GOOD

Graffiti Graphics: Three Artists from NYC’s Street Museum of Art Take their Art Above the Streets

Three street artists draw their inspiration from New York City.

Street art and graffiti are intrinsic to the visual landscape of many locales in the United States, but New York has a particularly colorful relationship with this more guerilla form of creative expression. Driving, walking, or biking through the streets of Bushwick, the Bronx, Manhattan, or any borough of New York, for that matter, allows you a view of a stunningly vast array of murals, wheat paste posters, tags, and stencils—an array which includes anything from a thought-provoking, social commentary piece from the famously elusive Banksy to a seemingly artless, expressive outburst of a phrase hastily scrawled on a wall. And the diverse range of street art peppering New York’s landscape is indicative of many characteristics of the city—an incredibly diverse population, the breakneck speed of city life, the tumultuous emotional rollercoaster of trying to make it, or simply survive.

In recent decades, street art has increasingly gained credibility both in the art world and broader culture, making the leap out of streets and alleyways to infiltrate galleries and museum spaces. Harnessing this interest and uptick in popularity, the Street Museum of Art, an anonymous public art group based in NYC, meshed the worlds of the museum and of the street in an unconventional way. Instead of removing the art from its natural environment and transporting it into a stereotypically sterile gallery or museum environment, SMoA installed descriptive text panels alongside the art in its urban environment, in its original context, in a guerilla curatorial move. SMoA has also curated exhibitions of street art with a unique ‘traveling exhibition’ museum model, taking their operation on the road to collaborate with local artists in cities from London to Montreal to Melbourne, where they currently reside.


For the GOOD Cities Project, SMoA has set out to create a three-part billboard series by three New York City-based artists: Elle, Skewville, and Rubin. The Street Museum of Art interprets and synthesizes its experiences with New York by incorporating photographs of street art found around the city by three local artists they’ve worked with over the years, and superimposing a brief written love letter in spray paint across the top—a unique, collaborative approach to their personal histories. Elle, a Brooklyn-based artist, who originally hails from California, has been practicing street art for over five years now. Her practice as a street artist is prolific and her methods are varied, as her work manifests itself in a myriad of mediums utilizing stickers, extinguishers, wheat paste, rollers, acrylics, and more to create fascinating street art installations that illustrate her personal New York experience. Elle has climbed the Brooklyn Queens Expressway to paint billboards and projected a 200-foot video installation upon the façade of the New Museum, for two particular New York-centric works.

Since childhood, Rubin, a native of Gothenburg, Sweden, had dreamt of inhabiting what he envisioned as “the graffiti capital of the world,” often taking imaginary walks through the streets of New York, marveling at the street art he one day hoped to see in person. When he was finally able to call New York home, Rubin relished the experience of roaming the streets firsthand. With a background in graphic design, Rubin’s work bridges the worlds of abstraction and geometrically-oriented work with that of the more typographical hallmarks of graffiti, resulting in an aesthetic that is a unique blend of his adoptive Brooklyn home and his native Scandinavia.

And, finally, Skewville is arguably the most quintessential New York of the artists. Born and raised in Queens, Skewville’s work is primarily comprised of unconventional self-portraits done in large format urban murals on walls and buildings, cutouts hung from light posts, and even pasted pieces to the sides of city buses. These likenesses self-incorporate the visual characteristics of New York in a way that is deeply personal and referential to Skewville’s life experiences.

Altogether, these three artists with their different backgrounds are representative of the colorful microcosm that is New York. Though their practices may be fundamentally diverse, they each hold a special reciprocal relationship with their city, as their works live throughout the streets they are informed by. Collectively, they hope that they may help the public visually rediscover the city they hold so dear.

Stay tuned to the GOOD Cities Project this November where the Street Museum of Art’s visual love letters to New York will be exhibited, featuring images of actual street work by Elle, Rubin, and Skewville. And, if you find yourself in New York come November, keep an eye out to see their works displayed on local billboards.

For more, watch the video below made by Elle, Skewville, Rubin, and their friends at SMoA, who were so inspired by the GOOD Cities Project and, ultimately, this place that they call home. New York City has given them so much—it's the creative backdrop from which and on which they draw, and subsequently want to share with the world. Witness their love for New York firsthand through this compelling behind-the-scenes video that shares their individual experiences with this city that has shaped them, both as people as and artists.

[/vimeo]

Articles
NASA

Four black women, Engineers Christine Darden and Mary Jackson, mathematician Katherine Johnson, and computer programmer Dorothy Vaughan, worked as "human computers" at NASA during the Space Race, making space travel possible through their complex calculations. Jackson, Johnson, and Vaughn all played a vital role in helping John Glenn become the first American to orbit the Earth.

They worked behind the scenes, but now they're getting the credit they deserve as their accomplishments are brought to the forefront. Their amazing stories were detailed in the book "Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race" by Margot Lee Shetterly, which was later turned into a movie. (Darden was not featured in the movie, but was in the book). Johnson has a building at NASA named after her, and a street in front of NASA's Washington D.C. headquarters was renamed "Hidden Figures Way."

Keep Reading Show less
Science

Between Alexa, Siri, and Google, artificial intelligence is quickly changing us and the way we live. We no longer have to get up to turn on the lights or set the thermostat, we can find the fastest route to work with a click, and, most importantly, tag our friends in pictures. But interacting with the world isn't the only thing AI is making easier – now we can use it save the world, too.

Keep Reading Show less
Good News
Courtesy of John S. Hutton, MD

A report from Common Sense Media found the average child between the ages of 0 and 8 has 2 hours and 19 minutes of screen time a day, and 35% of their screen time is on a mobile device. A new study conducted by the Cincinnati Children's Hospital published in the journal, JAMA Pediatrics, found exactly what all that screen time is doing to your kid, or more specifically, your kid's developing brain. It turns out, more screen time contributes to slower brain development.

First, researchers gave the kids a test to determine how much and what kind of screen time they were getting. Were they watching fighting or educational content? Were they using it alone or with parents? Then, researchers examined the brains of children aged 3 to 5 year olds by using MRI scans. Forty seven brain-healthy children who hadn't started kindergarten yet were used for the study.

They found that kids who had more than one hour of screen time a day without parental supervision had lower levels of development in their brain's white matter, which is important when it comes to developing cognitive skills, language, and literacy.

Keep Reading Show less
Health
via KTVU / YouTube

The 63-year-old Oakland-Alameda Coliseum, currently branded the RingCentral Coliseum, is one of the most decrepit sports venues in America.

The home to the the NFL's Oakland Raiders (until they move to Las Vegas next season) and MLB's A's, is notoriously known as the Black Hole and has made headlines for its frequent flooding and sewage issues.

One of the stadium's few positive aspects is its connection to public transportation.

Keep Reading Show less
Hero Video
via Anadirc / Flickr

We spend roughly one-third of our life asleep, another third at work and the final third trying our best to have a little fun.

But is that the correct balance? Should we spend as much time at the office as we do with our friends and family? One of the greatest regrets people have on their deathbeds is that they spent too much of their time instead of enjoying quality time with friends and family.

Lawmakers in the United Kingdom have made a significant pledge to reevaluate the work-life balance in their country.

Keep Reading Show less
Lifestyle