I love street art - it's easily one of my favorite parts of New York City's changing landscape. I learned quickly that to live in this city - like many other places - you have to make peace with, and even find a way to enjoy, all the constant and endless transformation.
Here, restaurants and businesses are always opening and closing, scaffolding being set up and torn down. You switch jobs or you move apartments, exchanging one set of roommates or friends for another - be they animal, stranger, or friend. Rent goes up. Every street and neighborhood becomes unfamiliar with enough time. A place you once loved becomes foreign, unrecognizable - or it disappears. Then you find something, a place somewhere that you had never noticed before, and it becomes your sanctuary. And as always, life goes on.
The yin and yang of discovery and destruction is an unavoidable thing here, and street art is a very tangible example. Art is always being created and painted over, with new art taking its place.
Because so much art changes over so quickly, I try to snap a quick picture of any piece that I want to remember. The one above, I found just a few hours ago today on my way home from yoga class. There are a lot of pieces included here from the HOWL! Festival in Tompkins Square Park - it's one of my favorite annual events in the area. While the work created there isn't "street art" in the traditional sense, it's a great way to see a lot of great and diverse artists together, and I thought their work was worth sharing. Below is a quick collection of some of my favorite pieces and artists that I've found over the years - hope you enjoy!
No NYC street art post would be complete without mentioning Chico, a well known local artist whose distinctive style is instantly recognizable. His murals can be seen all over the East Village and Lower East Side - below is just a small sample of his work.
I can't publish this post without also including something from De La Vega, an important New York City street artist, whose work appears all over East Harlem and the East Village. He is well known for the inspiring, positive, and political content of his art - some of his most famous work includes the phrase "Become Your Dream" ("Realiza Tu Sueño" en español). Nick once found an old coffee table on the street that had been tagged "Become Your Dream" in huge letters by him in Sharpie, and he kept that thing for years, until it finally fell apart. I don't have a picture of any of his recent work, but I do have a picture of a print we have, and below that, a piece of paper that Nick found on the street, featuring his work. I have included both below -
In March of 2013, I went on tour with Banana Bag & Bodice to the UK - we were in Brighton, a beautiful seaside town, and then Bristol, an interesting and artistic city with lots of winding streets.There's a district in downtown Bristol much like The Wynwood Walls in Miami - the city set aside certain spaces and surfaces for artists, offering them a place to create. The result is a district full of beautiful, memorable, and unique pieces - below, a couple of my favorites.
Thanks for reading, and hope you enjoyed the art today!
My name is Eileen, and I'm a yoga teacher and jewelry designer based in NYC. I love to think and write about yoga, wellness, and philosophy, along with practical ways to incorporate these things into daily life. I love hearing new perspectives and learning from other people - please comment, ask questions, and add your voice to this blog!