Discovering the Bushwick Collective in Brooklyn: Street Art Walk!26 June 2019
Change of scenery today. My Street Art Walk brings you & me to the heart of Brooklyn in the den of The Bushwick Collective! It’s simply one of the largest concentrations of outdoor Street Art in the world! A real gold mine in perpetual evolution for the lovers of Street Art that we are. And as you will see the artists are very different from those that can be found in Paris in the 13th arrondissement.
Before you feast with the photos of my journey, we will start with a little bit of history; because The Bushwick Collective is fairly new; it was created by Joseph Ficarola in 2011; a child from the neighborhood who did not live there only good times. He decided to change it by starting by “scribbling” himself on the walls and inviting local artists to accompany him in this process. Soon this area of sheds and factories saw artists from around the world flocking. At this moment there are 5 to 6 new murals that are born each week! The Bushwick Collective has no ultra-strict rule except to leave the frescoes grandiose at least a year before covering them. And grandiose frescoes there are, you can believe me!
The artists your really must see from the Bushwick Collective!
Some artists have been there since the beginning of the Bushwick Collective adventure; while others took the train “en route” but with frescoes shared on social networks around the world; they all helped to make this neighborhood of Brooklyn known. If you’re not crazy about Street Art some names will not tell you anything; but with my selection of photos, I am certain that without knowing it you have already seen those on your social networks!
Sipros, a Brazilian artist who creates very caricatural characters in rather humorous situations. His super-heroes with big ears did not fail to make me smile, just like his more realistic faces. The quality of his frescoes and his level of technicality make him a reference, a source of inspiration for other artists. As soon as one of his frescoes covered; you can be sure that he is making a new one!
My huge crush on this walk … Li-Hill, a Canadian artist who now lives in Brooklyn. I do not really have words to describe the effect Wow that his frescoes have had on me … The intensity, the details; the wall he made in collaboration with the artist Adnate is incredibly powerful; the title of the work “Freedom” leaves no room for doubt. As for the second wall, it prints a dynamic, something feline, fierce and powerful; Li-Hill is by far my absolute favorite artwork of this epic in Brooklyn.
Solus is a Street Artist from Dublin who has also recently exhibited in galleries. Her boxing glove dancer is an excellent example of her work, which focuses on inner demons and the challenges of life.
Street Art geometer Chris Soria has always been present in the Bushwick Collective and in New York, where he is a native. It has on one side a very graphic universe, in the manner of Victor Vasarely. Besides, the two frescoes photographed during my walk could show him as a maniac of geometry. But in his artwork, he visits many other universes and is certainly the most socially engaged and recognized artist for his fight against inequalities and urban poverty.
The man with a thousand faces, Hendrik Beikirch, a German artist who almost always paints in black and white gigantic portraits loaded with life and expression; so loaded, that we have this unpleasant sensation of impolitely interfering with the intimate of the painted character!
I do not know if I really need to introduce Joe Iurato; he is a New Jersey artist who has become a staple, he has gone from street art to galleries with phenomenal speed, and his little guys in gray color swatches photographed in comical situations have become the kings of social networks all over the world.
In Bushwick we find ourselves in front of a mind-blowing number of works, a collection that never end; something that makes us turn our heads. And if I reviewed all the artists, one by one, it is not a blog that I would be writing but an encyclopedia! For the pleasure of your eyes, here are some images of the most famous artists belonging to this incredible collective!
The French Street Art is present in Brooklyn 😉
As I am French, its is normal for me to check out if some of our Frenchies are also in Bushwick! So it is without surprise while I’ve find a stencil of Jef Aérosol on the other side of the Atlantic; it is a legend of the French Street Art who works on the walls of the whole world – even the wall of China passed there. His early works represented icons of Rock and himself. But his current stencils are more oriented towards others. His iconic signature is a small red arrow.
The most amazing for me was to fall on this very starry graffiti of Franck Duval FKDL; I had met this artist at Lab14 in Paris; an abandoned building where you could follow the work of the artists for the duration of the exhibition; there was something very glamorous in her female characters that I found with great pleasure in Brooklyn.
Another Frenchman, whose work on personality portraits like Basquiat, Serge Gainsbourg, Bob Marley and Miles Davis, was rather surprising to me because of his large mural in Jefferson Street depicting two handcuffed hands on the piano! This is OJI. I let you interpret his work in your own way 😉
And then this degraded collage that I found very moving, with a message “Diversity is Hope” by the artist Raf Urban. Small note for Street Art’s addict, this artists have done a lot of new collage in New York City!
My favorites and pleasant discoveries!
You have certainly understood my real favorite, of this great ballad of 8 Km, was Li-Hill without any hesitation; but here are some artists that have captured my eyes and hold my attention. They are not necessarily part of the Bushwick Collective and are not all known; but they are there and I found it nice to show you their artwork.
I was captivated by the extremely complex and ultra-colorful stencil work of Cabaio Spirito, from Argentina, and it is not surprising that he has entered the very closed circle of the collective Bushwick!
Brooklyn-born Sara Erenthal is an artist committed to freedom and Women’s rights. Her almost expressionist women faces and her messages delivered in all simplicity have attracted my attention more than once!
A look that sets you, waves in the hair, incredible colors for this work of the Syrian artist Dina Saadi. “Love is Color” made me want to take a chair and simply contemplate, as if I were in a museum.
As soon as I got out of the Jefferson Street subway station, I came face to face with this collage by Dede Bandaid, A kind of auspicious bird that would be made of pieces of wood, and then there was that ram … A performance animals quite new in its treatment so that we linger a little on this artist from Tel Aviv who has a much more varied work if we dig a little.
This magic tree by Pejac, is a true optical illusion. This Spanish artist is one of the kings of trompe l’oeil! He uses natural scenery and modifies them with bombs and stencils. The rendering is very poetic, all in discretion. Especially that in some streets of Bushwick the trees seem to be missing.
I loved this character invented from scratch. And the detail of these two mini-hands hung … Unfortunately I do not know the artist behind this fresco! But maybe you can help me! Please!
Another artist that I could not identify despite his signature, and whose work I liked a lot by its freshness. So this is my second call for help if there are among you street art specialists!
I first thought that I was in front of a work by the world-famous artist Swoon. But no, this is the collaboration of the artist Jess X.snow for the project “Unbroken by Bars” which examines the problems faced by women and girls who are incarcerated and formerly incarcerated. This group fights for the rights of incarcerated women who give birth to be respected. A strong and powerful project like the work presented.
I loved the freshness that emanated from this wall; with Lola The Illustrator on the one hand, who, at the age of 11, mixes various techniques, leaves to insert real Skateboard wheels into his fresco and The Soph makes us share with her Alien who smiles all the candor of his 9 years.
Beyond the collective Bushwick and always in Brooklyn!
In Brooklyn the Street Art has spilled out of its original neighborhood and it is continuing the ride that we discover again and again. Hundreds of graffiti, frescoes, stencils, We do not know where to turn. You will find on my Instagram account a hundred pictures of murals and graffiti of all kinds Do not hesitate to take a look, it’s worth the detour!
How to get to Bushwick Collective?
If you have the chance to visit New York; Brooklyn is only half an hour by subway from midtown Manhattan; Jefferson Street Station – line L- is located right in the heart of Bushwick and rest assured the neighborhood is absolutely not dangerous. In the evening either. I do not recommend paid tours; because what is nice is to discover by yourself and take the time to get lost in this neighborhood is more than surprising. And if you are hungry, carnivorous or vegetarian, I recommend the Hard Times Cafe; a rock tavern that serves very good things with good fresh produce!
Even if you have looked at all my photos with attention, you can be sure that you will discover other frescoes in Bushwick, it is an incredible place of exhibition in perpetual evolution. And personally I have only one hurry: go back!
If you want to continue to travel thanks Street Art, I am inviting you to my Street Art section in the blog! Sure you will love it!