ant, this is the way to do it. But it was also an exhilarating celebration of the power of people, just everyday people, not the rich, not the poor, not any one color, shape, age or voice, just people, the most diverse crowd I have ever seen at any NY parade or event.  They came from all corners and many countries. People wanting something better for the world, better for us all.  No debates here for me,  I am a firm believer in science and it was nice to see so many others looking for a change.

Sticky humid at first the weather remained just that edge of perfect never too hot but never bright and sunny either.

No more words….  the journey begins…

 

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Check back for part 2 which includes a magical moment.

So, next time then…

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the random files….a complete brainwashing

So, there was this “happening” last week, but first a little background. Many of you have probably seen the movie “Exit Through the Gift Shop”. If you haven’t and you have any interest at all in street art it is an intriguing piece and well worth your time.

Whether you believe it is a factual documentary or a fictional creation out of the mind of street artist, Banksy, it makes a “character” out of it’s leading man, Thierry Guetta, now forever known as Mr. Brainwash. Is he a figment of the imagination? Is he a creation? Is he a well thought out hoax on the art world and world at large? Who really knows, (well he and Banksy, Shepard Fairey and a few others have a clue) but in the end, does it matter? In one way or another he has put in his time, paid a few dues and still gets out there on the street. If his message is juvenile or derivative again, does it really matter. Art is subjective we all see what we want to see. Who becomes huge, who makes it and sees the big bucks, again, extremely fickle and based on so many factors there is no clear cut path to success. Does a piece make you feel something? Sometimes even the feeling of disgust is worthy of a moment of thought.

So with that, on to the present, Mr. Brainwash was in town last week and Century 21 became his palette, a tribute to 9-11 his goal. A goal he achieved albeit with the usual critics and naysayers in full force. I found out he was working after his first night. Went downtown during the day and saw that the image was incomplete and he had more work to do.

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So back downtown at midnight to see if we could catch the man in action.  The subway ride was interesting and I could write a whole post about Mr. Asscrackman and the other fellow citizens who obviously only come out at night, but that is for another day.   When we arrived we caught the installation team in full force.

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And the man himself, Mr. Brainwash, MBW on site.

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The paper panels waiting to be attached to the wall.

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A plan of the entire project was on view as a guide.

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And about Thierry himself; what a burst of pure positive energy, impossible to not feel his exuberance.  He believes in what he is doing, believes in his message and every fiber of his being projects that when you meet him in person.  We hung around for a couple of hours and watched him at work.  Always a cigarette in his hand and always in action, never still.

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Firefighters from out of state here for the 9-11 ceremonies stopped by at one point.

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At about 2 in the morning my need for bed took us home but we came back the next morning to see the finished piece.

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And luck would have it.. as we turned to leave I spotted the man himself.. no sleep, running on fumes and still willing to give a hug, a smile and mug for a shot or two.  So, real or fictional, schlock or DaVinci, I am on Brainwash’s team just for the sheer fun of it all.

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Read the other day that Thierry so loves New York he has decided to make it his home 6 months out of the year.  His goal? To buy a building in SoHo to use as a residence, studio and open art space.

My dream actually… To buy a big building live on the top floor and rent the lower floors out as studio live/work spaces for artists for little to no money as long as they do work with the community and keep my building covered with art… pipe dream, but hey, might as well put it out into the Universe, never know what could happen.

So next time then…

a visit with the terracotta daughters…

Rainy day today in New York, the perfect opportunity to take in the new exhibit at the China Institute in Lower Manhattan.  Artist Prune Nourry’s 108 girls, in the style of the Terracotta Army unearthed in China back in 1974, are now on display.   An in depth description of her project is in the photo below.

All I know is I hope I am still around in 2030 when they are unearthed… I also hope that China realizes before it is too late that they are creating their own ending, and unfortunately an ending that if it follows the course of past history will bring down a large part of the world with them.

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So, next time then….

a saturday or so – the 21st precinct

Life has been flying by lately and has been a tad bit complicated.  Went back to Santa Fe for a week but it was filled with the kind of every day, must do, mundane part of living a human life that when put on paper comes off irritating at best.  But the car did get an oil job somewhere in the middle of it all.

Back in NYC now and coming to grip with the speed of things.  So many things to see and do it feels like it all slips by slightly out of reach, but luckily sometimes you catch the end of the rope and the whip around is just enough to keep it all going.

Last weekend a show of shows opened at the 21 Precinct House in the Gramercy Park neighborhood.  Now beautiful tree lined streets and brownstones dominate the area.  But back in 1863 the precinct earned it reputation in a down and dirty neighborhood where gangs of thugs and ruffians ruled.

http://daytoninmanhattan.blogspot.com/2011/09/1863-21st-precinct-station-house-no-327.html

The police were long gone by about 1914 but the building remained,  many uses later it is finally meeting the inevitable.  Unfortunately its plum location makes it an easy sacrifice to the glass and steel beast that is devouring NYC, swallowing entire neighborhoods at breakneck pace.

So,  we know the location, now the show.  What happens when you get together a group of over 60 street artists  including legends and talented younger artisans and give them four floors of an empty shell for a canvas.  Everything and more… and from this point onwards words just aren’t going to do much.  So, I am out of them….here is my take on what may be one of most photographed shows in NYC.. 😉

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So, next time then…

 

the random files… art on the move and again away we go…

After what seems like forever it is that time again.. headed back out west for a week in Santa Fe.  Refresh the spirit with some good clean air and maybe a hike or two this time out.  We will have to wait and see on that one.  I have been averaging about five miles a day here in the city (according to my phone app) so I don’t want to just give it all up for a week.  🙂

As the theme goes, here you go, art on the move!

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so, next time then…

 

art is trash…

This summer NYC played host to a street artist from Barcelona, Spain.  In the few months he was here he certainly left his mark. Who is this artist?  None other than Francisco Depajaro, street tag, “Art is Trash” “Arte es Basura”.  Art is Trash is many faceted when it comes to Francisco’s style.  His humorous work often draws upon the remnants of our consumer culture in all of its disposable glory. His message calls out those that seek fame without substance.  The last couple of weeks I have been trying to find and photograph as many pieces as possible… because, like all good street art it is ephemeral in nature and in many cases already giving in to the streets.

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When I posted this shot on my instagram account, @bytegirl24 he responded with this message about his work…

“+ART -WORDS.  Deals with little contribution to the appreciation of art, in this case, all papers sticking egocentric pathetic names over and over again. ”

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Even an entire rooftop became his playground (taken from the J train just shy of Marcy Ave.)

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So, next time then…

some summerstreets saturday stuff

Today was the first of several Saturdays in NYC designated as Summerstreets. For a few brief hours streets normally filled with cars and buses are left to those on foot and two wheels. Today the mission was to check out the Park Avenue tunnel, usually off limits to pedestrians. There were a lot of us out there, but it never felt overly crowded. The air was crisp and clean, no smell of diesel or constant drone of engines, car horns and all the other bits of living in a busy city. Over all a very cool experience, but then I am thrilled any time I get to go somewhere new. I get especially excited when it is somewhere that is usually off limits.

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So, next time then…

three men (and one woman) at work

The last couple of weeks have been spent chasing the painters. A lot of new work this summer in New York, more than I can ever remember. The legal street art movement is booming. Many artists are getting access to spaces and getting recognition they would have never dreamed possible just a few short years ago.

For a fan girl like myself watching the process is a major part of the aesthetic of the work itself. Seeing how other’s brains create and the methods they use are an essential part of the experience.

The socially dysfunctional, slightly anal (in all the wrong ways), totally ADHD side of myself however will still rarely approach those at work. I tend to gawk, take a couple of shots and walk away. So the fact that I actually carried on a conversation with a couple of the people below, well that is major.

First up: Damien Mitchell working on a food truck bound for Dallas.

(You might remember Damien for his wonderful Nina Simone mural that I captured back during the Bushwick Collective Block Party. https://bytegirlphotography.com/2014/06/06/birds-flying-high-sun-in-the-sky-oh-and-some-damien-mitchell/)

I wasn’t around to see the finished product so this one will be a total quest to locate at some point. All you Texans be on the look out! The El Rudo Truck is out there!!

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Next up: Solus working in Little Italy for the “Little Italy Street Art Project- the LISA Project”. The boxer is a tribute to the immigrants who first settled in lower Manhattan and those that continue to come, each with their own stories and traditions. Each leaving their indelible mark on our city.

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Girl Power: You know the saying, “Girls Rule?” When it comes to painting they definitely hold their own, and in the case of some artists like Queen Andrea they accept the title of monarch quite well. Another of those great women painters is Raquel Echanique. Working on a container as part of the Centrefuge Public Art Project

https://www.facebook.com/raquel.echanique

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Last up: Also at the Centrefuge Project, J. David McKenney, a doll artist who translated one of his 3D creations into a lower east side beauty. Pidgin Doll.

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Keep checking back for pics of the finished work.

So, next time then…

to all the lives once led…

This may end up being one of my most personal posts ever. My childhood was not “father knows best” I mean it started out that way. Rural Virginia with all the social clubs that come along with it. My mother was in the “Home Demonstration Club” (as if displaying feats of housewifery could keep her or any sane woman totally satisfied) the “Garden Club” (not much gardening from my youthful perspective, a lot of sitting around and gossiping). My father was a Mason (made the rank of Master) a volunteer Firefighter and a member of the Rescue Squad, (a license to drive down country roads at breakneck speed with no fear of the law). My mother defied her diagnosis of MS for several years and from the outside it all appeared like the perfect American sitcom family. There was even church going, …the Methodists… just center enough to keep up the facade.

Then came the change, it started slowly. An hour of the Smothers Brothers show here and there, a visit to a synagogue with friends. But the slow ebb into change hit a huge brick wall when my father was transferred to upstate, New York, Schenectady to be exact. For an eight year old girl with a southern twang it might as well have been Mars. Within a year we were Jewish, my mother was a full time college student and working outside of the home and the TV that had once shown the Smother’s Brothers didn’t even make the move from Va (wicked irony when you consider my dad’s first job out of the Air Force was as a television repair man) Blue jeans became the norm and music… all at once there was music. Pete and Joan, Peter, Paul and Mary, Woody, Arlo, The Kingston Trio, Judy with her blue eyes, they become the soundtrack of the change, of that period in my life when the walls shifted.

My Parents are gone now as is Pete, but I know they were with me yesterday at Seegerfest. I know because I knew every word to every song and I heard them, not only in Judy’s or Peter’s voices, but in the voices of my mother and my father… strumming along.

The following shots were all taken yesterday at Seegerfest, part of a five day tribute to Pete Seeger put together by his Grandson. I could go on and on about the experience of waiting in line and the usual NYC hiccups but not this time, instead here….. So many memorable names and faces, how many do you know?

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So, next time then…

the random files…stumble on gallery nine5

So this started as a quest for gelato.  The Il Laboratorio del Gelato on Houston the ultimate destination.  (They have the most amazing flavors-today I had yellow watermelon and peach, the son malt and mango. The malt is just like the inside of a whopper.)

What is the stumble on?  Well,  I had a wild hair and decided instead of the normal get off the 6 at Bleeker, we would get off at Spring and walk back up to Houston along Bowery.  I always like to go past the corner of Spring and Bowery so I can say hello to Quanah one of my favorite pieces of street art by one of my favorite Artists, Dylan Egon.  You might remember I did a posting on his opening at the Jonathan Levine Gallery a while back.

https://bytegirlphotography.com/2014/04/06/scenes-from-an-opening/

Back to the stumble on… walking down Spring Street we were suddenly assaulted with the unmistakable smell of spray paint coming from a small gallery,  gallery nine5.  Group Ink is their current show which features work by several different Graffiti Artists.

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Got to watch Vor138 at work.

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The show also includes work by Alan Ket

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and Bisco Smith

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Also got to see one of my favorites at work, Shiro One.

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A great discovery and I can’t wait to go back and see the finished pieces.  And Quanah greeted me as always right there at Jay Maisel’s place.

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So,  next time then…