Wednesday, 5 January 2011

New York Street Art - Where are you?

Having lived in London for the past 3.5 years I perhaps have been spoiled by the riches of street art that present themselves around every corner from me.

Want to see a Roa?  That's down the street on Hanbury.  How about a few Invaders?  That's a bit longer, about a 4 minute stroll up brick lane.  Ronzo, D-Face, David Walker, Banksy, they're all in the area.

So it was with much excitment that in my week home for the holidays I spent half a day walking around New York, preparing to be impressed with what was happening in the scene.  I was sure I was going to stumble upon a few Swoons, the odd Shep mural, or at least some great paste-ups from artists I had previously not heard of.

Not really knowing where to go in the city, I consulted a few blogs, did some googling and asked some friends.  I knew most galleries were going to be closed...but this being street art, was not too fussed.

All signs pointed towards the lower east side (my geography of the city not being that great, I was mainly around Spring Street, Bowery, Bleeker and Houston...not sure if that's really the lower east side) so that's where I headed.

So I strolled around the streets for a bit and the first thought was that street art just isn't as prevelant as it is in London.  I kept looking towards the blank walls at the top of building wondering why there wasn't something akin to a burning candy crew image up there.  The walls on street level were painfully bare.  There seemed to be an avalanche of stickers on light posts and traffic signs, but that seemed to be the extent of it.  I got a kick out of seeing a Curtis Kulig tag as well.

I was told Spring St was a place to find great work and what I found left me disappointed.  A few interesting paste-ups, but mostly tags (while they have their place they weren't what I was looking for).

The one piece I really enjoyed was the Kenny Scharf piece at the corner of Houston and Bowery.  According to Vandalog: 

A little over a month ago, Kenny Scharf painted a mural at the Houston and Bowery mural space in NYC. I’m usually pretty indifferent to Scharf’s work, but in this instance, painting that spot was a homecoming. Kenny, LAII, Keith Haring and a few others painted a mural in the same spot back in the early 1980′s. About a week ago, the mural was dissed, as shown in the above photo. I’d say that’s pretty much the reality of painting outdoors. 

When I saw the mural it has been restored and looked really nice.

However, my question is this,where the hell is all the good street art in NYC?  I had a brief time in Brooklyn, not perhaps enough to properly look around, and didn't find anything there.

Curtis Kulig on Spring St

Inside a building off of Spring

A few nice tags here but they were hidden behind a fence. 

Really liked this paste-up.  Looked a bit like Gaia.

The abundance of stickers.  Punk Jews especially caught my attention.

Kenny Scharf Mural


  1. Less NYC and more BK for street art
    There are a few NYC spots but so few and far between, in certain parts of Brooklyn is a treasure trove of street art but also some of those parts are the real hood

  2. I recently spent a long weekend in Brooklyn and have exactly the opposite view.

    Bushwick and north Williamsburg/Greenpoint are as rich in graffiti as anywhere I've seen in any city and, refreshingly, in six days, with the exception of a couple of atypical bast/.faile doors, I saw maybe two stencils.

    There's a hell of a lot of tags, throw-ups, pieces, and production walls to enjoy as well as pieces from international visitors you'd know from London - from the great such as sweet toof, Invader, Lucy Mac and Ludo to the less than great d*face, Nick Walker, Roa and the like, all left their mark in the last year or so and almost of their work is still there to enjoy if those things float your boat.

    When wandering across the Lower East Side and over towards Chelsea I saw plenty of superb graff, although most might (happily) fall outside of what would be called 'street art'. As an example, stepping out of a subway in Chinatown and the first thing I see is an amazing history extinguisher piece and a mr bones rooftop roller. I thought graff would be limited in Manhattan and, relative to BK, it was, but my camera was out and busy all over the city. I'm in the process of uploading hundreds and hundreds of images to Flickr...

  3. interesting man, i'd love to see the pics once you have them uploaded, if you can put some locations even better! I'm sure i'll be back in the next few months.

  4. Some already up on my flickr, here's a link to the set:


  5. ia;amlookingfor a local artist that painted oil and chalk in the westvillage in nyc he's my father david farkas haven't seen him in many years if you have info please contact me at or on face book same name thank you


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