Sunday, May 6, 2007

Graffitied trucks!

Today's post comes from a parking lot in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. I noticed this truck walking back to my apartment from the L train, and it was too interesting to pass up taking a Polaroid of.
I've walked by this parking lot several times since this Polaroid was taken, and both this truck and VW bug have been parked in the same place. I've peeked in the windows of the van, and it looks like it could be being used as a residence. The front of the truck also has two eyeball stickers on it, giving the truck an anthropomorphic quality. There are odd creatures drawn on the side of the truck, as well as words. The tags, along with the pinky-purple color of the truck give it a very eccentric feeling. I wonder if perhaps the truck belongs to the artist whose work is showcased on the sides of the truck.
I am always fascinated by any vehicle I see that has graffiti on it. I like to think of these vehicles as moving art exhibitions. I also wonder how people manage to tag vehicles. Much of the tagging must be done under the cover of the night, so where do they find a light source? Do they have look outs, people to help them? I suppose they must.
That's all for this post. Check back soon!

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Driggs Avenue, Part Deux!

I know, I know. Another post from Driggs Avenue? It may seem a bit like overkill to do two posts from the same street so close together, but I couldn't resist with such a cool tag.

Today's Polaroid comes from Greenpoint, Brooklyn. It is located on Driggs Avenue between Manhattan Avenue and Lorimer Street. It's a little hard to see, and the color in this picture does not do it justice, but this post's tag is of a strange looking face. The face is actually a bright baby blue, and the hair is a bright yellow.

The person depicted is a little bit creepy looking, with big eyes and a frowny mouth. The hair is pulled back into a sort of cowlick-pony tail. Above the head is a graffiti tag. I'm not sure if it's the tag of the artist who created the face, or if it's someone else's.

The location of the tag is interesting, because as you can see, it's several feet off of the ground. The artist had to get up there somehow. As you can see, there is a structure underneath, but it is obviously in disrepair. I am always fascinated by how artists are able to create such works in such awkward places. I would love to know their secrets!

If you feel like checking out this particular piece out, I recommend going on a Saturday or Sunday and stopping at Enid's for brunch. There's always a line, but it's worth it. There's coffee while you wait, and a DJ spinning fun music, lots of britpop and 80's tunes. Their Bloody Marys are killer, and go quite well with their huevos rancheros. Enid's is also a bar at night. They also have a DJ and a lot of times they have movies showing on one of the walls. The vibe there is fun and relaxed, and the crowd is friendly and chill. It's one of my favorite spots in the whole city. Check it out!

That's all for this post...check back soon for graffitied trucks!

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Driggs Avenue

See? I told you it wouldn't be much of a wait for the next post!

Today's Polaroid comes from Driggs Avenue between North 9th and North 10th streets in Williamsburg Brooklyn. This particular area has a lot of warehouse-type buildings that have been converted to art galleries. This doorway is the side entrance to one of these galleries.

I like this door because it follows the the running theme of graffiti mash-ups, as obviously some of the door's decorations are pasted paper. This door intrigues me and makes me want to go inside, to see what kind of art exists inside.

I also like the face on the side of the door. There are several tags like this around the neighborhood. The face is particuarly mischievous looking. It makes me want to meet the tagger.

If you're in this area, there's a lot to do and see. There are several art galleries, such as Jack the Pelican Presents where a lot of cool art is displayed and you can see it for free! (Take that MoMA!) I also recommend Junk. You can find almost anything you want there, from vintage clothes, to furniture, to housewares, to records and cds, to books...they have it all! I especially like their record selection.

Well that's all for this post. But continue to check back soon. I will keep updating frequently!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Spring Street

Welcome back graffiti fans. Sorry for the delay in posting - I got caught up with life again!

Today's Polaroid comes from Spring Street in SoHo. It's not a typical posting for this blog, but it really piqued my interest, so I figured why not? This is about street art, and this certainly counts as street art!

I noticed this piece on Spring Street when I was walking to work. It's a piece of wood, painted red, then spray painted with stencil. It says "Your TV Wants To Own You." It is screwed to a sign post. This is a pretty busy part of SoHo, and I was surprised to see that this subversive sign has been up for more than one day.

What is of particular interest to me is the circle in the top left of the sign. Though you can't see it, it's a sticker for the Museum of Modern Art's Queens outpost, P.S. 1. Now, I am unsure whether or not this was a later addition by a passer by or if this sign is a piece of guerilla advertising for P.S. 1. This is where you come in, dear reader. If you notice any other signs similar to this throughout the city, please examine them and see if there's anything related to P.S. 1.

That's all for this post, but expect lots more soon - I promise I won't leave you standing out in the cold anymore!

Until next time!

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Bowery and Spring

Welcome back graffiti fans. We are enjoying spring temperatures here in New York (finally!) and I hope it's getting warmer wherever you call home.

This week's Polaroid comes from the corner of Bowery and Spring Street. This is an interesting area in Manhattan as it hugs the borders of several different neighborhoods: the East Village, Chinatown, and SoHo.

There is a lot of graffiti on Spring Street close to this particular location, as well as throughout Chinatown and the East Village. What made me decided to photograph this particular set of tags is its location. As you may be able to make out in the picture, the building that is the canvas for this graffiti is a rather large, stately building. It was probably a very grand building at another point in time, but now it seems to have fallen into a state of disrepair. I thought it was particularly interesting that the doors of this building were tagged. Like the "I Dream of Love" tag a few posts back, there are things pasted on the doors (the white and green house shape and the yellow hourglass shape) mixed in with the different graffiti tags.

It is obvious that several different artists have contributed to this particular area. I like the overall effect. It makes the building look like a collage of sorts. I also think it is interesting that the different artists are respectful of each other's work. Apart from the two paper pieces pasted on the doors, all of the artwork is distinct, and the artists do not encroach upon each other's work.

There is a lot to do in the area by this particular tag. Because it edges on three different neighborhoods, the possibilities are nearly endless. If you feel like hanging out in the East Village, I recommend Alt.Coffee, a coffee shop located at 139 Avenue A, between St. Mark's and East 9th Street. They serve up a great cup of coffee, as well as pastries and other goodies. They also serve as a gallery space for emerging artists and have internet access as well.

If you're hanging out in Chinatown, there are tons of different places to get authentic Chinese food for cheap, as well as funky indoor malls selling all sorts of goods, ranging from the basic to the crazy. One of the best things about Chinatown, in my humble opinion, are the Chinatown buses between New York and Washington, D.C. (my hometown and all-time favorite city!) or Boston (another awesome city!). For service to Washington, D.C., I recommend New Century Travel. It's only $20 for a one-way ticket or $35 round trip to our Nation's Capitol (and one of the coolest cities around) and they get you there pretty quickly. For service to Boston, there's the Fung Wah bus, which offers one-way tickets for $15 and round trip tickets for $30. So if you're feeling like seeing another city, those are some options!

That's all for this week. Until next time...

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

SoHo's "GodBuns"

Hello intrepid graffiti fans! I'm sorry it's been so long since my last post. Life has been keeping me very busy as of late.

Today's Polaroid comes from Manhattan's SoHo neighborhood. It can be found on Thompson Street between Spring and Broome Streets.

I happen to work in SoHo, and lately I've noticed lots of tags around the area saying "GodBuns". While I was walking on my break one afternoon, I noticed this particular wall and it interested me a great deal. On this wall there is a mural of three women in bikinis. There are gaps between the three women, as you can see in the Polaroid, and one or more graffiti artist has chosen to decorate the empty space. There are several other skulls painted on this wall in different colors, similar to the one shown in the Polaroid. There are also what appear to be drink cups, which you can see half of in this Polaroid. There is an "MF" tagged next to the skull, which may or may not be an artists' signature. It is confusing because "GodBuns" is tagged so close below. I am not sure that the skulls are "GodBuns"'s work, however, since most the rest of his tags are just the words "GodBuns."

Years ago, SoHo was an area where artists congregated. They lived there and had studios there. The rent in SoHo is now far too high for most people to live and is now inhabited by the posh and wealthy. It is refreshing to me to see this kind of tagging going on, because it is a reminder of SoHo's roots. SoHo is not just about overpriced boutiques and cafes and million-dollar lofts. It was once a place where fantastic works of art were created and ideas were shared.

That being said, SoHo still does have a lot to offer. For those of you who love to shop, there are plenty of stores and boutiques in the area, ranging from cheap to high-end. I recommend visiting on a Sunday afternoon and going to West Broadway between Spring and Broome, one block up from the location of this week's Polaroid. There are many vendors who set up along this stretch of SoHo and sell original paintings, photographs, sketches and other works of art.

If you get hungry, I recommend you visit Ben's Pizzeria, located on the corner of Thompson and Spring. It's a little hole in the wall, but the slices there are absolutely delicious. I recommend the fresh marinara and mozzarella. I've never had better.

Well, that's it for this week. Please feel free to let me know about any tags you'd like for me to visit or any interesting graffiti sightings you've had!

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Graffiti Mashups?

Today's Polaroid comes from Williamsburg, Brooklyn. It can be found on North 3rd Street, between Berry Street and Wythe Avenue. I didn't want to do Polaroids from the same neighborhood so close together, but this particular piece of graffiti struck me for multiple reasons, and as such I felt compelled to write about it.

What is so interesting about this particular tag is that it is a combination of two different forms of graffiti. It is somewhat difficult to see in the picture, and for that you have my sincerest apologies, but on the wooden panel there is a picture of a monstrous creature opening its jaws in a rather threatening way. It is made of paper and pasted to the wood. Right below on the window frame, someone has tagged the words "I DREAM OF LOVE". The violent image and the sentimental words shouldn't work together, but they do.

Due to the nature of the pasted image (it is rather weathered and parts of it are peeling away from the wood) and the fresh look of the paint, I feel that these two parts of the work were not done at the same time. I am inclined to think that they were not even done by the same person. The first thing that came to my mind when I saw this was "Oh wow, a graffiti mash up!" Mash ups, or the creation of something whole (such as a song, video, or website) made up entirely of parts of other things, have become quite popular over the past few months in popular culture, particularly in the world of music, with rap artists collaborating with rock musicians, as well as DJs cutting and pasting samples from songs to make new songs (I suggest checking out Girl Talk - he particularly likes to juxtapose hip-hop with indie rock) - why not apply this to graffiti as well? Both parts of the whole - the image and the words could stand alone on their own, but are made so much more powerful when combined. The monstrous image makes me wonder what kind of dreams of love the artist has. What do you think?

If you go visit this particular piece of art, you must, must, MUST stop at The Bagel Store, located on North 3rd Street and Bedford Avenue. I have never had a bagel as good as theirs, and the sundried tomato tofu spread is to die for. It can get very crowded and busy in there (the bagels are so good that they have a regular following) but the service is very efficient, and the bagels are so worth it. Their hot chocolate is also quite excellent.

And now: a short diversion. It has come to my attention (thank you, Ahmed!) that the intentions of this blog may not be completely clear, and I want to take a moment to lay them out a little bit more clearly. If you feel unclear about what it is I'm trying to do with this blog, please go to the first post. I've edited it to make my intentions a little more clear.

That's all for today. Also: if you know of any particular tags you think I should go visit/want me to blog about here, please leave me a comment with the location of the tag and I'll try to make my way over there.